<![CDATA[rss-Politics]]> All Rights Reserved for The Cairo post <![CDATA[Politics]]>]]> 100 29 <![CDATA[Remembering 72 years of Nakba: OIC reiterates firm support to state of Palestine]]>
Marking the 72nd anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe), which has seen the Palestinians oppressed and expelled from their homes, their properties expropriated and their legitimate rights denied, "OIC General Secretariat reaffirmed the centrality of the Palestinian cause for the OIC, reiterating its firm and full support to the Palestinian people in their legitimate struggle to restore their national and inalienable rights," it said in a statement posted on its website.

OIC also called on the international community to continue to support the Palestinians to regain their national rights, most notably the right of return to homeland within the two-state solution, and the right to have their own independent state, with Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) as its capital, as established in the Arab peace initiative and relevant UN resolutions.]]>
5/15/2020 6:29:02 PM
<![CDATA[Sudan walks right path in GERD crisis, says Egyptian Strategic Studies Center]]>GERD).

Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hamdok on Tuesday sent a letter to his Ethiopian counterpart Abiy Ahmed disapproving of an Addis Ababa proposal on an agreement over the dam’s first filling.

"I cannot accept the signing of a draft agreement to the first phase (filling the dam) because it poses legal and technical problems that must be addressed," Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said in a statement.

Director of the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies and Thought Khaled Okasha has said the Sudanese move brings the matter to its proper path, which relies on cooperation and negotiation.

khaledOk
Dr. Khaled Okasha


He explained that Ethiopia took advantage of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic to cancel all agreements, and according to point zero it was announced through its "populist" mechanisms that it pursued from the beginning.

The Ethiopian National Council for the Coordination of Public Participation to the Construction of GERD has already announced that Ethiopians have contributed over 530 million Birr (around $10 million) for the construction of the dam even after the breakout of the pandemic, according to Office Director-General Roman Gebreselassie.

Ethiopians have contributed millions of Birr for the construction of the dam even after the breakout of the pandemic, she noted.

The support has been all the more re-invigorated following the “mistaken stance” of certain countries, including the United States, to disregard the sovereignty of Ethiopia, she elaborated.

Okasha has affirmed that the move by the Sudanese Prime Minister came after Ethiopia’s intentions to go on with the project solely without consulting with Khartoum and Cairo became clear, threatening the interests of both countries.

This is in addition to the dangers related to the safety requirements of the dam, which the Ethiopian side has been ignoring, constantly pushing for the filling stage with an aim to aid internal and political conflicts through the construction of the dam, completely disregarding the sovereignty and authentic rights of Egypt and Sudan.

He added that Ethiopia is also seeking from this to blame the issue on both Cairo and Khartoum, according to flawed and outdated Ethiopian theories that claim disagreements between Egypt and Sudan.

Okasha further stressed that the new Sudanese government is now correcting many of the faults of the previous regime, which had been performing in contradiction with the Sudanese national interests.

Hamdok asserted in his letter the importance of realizing a tripartite agreement between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, adding that reaching a comprehensive agreement can only be achieved through an immediate resumption of negotiations.

"The only way to reach a comprehensive agreement is for all parties to go back to the negotiating table immediately," Hamdok added.

Ehtiopian obdurate position unchanged



The US Treasury Department and the World Bank stepped in as observers last year to facilitate talks between the three countries after negotiations repeatedly failed thanks to Ethiopia.

GERD

Ethiopia rejected in February an agreement mediated by the US on the filling and operation of the dam.

In response to the Ethiopian proposal, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reiterated his country’s “unwavering commitment to concluding a mutually beneficial agreement on the GERD”.

Egypt asserted in a message sent in April to Ethiopia’s Ahmed that any agreement on the GERD must be comprehensive and must regulate the complete process of filling the dam.

Sudan's chief negotiator Hamad Saleh pointed out that his country is moving to resume the negotiations as per the agreement brokered in Washington, adding that his country’s movements could end up the resumption of negotiations.]]>
5/15/2020 4:54:57 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt calls on EU to curb foreign interventions in Libya]]>
In a phone call with Maltese counterpart Hon. Evarist Bartolo, Shoukry “outlined the determinants of the Egyptian vision towards reaching a comprehensive and sustainable solution to the crisis in order to achieve the aspirations of the brotherly Libyan people for peace and stability,” said Hafez.

They also tackled the other international and regional issues of mutual concern, besides the bilateral relations, Hafez added.

In December 2019, Turkey signed with the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations, two MoUs on defense, and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.

Since January, Turkey has been transporting Syrian mercenaries into the North Africa state and sending military officers and experts to command the operations rooms of the militias affiliated to the GNA.
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5/15/2020 1:54:35 PM
<![CDATA[et publishes eyewitness's testimony in terrorist Ashmawy's case]]>
Defendants in Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis case were sentenced to death, life imprisonment and intensified imprisonment over 54 crimes they committed, including the attempted assassination of former Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim and the assassination of police officers and explosions at security facilities.

Among the charges drawn against the defendants in this case is storming and stealing sums of money from the Azab Post Office in Matareya, where an eyewitness’s testimonies were among the evidence that proved the conviction of the defendants.

Mohamed A. is an employee at the Azab Post Office in Matareya, Giza, and witnessed the armed attack at the post office, and made remarks about the accident, including:

1- He was at the post office, when he and his colleagues saw two masked men carrying two automatic weapons; they broke into the office and fired bullets inside, while others were firing bullets outside the office.

2- The armed men managed to seize a sum of L.E. 240, 236 and destroyed the office’s components before they fled away.

The case includes around 194 defendants, atop of them is the terrorist Hisham Ashmawy, who was sentenced to death along with 36 others in the same case. The other 157 defendants were sentenced to life and to long prison terms.

The Public Prosecution accused the defendants of committing crimes of founding, assuming leadership and joining a terrorist group, aimed at disrupting the provisions of the constitution and laws; preventing state institutions from exercising their duties; violating the rights and freedoms of citizens; harming national unity and social peace; communicating with a foreign organization represented in Hamas, the military wing of the organization Brotherhood; sabotaging state facilities; premeditated murder, and attempting to acquire firearms and ammunition.
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5/14/2020 8:25:52 PM
<![CDATA[Discussed: What is Egypt’s COVID-19 co-existence plan?]]>

The plan comes as a bid to reduce the number of infections and deaths, achieve a balance between maintaining a normal life cycle and abiding by the precautionary measures, to get rid of the negative psychological effects of the outbreak, and to avoid crowds resulting from services like: transportation and shopping.

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Egypt announces COVID-19 coexistence plan - Photo from Ministry of Health's report



How does the plan work?


According to the Ministry of Health, the plan includes three phases:

First phase: Tough procedures:



Duration: This phase enters into action immediately and continues until there is a drop recorded in the number of infections over the course of two consecutive weeks.

* There are some features for the first phase that sum up in measuring people's temperature before entering facilities, metro stations and trains; everyone should be wearing medical masks once in the streets; business owners should place sanitizers at their doors, and cinemas, theatres and cafes will remain closed.

Patients from high, low risk groups

* Patients from the high-risk groups should call Hotline 105 and contact a doctor. While other patients with mild symptoms should stay at home and follow self-isolation instructions until symptoms are gone, or any until development is noticed.

* In case the self-isolated patient notices continuous rise in temperature for more than three days, shortness of breath, chest pain, dryness, convulsions, consciousness disorder, cough with blood (although rare), they should head to the hospital immediately.


Elderly and Pregnant

Gyms, occasions' halls, will be closed; a metro vehicle will be fully allocated for the elderly and pregnant women; additional seats for the elderly and pregnant will be available at all transport means. Also, awareness of shifting to online shopping and e-payment at markets and malls will be raised, while restaurants will only be opened for home delivery and not for public.


Dealing with delivery men

Persons who do not have virus symptoms and are in good health should be the ones dealing with the delivery men. In case the infected persons are self-isolating and should receive the order in person, they should do the following:

- Wash hands with water and soap for no less than half a minute, wear a medical mask, wear clean gloves, give the delivery man (who is also wearing a mask) the money without approaching him.



Second phase: Moderate procedures:



Duration: Begins by the end of the first phase, and lasts for 28 days.

The procedures include measuring people's temperature before entering facilities; everyone should wear masks once they leave home; business owners should place sanitizers at their doors; keeping medium density inside shops; and cinemas, theatres and cafes will remain closed.


Third phase: Mitigating procedures:



Duration: Begins by the end of the second phase, and lasts until WHO announces low risk assessment of the virus worldwide.

The procedures in this phase encompass commitment to good ventilation, avoiding crowding, receiving the vaccine if adopted by the WHO, following hygiene measures, abiding by precautionary measures in case of eating at restaurants and hotels, and continuing to regularly monitor the virus activity.


How to deal inside different facilities?

The Ministry of Health further discussed in the plan the procedures each facility, authority or any means of transportation should follow throughout the three phases of co-existence with COVID-19.

The report thoroughly explained the procedures of the three phases at different places, including institutions and companies, hotels, malls and markets, factories, transportation means.

The ministry urged cleaning, and sanitizing offices every 24 hours, avoiding crowding at workplaces, evaluating workers’ medical status prior to entering the workplace, and providing protective tools.


General regulations for different bodies:


1- Entities that should not work amid COVID-19 pandemic include
cinema, theatres, cafes, restaurants, universities, schools, nurseries, gyms, sporting clubs, and wedding and funeral halls.

2- Raising awareness among employees on combating the infection with the virus.

3- Allocating isolation rooms for any infected person at the facility.

4- Providing sanitizers, napkins, good ventilation and signs showing adequate safe distance between workers.


General regulations for citizens:

1- Citizens should wear medical masks in case they go out of the house and use transportation means.

2- Persons above 50 years old should leave home only for necessity.

3- Those who feel the symptoms should self-isolate at home and contact the hotline 105 in case of any developments.

4- Maintain safe distance with others (not less than 2 meters).

5- Clean and sanitize surfaces regularly.

6- Use tissues when coughing and sneezing.

7- Family members who have no virus symptoms should be the ones dealing with delivery men.

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Egypt announces COVID-19 coexistence plan - Photos from Ministry of Health's report


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Egypt announces COVID-19 coexistence plan - Photos from Ministry of Health's report


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Egypt announces COVID-19 coexistence plan - Photos from Ministry of Health's report


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Egypt announces COVID-19 coexistence plan - Photos from Ministry of Health's report


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Egypt announces COVID-19 coexistence plan - Photos from Ministry of Health's report
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5/14/2020 8:19:32 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Spain discuss coronavirus efforts, Turkey’s role in Libya]]>
As Assistant Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs for European Affairs Badr Abdel Aaty held talks on Wednesday with Eva Martinez, the Spanish government’s envoy to the Middle East via video conferencing, Ambassador Mohamed Abu Bakr, assistant Egyptian foreign minister for Libyan affairs underscored Egypt’s fixed stance toward the Libyan crisis, describing the Turkish role in the war-torn country as negative.

During the meeting, Abdel Aaty affirmed Egypt’s full solidarity with the government and people of Spain in the face of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The two sides reviewed the efforts to fight the novel virus and agreed on the need to consolidate international efforts to curb its spread and limit its economic implications.

The Egyptian and Spanish sides also discussed ways to enhance bilateral relations on the political and economic levels, especially in the fields of trade, investments, agriculture, maritime transport.

Abdel Aaty expressed Egypt’s willingness to benefit from the Spanish experience in rationalizing water uses, irrigation, greenhouses, information technology, digitization, artificial intelligence and tourism after the end of the coronavirus crisis.

For her part, Martinez affirmed Spain’s keenness to develop and deepen cooperation with Egypt on the political, economic and cultural levels.

The talks also included a number of regional issues of mutual concern, including the Palestinian cause and the developments in the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

FM: Egypt sent letter to UNSC on controversial Ethiopian Renaissance dam

CAIRO - 8 May 2020: Egypt has sent a letter to the members of the United Nations Security Council on the latest development of the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) file, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in a statement.



The two sides agreed on the need to continue consultation on the issues of mutual concern, in a bid to reach a political settlement to the ongoing crises as soon as possible.

The meeting was also attended by Spain’s Ambassador to Egypt Ramon Casars.

In September last year, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met with Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

According to presidency spokesperson Bassam Rady, Sisi praised the relations between the two countries, and expressed Egypt's aspiration to continue upgrading those relations and activating the frameworks of joint cooperation at all levels.

For his part, Sánchez expressed his country's appreciation for the “friendly and cooperative” relations between the two countries, saying that Spain is keen on boosting and enhancing relations with Egypt in different fields, along with supporting the Egyptian economic efforts for developments.

Sánchez also said that his country is eager to continue discussions on ways of enhancing stability in the Middle East as part of Egypt's key role as an essential pillar of stability and security in the region.]]>
5/14/2020 5:17:51 PM
<![CDATA[US envoy threatens to trigger return of UN sanctions on Iran]]>
US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, confirmed the strategy two weeks after a US official, speaking on condition anonymity, said the United States had told Britain, France and Germany of its plan.

Hook wrote in the Wall Street Journal that "one way or another" Washington would ensure the arms embargo remains. He said the United States has drafted a Security Council resolution and "will press ahead with diplomacy and build support."

A resolution needs nine yes votes and no vetoes by Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to be adopted by the 15-member Security Council. Russia has already signaled it is opposed to extending the arms embargo.]]>
5/14/2020 11:29:30 AM
<![CDATA[US president Donald Trump to look into legislation proposing to sanctions on China]]>
The coronavirus, which first emerged in China's Wuhan city last year, has claimed nearly 3,00,000 lives and infected over 4.3 million people across the world so far. The US alone has recorded close to 85,000 COVID-19 deaths.

"I will certainly look at it (the legislation), they build to sanction China so I will certainly take a look at it. I have not seen it yet," Trump told reporters on Wednesday.

The legislation was introduced by Senator Lindsey Graham and eight other senators on Tuesday. The COVID-19 Accountability Act mandates the president to make a certification to Congress within 60 days that China has provided a full and complete accounting to any COVID-19 investigation led by the US, its allies or UN affiliates such as the World Health Organization and has closed all operating wet markets that have the potential to expose humans to health risks through the introduction of zoonotic disease into the human population.

"The Chinese Communist regime's coverup of the coronavirus outbreak cost hundreds of thousands of lives worldwide and caused unfathomable harm to the global economy, and they must be held accountable. By giving the president the authority to impose a wide range of sanctions on Chinese officials, the COVID-19 Accountability Act will guarantee China is held fully accountable for the worldwide devastation they've caused and will ensure the American people get the answers they deserve," he said.]]>
5/14/2020 11:26:16 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi, Ramaphosa discuss African efforts to fight coronavirus]]>
This comes while Egypt has so far recorded over 10,000 coronavirus cases and more than 500 deaths, while South Africa reported more than 11,000 cases and over 200 deaths, according to official figures. In Africa, around 70,000 people contracted the virus and more than 2,400 died, according to some figures.

During the phone call, Sisi and Ramaphosa, whose country chairs the African Union this year, discussed the need to continue the African joint efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus and contain its economic and social implications on African states.

They also agreed on the need to provide medical assistance, mainly through taking advantage of the available resources related to the AU, including the fund that has been established to support the needs of the African states to fight coronavirus.

Sisi also affirmed that counter-terrorism efforts in the continent should also continue amid the battle against coronavirus.

They also discussed the importance of enhancing relations between the two countries in various fields. Sisi highlighted Egypt’s keenness to continue fostering the long-standing ties with South Africa on the continental and international levels.

Ramaphosa expressed his appreciation for the Egyptian leadership and people and hailed the continuous development in bilateral relations.

Ethiopia asks for South Africa's mediation in Renaissance Dam talks

CAIRO - 12 January 2020: Two days ahead of the Washington meeting for the foreign and water ministers of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Ethiopia asked for South African mediation in the controversial dam file.



Daily report
This comes as 338 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Egypt recently, bringing the total number of cases to 10,431, the Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday, amid calls for imposing a total curfew during the coming weeks.

The ministry also reported 12 deaths due to the novel virus, bringing the total number to 556. World Health Organization’s representative in Egypt John Jabbour said in mid-April WHO is looking at the cause of the high coronavirus rate of deaths in the northeastern African country.

Also, the test results of 2,980 people turned from positive to negative, the ministry said, including 2,486 people who totally recovered. It added that 160 patients left hospitals.]]>
5/13/2020 9:01:15 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s Parliament to start sterilization procedures after affirming COVID-19 case among MPs]]>
Counselor Mahmoud Fawzi, secretary-general of the House of Representatives, announced that Wednesday and Thursday are a paid leave for all employees inside the parliament, which would allow taking the needed procedures to sterilize all halls, buildings and offices.

Fawzi added in his message to the employees that these measures are taken to maintain the health and safety of all those who work at the Parliamentary headquarters.
Parliament member Shireen Farraj tested positive for the virus on Tuesday. Shortly after, the Parliament announced that nearly 12 parliament members were close to Farag and will be tested first for the virus and quarantined.

Egypt’s Parliament undersecretary Suleiman Wahdan announced that the house will continue to exercise its legislative role, and that the next session will be held as planned on May 17.

He added that MP Farraj will be quarantined; however, her diagnosis does not prevent the Parliament from convening, adding that there are important economic, social and political legislations that need to be approved by the Parliament.

He noted that Farraj got the virus from someone she came in contact with outside the Parliament, adding that the council will take all the precautions to confront the virus, including isolating anyone who contacted Farraj for up to fourteen days.

On Tuesday, Egypt recorded 347 new coronavirus cases and 11 deaths, which raises the total infected patients of COVID-19 to 10,093 and the total deaths to 544, according to the Health Ministry’s daily briefing.

Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed said that the number of coronavirus cases whose tests turned from positive to negative increased to 2811, including 2326 people who recovered from the virus. "All positive cases were quarantined at hospitals," the spokesman said.

Also on Tuesday, a state of emergency was announced at Maspero building, the headquarters of the state-run Egyptian Radio and Television Union, after an employee died of the coronavirus.

Rasha Helmy worked at the news department at Maspero. The Media Syndicate board headed by Dr. Tareq Saada confirmed the death of Rasha Helmy, as a result of her infection with the coronavirus.

The board mourned the deceased colleague, "We lost a dear colleague who was a model for commitment to media work ethics.”

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5/13/2020 3:48:24 PM
<![CDATA[Petitions against appointing Yemini Tawakkol Karman as Facebook Oversight Board member]]>
“We, the signatories of this petition, first confirm our annoyance, surprise, and opposition to the way that the Facebook Administration decided to follow in selecting the members of the Content Oversight Board, which was expected to be based on democratic and participatory foundations that allow the platforms’ users to select, who represents them in overseeing the content rather than being forced on them,” one of the petitions stated.

Most of the activists refusing Karman’s appointment were Yemini, as the petition added, “Accordingly, we declare our absolute rejection of the Facebook Administration’s appointment of the Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman at the Content Oversight Board. She neither represents the Yemeni street nor the Arab street, but she is rather a front for intellectual and ideological partisanships, which contradicts with the requirements of this position that include impartiality, transparency, and respect for the people. These features characterize hundreds of Arab public figures other than Tawakkol Karman, whose selection strongly undermines the integrity and reputation of the Content Oversight Board, and makes us, the users, lose all trust in the board.”

The

petition

that has been signed by nearly 2,775 people so far stated, “Selecting Karman proves a complete ignorance of the Arab political and social reality, where Karman represents supporting terrorist groups, messing with the destinies of nations, and instigating violence. This strongly contradicts with the values of Facebook, as a virtual platform that welcomes diversity, supports respect for the other, and renounces violence.”

“What Karman represents is clear ambivalence. How can a human rights activist turn a blind eye to the murder of thousands of civilians in the Arab region at the hands of those she aids and supports? We call for Facebook to listen to the opinions of hundreds of thousands of signatories of this petition who decisively reject selecting someone who is causing distress in their countries to oversee the content they write. This eliminates any trust between Facebook and its users,” the first petition said.

Another

petition

, also signed by 42,554 people so far stated, “We are against the appointment of Tawakkol Karman as a member of Facebook-Instgram oversight board, as there is a clear connection between her and the terrorist Muslim brotherhood.”


Tawakol
snipped picture of the petition against the Tawakkol Karman on Change. org

Also here is one of the petitions full statement:

“We, the signatories of this petition, confirm our absolute rejection of the Facebook Administration’s appointment of Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman as a member of its Oversight Board.

And we, the signatories of this petition, declare that choosing Twakkol Karman as a member of the board reflects a complete ignorance of Facebook of the nature of the Arab political and social reality that rejects the selection of Tawakkol Karman as a member of the board after having violated, since 2011, all the human rights and freedom of opinion and expression values that she pretends to promote and believe in.

The signatories of this petition declare that Facebook Administration was not impartial or neutral in its appointment of Tawakkol Karman, because of her political affiliation as she publicly belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood through her work as a leader of the Yemeni Islah Party, which is one of the most notable religious parties that work against freedom of expression and democracy and is considered a franchise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Yemen.

And we confirm that this choice has a political character that places Facebook in a suspicious position, which could turn it from a social media platform to a political one with specific directions that serve some political spectra, even if Facebook used the excuse that Karman would not be a representative of the Middle East on the board and would be part of a group of experts to evaluate the content in any region regardless of her Arab identity.

The signatories of this petition call for Facebook Administration to conduct a thorough research to review everything that Karman published on her social media accounts from 2011 until today, to find hundreds of examples that prove she is one of the most important icons who instigated chaos and violence against countries, people and governments for the interest of the Muslim Brotherhood, and she politicized human rights to serve political interests.

The Administration will find that Karman’s politicized tweets are one of the most important reasons that disqualify her completely to be part of a board that is supposed to be impartial and to oversee Facebook’s content to guarantee the respect of freedom of expression. So instead of selecting an Arab figure who has strong academic background and long experience in public service in the field of freedom of expression and opinion, Facebook chose Tawakkol Karman who is an icon of politicizing human rights in the Arab world and who has offended a lot of human rights activists with her loyal support to the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood at the expense of human rights principles.

Facebook Administration must know that it introduced to the Oversight Board an infamous figure who belongs to a Political Islam organization, whose integrity and independence are nonexistent in the Arab region, and who cooperated with governments and state apparatus in the region that fund her activities to make use of her work as an activist and as a soft power in order to facilitate these countries’ intervention in the affairs of other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Facebook Administration must know that Tawakkol Karman, member of the Oversight Board, did not in any occasion condemn a terrorist attack on civilians in the countries where she called for protests, and did not defend civilians’ rights to life against the armed terrorist groups that hit the cities of the region day in and day out. That is because she belongs to the Muslim Brotherhood that follows the same policy and never condemns terrorist attacks perpetrated by extremist groups against civilians, because they are keen on improving their relation to these extremist groups. As a notable member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Tawakkol Karman follows the same path.

The signatories of this petition confirm that selecting Tawakkol Karman to be a member of the Oversight Board, whose role is to restore Facebook’s credibility, is almost a complete destruction of the board’s credibility in the Middle East and North Africa. If the purpose is to build credibility, figures, who respect human rights, are not politicized, do not use political groups in their battle against governments, and are not used by countries to intervene in the interests of other countries, should be selected.

The signatories of this petition call for Facebook to reconsider the appointment of Tawakkol Karman as a board member, and to respect the will of almost 200 million Arabs, who have Facebook accounts.

Facebook Administration must know that 200 million users must be respected and their voice must not be ignored because it could violate their rights in their safe virtual space that they use for hours every day. In case Facebook ignored these voices, it would be a betrayal of the covenant between Facebook and its users in the Arab world.

We, the signatories of this petition, confirm that Facebook Administration is not aware of the nature of the Arab social and political reality, which rejects the selection of Tawakkol Karman for the Oversight Board even if she would not be representing the Arab region.

At the end, this does not deny the fact that the board will consider Karman the Arabic voice on the Board. The members of the board must know that Karman does not represent the Arab voice, but that of the Muslim Brotherhood that raises the slogan “Islam is the solution”, which negates the notion of diversity and respect for the other and eliminates anything different from or outside the brotherhood, like any other extremist group.

The signatories of this petition would like to confirm that almost 200 million Arab users of Facebook will not forget that the platform they use for hours every day and that they confine in with their private matters ignored millions of impartial and respectful figures, and chose instead a human rights activist who is infamous in the Arab world and who politicizes human rights to serve the interests and aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood, to rule and to serve the interests of Middle Eastern countries to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries.

The signatories of this petition explicitly demand replacing Tawakkol Karman with another impartial Arab figure, who is respected by Arabs. Relying on her Nobel Prize as a standard will not change her clear politicization of human rights causes to serve the Muslim Brotherhood.”




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5/13/2020 3:29:59 PM
<![CDATA[Tripoli's Mitiga Airbase used to pilot Turkish drones is threat to civilians: LNA spox]]>
That is because the airbase is used by Turkey to pilot drones that target LNA concentrations, civilians, and vehicles transporting supplies to towns and cities located near the capital such as Misrata, Tarhouna, and others.

"We hit any military or semi-military targets as well as any civilian sites that are used for military purposes," Memsary said quoting texts from international laws that allow targeting civilian locations if used by military entities.

The LNA lies few kilometers from Mitiga airbase, which has prompted militias to target Al Watiyah district western Tripoli with the aim of achieving advances and taking over Oqba Ibn Nafea Airbase to be the alternative, Mesmary highlighted in April.

The LNA recovered Sirte from militias in January, and has been encircling Tripoli and Misrata advancing in their suburbs and deterring attacks by militias.

Mesmary praised the joint statement issued by Egypt, Greece, Cyprus, UAE, and France to denounce the Turkish military intervention in Libya.

In December, Turkey signed with the Government of National Accord (GNA), which is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations, two MoUs on defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.

Since January, Turkey has been transporting Syrian mercenaries into the North Africa state, and sending military officers and experts to command the operations rooms of the militias affiliated to the GNA.

Libyan Armed Forces kill commander of Turkey-backed Syrian armed group

CAIRO - 11 May 2020: The Libyan National Army (LNA) announced on Sunday the killing of a high-profile Syrian mercenary who was transported by Turkey to fight in the ranks of Tripoli militias. The LNA carried out an operation in Ain Zara town southern the capital to target Mohamed Hendawy who is the commander of the second corps at Turkey-backed armed group, the National Syrian Army.



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5/12/2020 3:06:08 PM
<![CDATA[Libya's Foreign Ministry welcomes joint declaration against Turkish violations]]>
The foreign ministers of the five countries said that Turkey's violations contradict all international norms and laws stipulating the respect of good-neighborliness, sovereignty of countries and banning interference in other countries' internal affairs.

In a statement on Tuesday, the ministry reiterated its full rejection of the two memorandums of understanding which were signed in November between Ankara and Chairman of the Presidential Council of Libya's Government of National Accord Fayez al Sarraj which it said undermines the peace process in Libya by sending mercenary fighters to the country and supporting militias by all kinds of weapons and drones.

The ministry asserted its full support to the Libyan Armed Forces in their war against the Turkish invasion and the terrorist groups controlling Tripoli.

The General Command of the Libyan Armed Forces announced a cease-fire during the holy fasting month of Ramadan but the militias have not respected the truce and launched a failed attack on Al-Watiya airbase and the city of Tarhuna, the ministry pointed out.

The ministry called on the international community and the UN to condemn and reject the Turkish military invasion of Libya and to withdraw their recognition of the Government of National Accord which is unconstitutional.]]>
5/12/2020 2:21:18 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi extends greetings to nurses on their international day ]]>
The president expressed appreciation and respect for nurses on behalf of himself and the Egyptian people for "the precious sacrifices they make in order to fulfill their humanitarian duty honorably and zealously."

The president highlighted that nurses, at this arduous phase, are proving their competence and loyalty towards their homeland and people.

The Nursing Syndicate announced on Tuesday the sixth death among its members because of COVID-19 in addition to 55 infections. The Syndicate's chairwoman, Kawthar Mahmoud, stated that Egypt has 250,000 nurses who offer 70 percent of care to in-patients at medical establishments.

The rate of infection with the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Egypt recorded 346 cases on Monday after it reached the highest figure (495 cases) at the beginning of this week, according to the ministry of health’s daily briefing.

The Health Ministry said 346 people in Egypt tested positive for the COVID-19 and 8 people died with the novel virus in the last 24 hours.

This brings the total number of cases and deaths to 9,746 and 533 deaths respectively since the crisis started, according to the official figures.

The test results of 2,655 people of the reported cases turned from positive to negative, including 2,172 people who fully recovered.

Also, 97 cases left hospitals after they recovered, according to the instructions of the World Health Organization (WHO).
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5/12/2020 2:10:33 PM
<![CDATA[OPINION: The Gordian Knot of the Nile]]>
To put things in perspective, the GERD can produce over three times more power than the Hoover Dam, and can store twice as much water as Lake Mead, which is the largest artificial reservoir in America. In short, the GERD is a project of mammoth proportions.

Under international law, a dam of this magnitude should only be constructed, filled, and operated in coordination with downstream riparians who will be invariably affected by this project. For Egypt, reaching an agreement on the GERD is not only a matter of legal obligation; it is an imperative of survival. Egypt, a nation of over 100 million, is one of the most arid countries in the world and is entirely dependent on the Nile River as its sole source of livelihood.

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Unfortunately, however, Ethiopia’s posture throughout almost a decade of negotiations has been one of unrelenting unilateralism. It commenced the construction of the GERD without informing or consulting Egypt and Sudan, it thwarted every attempt to document and analyze the downstream impacts of the GERD, and undermined efforts to formulate the rules that ought to govern the filling of its reservoir and the long-term operation of the dam.

Initially, negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan aimed at cataloging the transboundary and environmental impacts of the GERD and ensuring that the dam was structurally safe. Therefore, the three countries set-up an international panel of experts to review the construction plans of the GERD and to study its effects on downstream states and communities.

The report issued by this panel on May 31st, 2013 was deeply disconcerting. It criticized various technical aspects of the design specifications of the GERD, expressed concerns regarding its safety, and found the studies on its socio-economic and environmental impacts to be woefully inadequate. Accordingly, the panel recommended that additional studies be undertaken to identify and mitigate the potential adverse effects of this dam.

Years later, these studies have still not been conducted. In breach of an international treaty called the Agreement on Declaration of Principles (DoP) that was signed by the Heads of State of Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan on March 23rd, 2015, and in violation of an additional agreement signed by the three countries on May 15th, 2018, Ethiopia, through a policy of prevarication, effectively prevented the undertaking of the studies on the transboundary effects of the GERD.

It undermined the work of a Tripartite National Committee composed of experts from the three countries that was established to oversee these studies, and obstructed the work of a French consultancy firm that was hired to complete these studies. As a result, after ten years of talks and with the filling of the dam scheduled to begin this summer, we have no scientific analysis and no empirical evidence that documents the effects of the GERD and no guarantees regarding the structural safety of the dam.

Equally alarming is the fact that Ethiopia has torpedoed every attempt to articulate modalities for the filling and operation of the GERD that would ensure that it does not cause significant harm to downstream countries. In mid-2018, the three countries agreed to form a group composed of national experts to develop rules for the filling and long-term operation of the GERD.

That group met five times and failed to fulfill its mandate. In each of these meetings, Ethiopia adopted maximalist positions that were inconsistent with internationally established best-practices in the area of dam operations. In keeping with its unilateralist inclinations, Ethiopia insisted on executing a filling schedule geared exclusively to enable it to rapidly fill the GERD reservoir and to generate electricity, without the slightest regard for its downstream effects.

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It refused to implement any meaningful measures to mitigate the effects of droughts that might coincide with the filling of the GERD and rejected the establishment of any effective institutional structures to ensure its compliance with any agreement on the GERD. Ethiopia also refused to discuss long-term


About the writer:

Professor and Chair of International Law Dept., Cairo University Visiting Professor at SciencesPo (Paris) Attorney-at-Law and Arbitrator Mohamed Sameh

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5/11/2020 12:11:00 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan Armed Forces kill commander of Turkey-backed Syrian armed group]]>
The LNA carried out an operation in Ain Zara town southern the capital to target Mohamed Hendawy who is the commander of the second corps at Turkey-backed armed group, the National Syrian Army.

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The Libyan Presidential Council heading the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli announced on Sunday the death of Chief of General Intelligence Abdel Qader al-Tohamy by heart attack, according to Al Arabiya.

Chief of Mobilization at the LNA Khaled al-Mahgoub told Sky News Arabia that Tohamy had been abducted by Tripoli's Al Nawasi militias and tortured until he died.

Tohamy had been leading the Libyan General Intelligence since 2017, and was a prominent officer at the External Security Agency under late President Muammar al-Gaddafi.

In February, GNA's Minister of Interior Fathy Bashagha stated that the General Intelligence Agency had been intruded by militias without naming them.

Sky News Arabia reported that Tripoli has been experiencing a conflict over power between militias affiliated with GNA's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and others controlled by Bashagha.

The Libyan Control Authority announced on May 4 the abduction of Head of the Central Administration for Financial Control of the Public Sector Reda Qerqab. The authority alleged the Ministry of Interior affiliated to the GNA of standing behind the crime.
The authority explained that the abduction is an attempt to impede the administration's audit of the ministry's transactions demanding his immediate release without conditions.

In January, the LNA and Libyan tribes announced the closure of oil fields and ports as the revenues had been used by the GNA to pay militants.
The Tripoli-based GNA, which lost Sirte to the LNA in January 2020, is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations. The GNA is protected by militias, and signed in December 2019 two MoUs with Turkey on defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed in May that the number of Syrian mercenaries who were transported from Syria to Libya is 7,850 while that of militants who still receive training in Turkey is 3,000. The death toll of Syrian mercenaries in the North African state is 250.

On May 6, the LNA announced the launch of "Ababil Birds" operation. The following day the Libyan Air Force struck – within the operation - militias concentrations and munitions warehouses in Abou Grein town eastern Misrata, and farms used by militants in Qadahiyah district southern Abou Grein.

Mesmary declared in April that the militias attempt to enter Al Watiyah district western Tripoli in order to take over its base to pilot Turkish drones as the Libyan Armed Forces are deployed near Mitiga airbase and can recover it soon.

Turkey has been using Tripoli's Mitiga airbase to pilot drones that target LNA concentrations and forces that encircle the capital and Misrata controlled by the GNA. In January, the LNA said it lied 100 kilometers from Misrata's center.

A Libyan military source told Youm7 that the LNA downed in April around 60 drones that were granted by Turkey to the GNA militias in order to impede the advances of the Libyan Armed Forces towards Tripoli.
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5/11/2020 12:05:56 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan interim government announces death of General Intelligence chief ]]>
Chief of Mobilization at the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khaled al-Mahgoub told Sky News Arabia that Tohamy had been abducted by Tripoli's Al Nawasi militias and tortured until he died.

Tohamy had been leading the Libyan General Intelligence since 2017, and was a prominent officer at the External Security Agency under late President Muammar al-Gaddafi.

In February, GNA's Minister of Interior Fathy Bashagha stated that the General Intelligence Agency had been intruded by militias without naming them.

Sky News Arabia reported that Tripoli has been experiencing a conflict over power between militias affiliated with GNA's Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and others controlled by Bashagha.

The Libyan Control Authority announced on May 4 the abduction of Head of the Central Administration for Financial Control of the Public Sector Reda Qerqab. The authority alleged the Ministry of Interior affiliated to the GNA of standing behind the crime.

The authority explained that the abduction is an attempt to impede the administration's audit of the ministry's transactions demanding his immediate release without conditions.

In January, the LNA and Libyan tribes announced the closure of oil fields and ports as the revenues had been used by the GNA to pay militants.
The Tripoli-based GNA, which lost Sirte to the LNA in January 2020, is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations. The GNA is protected by militias, and signed in December 2019 two MoUs with Turkey on defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed in May that the number of Syrian mercenaries who were transported from Syria to Libya is 7,850 while that of militants who still receive training in Turkey is 3,000. The death toll of Syrian mercenaries in the North African state is 250.

On May 6, the LNA announced the launch of "Ababil Birds" operation. The following day the Libyan Air Force struck – within the operation - militias concentrations and munitions warehouses in Abou Grein town eastern Misrata, and farms used by militants in Qadahiyah district southern Abou Grein.

Mesmary declared in April that the militias attempt to enter Al Watiyah district western Tripoli in order to take over its base to pilot Turkish drones as the Libyan Armed Forces are deployed near Mitiga airbase and can recover it soon.

Turkey has been using Tripoli's Mitiga airbase to pilot drones that target LNA concentrations and forces that encircle the capital and Misrata controlled by the GNA. In January, the LNA said it lied 100 kilometers from Misrata's center.

A Libyan military source told Youm7 that the LNA downed in April around 60 drones that were granted by Turkey to the GNA militias in order to impede the advances of the Libyan Armed Forces towards Tripoli.
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5/10/2020 4:11:22 PM
<![CDATA[Lockdowns pile job losses and hunger onto Syrian refugees' plight]]>
“Nobody will hire us anymore,” said the 28-year-old, who lost his restaurant job a few months ago. He racked up hundreds of dollars in debt at the local minimarket getting food before the owner said he could borrow no more.

“We’re afraid of tomorrow,” he said. “We don’t know what will happen to us.”

His plight echoes that facing many of the 5.6 million Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, who had scraped by on meagre daily wages but now find even that is denied them as the coronavirus pandemic forces their host countries into shutdown.

Many Lebanese have themselves been hit by a financial crisis that has evaporated jobs and sent prices soaring, and have become less tolerant of the Syrians who have boosted the population by around 1.5 million to some 6 million.

‘THEY DON’T HIRE SYRIANS’

“Every time I go looking for work, they tell me they don’t hire Syrians,” said Mostafa, who fled into north Lebanon in 2014. “I’m sitting indoors - and everything is expensive.”

He can no longer afford diapers, which have doubled in price, and he relies on a charitable neighbour who gets milk for his one-year-old daughter.

More refugees say they are worried about starving than about the virus, said Mireille Girard, representative of the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR in Lebanon.

In a survey last month, UNHCR found 70% were going hungry, while many could not buy soap. Since Syria’s war erupted nine years ago, many have languished in crowded camps where aid workers fear any COVID-19 outbreak would be rapid and lethal.

‘NOT A SINGLE PENNY’

In Jordan, the Zaatari camp, home to 80,000 Syrian refugees, has been closed off by the authorities during a two-month lockdown, meaning those who used to go out to work on farms every day can no longer do so.

Jordan hosts some 900,000 refugees in all, most of whom live outside the camps.

Abdullah Aba Zaid, who used to get work picking tomatoes, has had no income for two months.

“For the last 10 days, I haven’t had a single penny in the house even to pay for bread. I am borrowing from here and there,” he said. “Everyone is waiting for God’s mercy ... hoping things will improve.”

But even as businesses return to work after the government eased curbs this week, job losses are on the rise, making more Syrians dependent on already strained aid efforts.

UNHCR is getting more calls for help from refugee families who had been largely self-reliant, said Dominik Bartsch, its Jordan representative.

Some Syrians said their accumulating debts had forced them to sell U.N. food coupons to pay for rent and basic goods.

‘EVERYONE IS HUNGRY’

Since Turkey’s economy tipped into a brief recession two years ago, the public mood towards Syrians has soured, with some saying they have driven down wages and taken jobs from locals.

Many of the three and a half million Syrian refugees work as day labourers in construction and manufacturing, especially textile factories - sectors that have been hard hit by the pandemic curbs.

Unlike millions of Turkish workers who lost their wages, Syrians do not benefit from government aid packages but can apply for food aid from local municipalities. Still, many have no basic protection against the virus.

One in five does not have access to clean water, said Omar Kadkoy of the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV). “This brings the issue to an alarming level and the government should be acting to contain (it).”

In a camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, which authorities have sealed off during the lockdown, Younes Hamdou cannot find bread. Clean water is also scarce, illness rife and social distancing nearly impossible.

“We are prisoners ... We have no immunity because of the lack of food,” he said. “Lebanese people have gone hungry, Syrians have gone hungry. Everyone is hungry.”]]>
5/10/2020 11:55:33 AM
<![CDATA[Croatian amb. hails Egypt's anti-coronavirus efforts]]>
The ambassador, in statements to MENA, praised the support of the Egyptian people to the state's anti-coronavirus efforts along with their abidance by the social distancing instructions which contribute to halting the spread of the virus.

The European Union (EU) and member states are urging the international institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to offer aid to the depleted African countries to help them in dealing with the repercussion of the COVID-19, said Bo?njak, whose country chairs the EU Council. ]]>
5/10/2020 11:47:15 AM
<![CDATA[Detention of Youtuber Haneen Hossam to be renewed by 15 days ]]>
The North Cairo Court in Abbasiya district ruled to accept an appeal filed against a decision to release Hossam. The court had previously ruled to release Hossam on bail L.E. 50,000.

Investigation into the case of Egyptian social media influencer Haneen Hossam has found her guilty of committing immoral actions through the Tik Tok application, taking advantage of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the society’s economic situation to lure and deceive young girls into using certain online applications to “meet strangers” and “post entertainment videos” for some extra cash.

Hossam, believed to be a social media influencer, especially by underage teenagers and children, was ordered to be detained pending investigation for 15 days for publishing online videos "inciting debauchery, immorality and violating public morals," according to a security source.

Hossam, who has 1.2 million followers on the social media app, posted a video to recruit women to join a group she created on short-video sharing platform Likee, with the purpose of promoting the platform in return for payment.

In the footage posted on Likee, she offered girls and women the chance to “work from home and earn around £2,025 to £2,430 for making live videos and talking to strangers.”

She added, "You will be able to form friendships with people in a respectable way."

The prosection accused Hossam on Saturday of committing human trafficking and inciting young girls to commit inappropriate actions online.

Sexual predators are now increasingly using popular online games, apps and social media to groom and talk to children, a new campaign to fight underage sexual abuse has revealed.

Police are warning parents that games, social media and apps such as TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Discord, Likee, Kik Tellonyn, Whispr, Minecraft and House Party - or any app that has a chat option - are being misused by child predators.

Hossam, widely known for using photo editing magnification tools on her photos to attract online attention, is also a second-year student at Cairo University Faculty of Archaeology.

Egypt Today reported the university’s president Mohamed Othman El-Khosht said he had received several messages that a student in the University was calling upon females to shoot "inappropriate" videos in return for money.

He reportedly stressed that the university will impose the maximum penalty for acting against the Egyptian community’s values and traditions.

Research by eSafety has revealed 1 in 4 young people have been contacted by a stranger online.

It is pertinent to mention that, Crime Stoppers and NSW Police Force have joined with the eSafety Commissioner's office for the first time to launch a child protection campaign to combat child sexual abuse and unwanted contact online.]]>
5/10/2020 12:56:34 AM
<![CDATA[LNA negates shelling Italian, Turkish embassies surroundings amid launch of 'Ababil Birds' ]]>
The LNA declared on May 7 that the Air Force struck militias concentrations and munitions warehouses in Abou Grein town eastern Misrata, and farms used by militants in Qadahiyah district southern Abou Grein. The strikes are within Ababil Birds operation declared by the LNA on May 6 without any mention of details.

LNA's Spokesperson Ahmed al-Mesmary stated on the same day that eight soldiers were killed in an attack by the militias against Oqba bin Nafea airbase in Al Watiyah district on May 5. The LNA declared that the Libyan Armed Forces killed 40 militants, injured and detained others, destroyed and confiscated a number of armed vehicles.

Mesmary declared in April that the militias attempt to enter Al Watiyah district western Tripoli in order to take over its base to pilot Turkish drones as the Libyan Armed Forces are deployed near Mitiga airbase and can recover it soon.

Turkey has been using Tripoli's Mitiga airbase to pilot drones that target LNA concentrations and forces that encircle the capital and Misrata controlled by the GNA. In January, the LNA said it lied 100 kilometers from Misrata's center.

A Libyan military source told Youm7 that the LNA downed in April around 60 drones that were granted by Turkey to the GNA militias in order to impede the advances of the Libyan Armed Forces towards Tripoli.

The Tripoli-based GNA, which lost Sirte to the LNA in January 2020, is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations. The GNA is protected by militias, and signed in December 2019 two MoUs with Turkey on defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) revealed in May that the number of Syrian mercenaries who were transported from Syria to Libya is 7,850 while that of militants who still receive training in Turkey is 3,000. The death toll of Syrian mercenaries in the North African state is 250.

The Libyan Control Authority announced on May 4 the abduction of Head of the Central Administration for Financial Control of the Public Sector Reda Qerqab. The authority alleged the Ministry of Interior affiliated to the GNA of standing behind the crime.

The authority explained that the abduction is an attempt to impede the administration's audit of the ministry's transactions demanding his immediate release without conditions.

In January, the LNA and Libyan tribes announced the closure of oil fields and ports as the revenues had been used by the GNA to pay militants.

The Tripoli-based Libyan Control Authority declared on May 2 that foreign reserves at the Libyan Central Bank are speculated to decline by 20 percent in 2020 because of the closure of oil fields and ports.

Oil revenues are expected to plummet to $5 billion from $31 billion in 2019. Also, a deficit worth $19 billion is estimated to occur compared to a surplus of $7.7 billion in the previous year.

However, the Central Bank of Libya declared on May 6 that oil revenues achieved since the beginning of the year are $1.4 billion, according to Reuters.

Sources told Al Arabiya on May 2 that Turkish warships had been detected at the coasts of Tripoli's Castelverde, and that they might be preparing to strike concentrations of the Libyan National Army (LNA) in Tarhouna.

In April, Speaker of the Libyan Parliament suggested a roadmap for ending the crisis in his country proposing that each of the three provinces select a representative either by consultation or by secret ballot under the supervision of the United Nations.

The GNA's Presidential Council should name one of them prime minister while the other two would be deputies. The three of them would form the government that shall be approved by the Parliament, and issue decrees together.

Tunisian authorities announced on May 8 that a Turkish jet carrying medical aid to be delivered to Libya by the North African country landed in Djerba–Zarzis International Airport.
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5/9/2020 9:29:14 PM
<![CDATA[FM: Egypt sent letter to UNSC on controversial Ethiopian Renaissance dam]]>
In a phone call with his Estonian counterpart Urmas Reinsalu, whose county assumes the UNSC presidency this May, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry referred to the letter he recently extended to the council members on stages of tripartite negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia, besides Egypt’s flexible positions which are consistent with the rules of international law, Hafez said in a statement on Wednesday evening.

The phone call tackled “the necessity of Ethiopia's positive engagement in order to settle this file in a just and balanced way for the three concerned parties, so as to guarantee the sustainability of security and stability in the region,” the statement said.

“The Estonian Minister expressed his aspiration for close cooperation with Egypt in the framework of Estonia's membership in the Security Council and its assumption of the Council’s presidency this May, in order to support international peace and security, in view of the positive role played by Egypt in this regard at the regional level, whether in the Middle East or in Africa, stressing Estonia's eagerness to raise the issues of common concern during the Security Council deliberations,” the statement read.

Late February 2020, the US, WB-brokered talks between Egypt, Ethiopia, and Sudan reached a deadlock after Ethiopia abstained from attending the meeting.

Ethiopia had announced at that time that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries. The Ethiopian announcement came in response to an American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement among Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.

Since then, Egypt diplomatically has been lobbying against the Ethiopian intransigence concerning the dam issue; Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made European and African tours to discuss the file of the Ethiopian dam with a number of world leaders.

On March 21, 2020, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Atti said that Ethiopia aims to impede reaching an agreement on the rules of operating the dam and filling its reservoir with the Nile water.

In an interview with the “DMC Evening” talk show on the DMC channel, the minister added that Egypt has asked Ethiopia to not fill the dam’s reservoir with water during the drought period or to allow small quantities of water to not cause harm to Egypt’s share. However, he added, the Ethiopian side does not want to abide by any commitments, saying “we have given ultimate flexibility.”

The difference between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.
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5/8/2020 2:44:41 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi ratifies amendments to Emergency Law]]>
The new amendments were published on Thursday in the Egyptian official gazette Al-Waqa'i' al-Misriyya to constitutionally come into effect.

On April 22, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the new amendments to the law. The new amendments give the president the power to take the necessary measures concerning the health emergency that Egypt declared since mid-March to fight the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

As per the amendments, the president has the right to suspend the study at schools and universities and the work in governmental and private institutions, and to postpone the payment for the electricity, water and gas services.

The new articles grant the president the right to ban public and private meetings, demonstrations, processions, celebrations, and other forms of gatherings. The president also shall have the authority to impose quarantine on returnees from abroad, to ban exporting some goods and products, and to place restrictions on trading, transporting, selling, or possessing some commodities and products.

He was also given the power to price some services, goods, or products, and to provide the mechanism of fundraising in the emergency and to set the rules of funding and allocating the cash and in-kind donations. In addition to this, he has the authority to postpone the payment of certain taxes for three months.

The newly-added articles grant the president to authority to direct some governmental or private hospitals to work with all capacities in a health emergency. These hospitals shall come under administrative supervision determined by the president.

The president has the right to control scientific and laboratory works and research with regard to dealing with biological materials and tightening procedures for their acquisition. He also has been authorized to control the ways of disposing of biological waste.

In light of the repercussions of the COVID-19 outbreak and terrorism that destabilizes the state, Egypt’s Cabinet approved the state of emergency for three months as of April 28, 2020, announced Prime Minister Mustafa Mabdouli in a hearing session at the Parliament on the extension of the state of emergency nationwide on May 3.

On 5 May 2020, the Parliament’s general committee, headed by Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, approved in a plenary session on Monday a presidential decree to declare a state of emergency nationwide for more three months to combat security and health challenges facing the country.

This is the eleventh time the state of emergency has been renewed since it was first imposed on April 10, 2017, following the bombings that took place in two churches and claimed the lives of 47 people.

The decision is effective as of April 28, 2020, where the Armed Forces and the Police Authority will take necessary measures to combat terrorism and its funding sources; maintain security throughout the country; protect public and private properties; and protect the lives of citizens.
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5/8/2020 2:18:07 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan National Army shoots down Turkish drone near al-Watiya airbase]]>
The Libyan army targeted a Turkish drone that attempted to attack al-Watiya airbase, the LNA’s War Information Division said.

The LNA has shot down, over the past few months, many Turkish drones that were targeting military sites in the country.]]>
5/8/2020 1:35:07 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, US discuss bilateral defense cooperation]]>
“Secretary Esper committed to work closely with Minister Zaki as Egypt modernizes its armed forces, including opportunities to tailor security cooperation to meet Egypt’s threat environment and to enhance U.S.-Egypt interoperability. This commitment symbolizes the enduring strength of the U.S.-Egypt relationship,” the statement read.

According to a statement from the U.S. Department of Defense (Pentagon), both officials tackled the bilateral defense cooperation, and Egypt’s participation in the U.S. National Guard’s’ State Partnership Program.

The United States Secretary of Defense congratulated Egypt for joining the program, the statement added.

In addition to this, they tackled both countries’ efforts in combating the outbreak of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Esper expressed his regret for postponing his planned travel to Egypt due to the COVID-19.

The Secretary also conveyed his appreciation for Egypt’s recent donation of Personal Protective Equipment [PPE] and other medical supplies to the United States.

On April 21, 2020, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi instructed to send medical aid to the United States to confront the Coronavirus pandemic. Egyptian military jets carried medical equipment, anesthesia drugs, and antibiotics as well as body bags, masks, and testing swabs.

The German S-43 submarine joined the Egyptian Navy in Alexandria on May 6; it is considered one of the most recent submarines around the world.]]>
5/7/2020 8:06:14 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt welcomes Iraqi Cabinet formation, wishes new PM success]]>
On Wednesday night, the Iraqi Parliament granted confidence to the Cabinet of Kadhimi after it approved most of his ministerial candidates. Subsequently, he took oath as the new prime minister, to succeed Adil Abd Al-Mahdi, who resigned in the wake of public protests.

In a statement, the ministry wished Kadhimi success in leading the government and achieving people’s aspiration for stability and prosperity.

It also affirmed Egypt’s willingness to work on supporting the Iraqi government to achieve its goals and its keenness to enhance Egyptian-Iraqi cooperation through refreshing bilateral relations in the economic field.

The vote of confidence session was attended by 255 out of 329 parliament members, according to media reports. The Parliament approved 15 ministers, while adjourned vote on the candidates for oil and foreign ministries.

Anti-regime protests in Iraq, which started in October, have resulted in the death of hundreds of Iraqis and forced Abd al-Mahdi to resign.

Iraq’s President Barham Salih then appointed Mohammed Allawi, a former communications minister, and Adnan Al-Zurfi, the head of the country’s intelligence consecutively as prime ministers, but both failed to secure the required support among political blocs inside the parliament.

Taking oath, Kadhimi becomes the first prime minister to form the government in Iraq after Abd Al-Mahdi. However, his incomplete Cabinet will require him to find new candidates for the vacant posts and seek a compromise with political blocs, amid an unprecedented economic crisis caused by the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Iraq has recorded around 2,480 coronavirus cases and 102 deaths since the crisis started, according to Worldometers.]]>
5/7/2020 5:10:51 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s PM: Measures against coronavirus to continue for extra 15 days]]>
Among these measures is a night curfew from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am, and opening commercial centers over the whole week until 5:00 pm.

In a press conference, Madbouli said the budget for the new fiscal year will include an article allocating LE 100 billion ($6.35 billion) to raise wages and pensions, affirming that the state has been keen to not place extra burden on citizens during the coronavirus crisis.

The preventive measures taken aimed at curbing the spread of the novel virus, Madbouli said, noting that the official figures of coronavirus cases in the country indicate that the situation is still under control.

Reviewing state’s efforts to repatriate citizens stranded abroad, Madbouli said authorities have brought back over 1,100 Egyptians from Kuwait over the past two days.

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This comes while 387 people in Egypt tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) recently, making one of the highest daily counts in Egypt, and 17 people died with the novel virus, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

This brings the total number of reported cases and deaths to 7,588 and 469 respectively, the ministry said.

The test results of 2,314 people of the reported cases turned from positive to negative, including 1,815 people who fully recovered.

Also, 85 cases, all of them Egyptians, left hospital after they recovered, according to the instructions of the World Health Organization (WHO).

During the virtual weekly meeting of the Cabinet on Thursday, Madbouli also greeted the Armed Forces on the occasion of 10th of Ramadan (October War) victory anniversary and the of Sinai Liberation Day, stressing that the Armed Forces personnel will always remain Egypt’s protective shield and strong bastion protecting the country from dangers.

He asserted the full solidarity of the great Egyptian citizens, ministries and governmental bodies with the Egyptian Armed Forces and police, extending his heartfelt condolences to the families of the martyrs who lost their lives in the cowardly terrorist attack in Bir Al-Abd town of Sinai.

Egypt's PM: State of Emergency declared to face COVID-19, terrorism

CAIRO - 3 May 2020: In light of the repercussions of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and terrorism that destabilizes the state, Egypt's Cabinet approved the state of emergency for three months as of April 28, 2020, announced Prime Minister Mustafa Mabdouli on Sunday.


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5/7/2020 3:41:33 PM
<![CDATA[What you need to know about German S-43 submarine joining Egyptian Navy]]>
et presents the most prominent features of this submarine, which joined the Navy as part of Egyptian Army's plan to modernize the armament of the Egyptian Armed Forces and naval arsenal:

1- It is considered one of the most powerful types of attack submarines.

2- The submarine is equipped with systems that control the launch of torpedoes.

3- The submarine can sail 11,000 nautical miles.

4- It includes the latest navigation and communication systems.

5- The submarine possesses a large package of technical devices and defensive measures.

6- The submarine can submerge up to 62 meters under the sea

7- The depth of operation of the submarine is 500 meters below the surface of the water.

8- It includes eight tubes of 533 mm torpedo and a storage capacity of 14 torpedoes.

9- It can launch naval "fugitive" anti-ship missiles.

10- The submarine can plant marine mines.

In 2011, Egypt signed a contract with Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems to purchase four class 209/1400 mod submarines. The first, S41, was delivered in December 2016. The second, S42, was handed over in August 2017, while the third was delivered in May 2019. The contract will be concluded in 2021 with the delivery of the fourth vessel.

The submarine has a length of 62 meters and a diameter of 6.2 meters, and is operated by 30 crew members. Its displacement on surface and submerged is approximately 1,450 tons and 1,600 tons, respectively.

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5/7/2020 12:18:30 PM
<![CDATA[OPINION: Contemplations on Washington Grand Renaissance Dam talks: Cooperation versus Antagonism]]>
These meetings had one main scope and objective unanimously agreed upon, “Establishment of the guidelines and rules governing the filling and operation of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in an adaptive and cooperative manner”. In order to achieve the scope and main objective, the two main principles, “Cooperative, and Adaptive”, were agreed upon.

Before start reflecting on the meetings, some facts have to be presented. The facts will help to depict the differences between the two title words “Cooperation and Antagonism”, which will be frequently repeated in the article. The green water in Ethiopia is more than 850 mm/year, against 10mm/year for Egypt. The renewable groundwater share per capita for Ethiopia is 400m3/capita/year (as presented in Ethiopia water and Energy week), while Egypt is limited to 2.3 m3/capita/year. The water resources share for Egypt is 570 m3/capita/year, compared with capita share of Ethiopia about 1227 m3/capita/year (up to 2017 records). Ethiopia has 12 Basins including the Blue Nile, where GERD is under construction. The Nile water dependency ratio of Egypt is 97% and 0% for Ethiopia. Egypt has the highest irrigation efficiency, more than 85%, among all Nile basin countries.

Egypt is recycling the drainage water to reach such high efficiency, and fill the gap between the supply and demand. The safeguard of Egyptian water resources is the High Aswan Dam (HAD). The comparison between the above numbers of the two countries having nearly the same populations (100 million), in case the (Cooperation) mode rather than the (Antagonism) mode is adopted, may emphasis on which side the term equitable water utilization will support.

HAD was constructed and operated more than 5 decades, where 100 million Egyptians relying and living on it. Being the most Down Stream country in the Nile system, HAD was constructed to protect Egypt from flooding and drought cycles of the Nile, without causing any harm to any other riparian country. GERD is under construction with no operation yet, on a country wealthy of water resources. As a newly introduced dam to the Eastern Nile system, GERD has impacts on the two DS countries, Egypt and Sudan. GERD, as announced, has a sole purpose of power generation, and it aims non-consumptively utilizing the water of the Blue Nile for power generation. The comparison is between two dams, HAD has no impact on the riparian countries, while GERD has impacts on hundreds of Million in the DS countries. HAD constructed and operated more than 50 years ago, while GERD is under construction and no operational yet.

From the technical point of view, the only way to study the impact of a newly constructed DAM, such as GERD, on a downstream system of multi reservoirs, is to use the technique of “simulation of multi reservoirs operation”. Over the last decade, many studies and researches were published, addressing the impacts of GERD on the DS, no single study excluded HAD from the simulation. In 2011, Egypt agreed to form an International Panel of Experts (IPOE), recognizing that GERD is under construction, and conditioned that Ethiopia will provide detailed studies proving that GERD impacts are insignificant.

The IPOE report issued in 2013 indicated that the studies are incomplete, and neglected many major issues; the reader may refer to the published report available on the internet. Despite the studies were incomplete, the Environmental Impacts Assessment (EIA) study presented by Ethiopia indicated severe impacts on Egypt. IPOE issued a draft scope of work for additional studies. This scope addressed very clearly the importance of including HAD in the simulation, the word HAD was listed in almost every single page of the report. The establishment of the Tripartite National Committee (TNC) in 2014 was based on executing the IPOE recommendations by hiring a consultant to carry out the studies.

The failure of reaching any conclusion was the Ethiopian rejection of including HAD in the simulation (Antagonism). The Egyptian acceptance of GERD being under construction without prior notification and incomplete studies is (Cooperation). The Ethiopian rejection, against the international norm, of including HAD (operating more than 5 decades) in the simulation (Antagonism). The same reason was the cause of the failure of the National Independent Scientific Research Group (NISRG), formed to reach an agreement about the filling and operation of GERD. NISRG had four meetings, in the third round, the Ethiopian technical team, was convinced to include the levels (shutdown, and critical) of all dams including HAD, as criteria of filling and operation.

The fourth meeting was a complete downfall, where Ethiopia, again, insisted to remove any levels related to HAD, or even mentioning the word HAD, from the simulation and agreement (Antagonism).

The design of the reservoir size, dimensions of the dam elements, are based on the historical flow records prior to the construction of the dam. Such flow records are called the river natural flow, including the existing structures (Cooperation). In order to study the impacts on HAD, a comparison between the flow reaching HAD from all upstream tributaries, including the Blue Nile, before GERD construction, and the same after the construction. This has been met by Ethiopian rejection (Antagonism). Based on that stand, Egypt accepted to use the release from GERD as the main criteria, without detailing the impacts on HAD (Cooperation).

First Filling


The initial debate about first filling was about fixing number of years of filling, which is not adaptive to the high variability of the natural flow as discussed earlier. Eventually, the Ethiopian proposal of filling in stages was accepted (Cooperation), where the filling could be accelerated or decelerated as per the hydrological conditions.

The challenge faced by the Egyptian technical team is how to evaluate the impacts without including HAD levels. Finally, a minimum release value from GERD and the number of years have been introduced and adopted (Cooperation). A peculiar and contradicting stand of the Ethiopian team during the course of negotiation was clear to all parties. Discussing the filling stages, the Ethiopian team was fully recognizing HAD as currently full of water, requesting unconditional filling of stages. The Egyptian team stated the fact that the filling may be delayed, and will take several years where the storage in HAD may be depleted, and requesting for (Cooperation) from GERD. The Ethiopian reply, we are not recognizing HAD (Antagonism).

Three conditions/definitions during filling were agreed upon and adopted, Drought, Prolong Drought, and Prolong Period of Dry Years. The three terms are based on the minimum release from GERD for a number of years. The minimum release from GERD was based on the probability of occurrence, obtained from the historical flow records at GERD site. For wet periods, GERD may complete first filling in 4-5 years, and start generating 80% of targeted power after the second year. For average flow periods, GERD may complete first filling in 6-7 years, and start generating 80% of targeted power after the second year.

For dry periods, GERD may complete first filling more than 10 years, based on the severity of the drought, and start generating 80% of targeted power after the second year. The dry period probability does not exceed 9%, indicating a probability of more than 91% of achieving the Ethiopian plan of filling (Cooperation). Egypt accepted the risk of dramatic depletion of HAD live storage, and accepting the risk of water shortage, and increase of the food gap during the filling of GERD (Cooperation).

This article addressed some reflections on the first filling of GERD, which can be summarized as follows:

? Egyptian recognition that GERD is under construction, without the Ethiopian prior notification, and incomplete studies of the impacts on the downstream (Cooperation), Against Ethiopian complete unrecognition of a DS reservoir (HAD) operated for more than 50 years, and hundreds of millions living on HAD (Antagonism).

? Egyptian acceptance of giving Ethiopia a high probability exceeding 90% to fill the Dam in the shortest possible period (Cooperation).

? Egyptian acceptance, during the most severe drought periods, that GERD not releasing the volume below a certain level (Cooperation).

? Egyptian acceptance of bearing the risk of the definite shortage in water which will take place during the filling and operation of GERD (Cooperation).

? Egypt acceptance that future development US GERD is not foreclosed, conditioned to be in accordance with the International law (Cooperation).

? Egypt acceptance of the US and WB as a middle ground (Cooperation).

? Ethiopian Rolling Back from signing the agreement, which is full of Egyptian (Cooperation), after exhausting long track of negotiation in Washington and not accepting the middle ground proposal of the US and WB (Antagonism).

Important questions need to be answered: - Why Ethiopia could not finish the long marathon of Washington meetings? And Why Ethiopia claims that US and the WB are impartial?. The answer may be summarized in two words Unilateralism, and Antagonism.





Dr. Mohamed Nasr El-Din Allam


He is a former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation in Egypt and a professor of water resources at the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University.





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5/7/2020 11:32:11 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian, South African FMs urge continental cooperation against coronavirus]]>
In a phone call, Shoukry and Pandor stressed the importance of coordinating efforts of the African nations to face the novel coronavirus, which has killed almost 260,000 people worldwide and has been contracted by over 3,755,713.

Shoukry and Pandor also reviewed ways to enhance bilateral cooperation between Egypt and South Africa and discussed issues of mutual concern in the continent.

In February, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi handed over the presidency of the African Union to South Africa for a year, during his participation at the 33rd African Union Summit in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.

In a speech, President Sisi reviewed Egypt’s achievements during its presidency of the AU last year, saying it managed to reinforce the state of security and peace in the continent through the principle of “African solutions to African problems,” despite challenges of terrorism and extremism, especially in the Sahel region and the Horn of Africa.

Egypt has implemented the principle of “African solutions to African problems” through many initiatives, Sisi said, including hosting two consultative summits on Libya and Sudan, and testing it on several issues such as that of Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan and Central Africa.

For his part, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa praised the hard work President Sisi did during his presidency of the AU, according to media reports. He said an extraordinary meeting will be held in the middle of this year to discuss the activation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Proceeding with counter-terrorism efforts in Africa, Sisi stressed, during his speech, Egypt's full readiness to host an African summit dedicated to discuss forming an African force to combat terrorism, with the aim of achieving peace and security in the continent, under the supervision of the AU’s Peace and Security Council and the Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security (STCDSS).

Sisi hailed the efforts Egypt made during its presidency of the African Union, and highlighted the establishment of a framework to develop the African infrastructure 2021-2030, including the project to put a main plan to establish a global power interconnection project, and the project to establish a land road between Egyptian capital of Cairo and South Africa’s capital of Cape Town.]]>
5/6/2020 3:24:15 PM
<![CDATA[What happens in Egyptian villages isolated due to coronavirus]]>
A total of 80 people were isolated for two weeks in Ihweh, Beni Suef, known as the Village of Representatives, due to the presence of three members of the House of Representatives in it. This took place in cooperation with the Security Directorate after the discovery of 14 cases of coronavirus.Two cases recovered and left quarantine in Abu Tij Hospital, Assiut.

The Security Directorate has put iron barriers in front of the isolated houses, and deployed police forces. The Health Directorate also took samples from the isolated people,who tested negative for the coronavirus, before isolating them in their homes for the incubation period of the virus.

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Health and environment monitors observe isolated people daily and make sure they follow the preventive measures and maintain appropriate sanitary isolation.

Also, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Solidarity, Ihsan Abu Zaid, was keen to provide meals for the isolated families before Iftar during the holy month of Ramadan, as part of an initiative launched by the ministry that aims to provide 1,000 meals per day during Ramadan.

Ayman Owais, one of the villagers, said that the measures taken by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Interior to isolate the village is a normal procedure in such circumstances, adding that the isolation period will end after fifteen days, to preserve the health of the villagers.

Jamal al-Roubi said, "The villagers are known for their cooperation in crises, and we all check on the isolated families continuously." He pointed out that it is shameful that a person becomes infected with the coronavirus, but it is wrong not to be aware of ways to prevent it.

He expressed his dissatisfaction with the rumor mongers especially on Facebook, who mention the numbers of injured people without a source.

In Gharbia Governorate, the security and executive agencies imposed health isolation on six villages. Specifically, in the city of Mahalla, the isolation included several houses of the Saft Trapp village, after 51 positive cases were discovered and the death of one case.

The white army of nurses,doctors and health workers continue their work inside the village's medical center and amid strict preventive measures.The health unit is undergoing regular disinfection measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

For its part, the Social Solidarity Directorate, in coordination with the Social Solidarity Administration in Mahalla City, spent a pension of Takaful and Karama for 316 citizens of the village of SafatTurab with a total amount of LE 175,504 in two installments, in addition to sending representatives from Nasser Social Bank to the villagers to get pensions. The special grant for irregular work in the village is also being disbursed.

In the village of Nahtai, Gharbia Governorate, a committee affiliated with the Ministry of Health examined the villagers and raised their awareness of the seriousness of the disease, methods of prevention and the need for maintaining hygiene.

Badral-Nasser Hamida, undersecretary of the Ministry of Health in Gharbia Governorate, added that the follow-up teams are conducting a comprehensive survey of all those who came in contact with the cases that have proven positive, alerting them to go to the health unit in case they suffer from any symptom.

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Amani Khaled al-Nader, undersecretary of the Ministry of Social Solidarity in Al-Gharbia, also provided 250 cartons of foodstuffs to families, in addition to 300 meals to be distributed over a period of ten days, in coordination with the Takaful Foundation and in cooperation with the Solidarity Directorate andResala Charitable Society in Zafta.

In Al-Rayayna village, Luxor Governorate, Omar Muhammad Ahmed Abdullah, a CT scanner at Luxor International Hospital, his wife and two children were infected with the coronavirus.They were isolated in one room in Aswan Hospital to receive the necessary treatment. The Luxor governor decided in coordination with the Health Directorate and the Security Directorate to isolate the house and neighboring houses.
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5/6/2020 1:54:51 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian Public Prosecution reveals details on filmmaker Shady Habash death in prison]]>
According to the statement, Habash showed symptoms of fatigue, vomiting, intestinal cramps and sight impairment during the two days past his death.

Habash was transferred to the prison clinic up to four times before the deteriorating of his health condition, which led to his death, before being transferred to an external hospital out side of the jail; the statement said.

According to the prison doctors’ testimonials, in the first time Habash received intestinal antiseptic and anti-cramps after saying that he drank small amount of alcohol by mistake. At this time, Habash vital signs were stable.

During the same day at noon, Habash suffered from vomiting, so the doctors gave him antiemetic; however, Habash intestinal cramps developed even more, so he was injected with anti-cramping, as his vital signs were still stable at this stage.

In the evening, Habash received a medical check for the fourth time, but he was developing symptoms of consciousness disturbance, weak pulse and low pressure. The doctor gave him the needed first aid and started preparing him to be hospitalized; however, his condition deteriorated, which led to his death, the statement explained.
During the investigations, Habash prison mates were questioned on his health conditions during the two days prior his death. Three inmates said in their statements that they called for help due to his health deterioration nearly three times, as he went to the clinic and spent around twenty to two hours during each time.

In the fourth time, Habash prison mates called for help to him, he was deeply agonized, unconscious and showing delirium symptoms. Later on, they were informed with his death.

The prosecutor questioned two other prisoners as they said that Habash possessed three bottles of alcohol, each was one was hundred milliliters; two of them were found empty in the trash after his death.

One of the two prisoners affirmed in his statement that Habash never complained of of any chronic diseases before his death.

According to the second inmate’s statement, Habash was seen drinking from a regular bottle of water, but when he tried it later, he founded it tasting different and unusual.

After asking Habash he told him that he mixed his alcohol [which allowed to be used for hands sterilization] with soda water to give the same effect of alcoholic drinks.

Later on, he started developing the vomiting and intestinal cramps symptoms, and that his mates advised him to tell the doctors the truth in order to receive the right medicine, which what happened.

Two similar bottles [each hundred milliliters] of Habash sterilizing alcohol found empty in the trash.

Habash died at a Tora prison's clinic on Friday May 1. Prosecutor General Hamada el Sawy ordered opening an investigation into the incident and dispatching a forensic doctor to perform an autopsy to determine the cause of the prisoner's death, according to the Public Prosecution statement.

The public prosecution said that no signs of wounds were found on Habash body.



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5/6/2020 1:01:56 AM
<![CDATA[Why does Egypt declare state of emergency? ]]>
This is the eleventh time the state of emergency has been renewed since it was first imposed on April 10, 2017 following the bombings that took place in two churches and claimed the lives of 47 people.

The decision is effective as of April 28, 2020, where the Armed Forces and the Police Authority will take necessary measures to combat terrorism and its funding sources; maintain security throughout the country; protect public and private properties; and protect the lives of citizens.

The decision further provides that anyone who violates the orders issued by the president, implementing the provisions referred to in Law No. 162 of 1985, will be sentenced to imprisonment.

“The world lives in a health emergency and it calls for imposing a state of emergency. Fortunately, the emergency is declared [in our country] but no one watches or feels it, because it is only announced to combat terrorism,” said Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aaal.

In the following lines, Egypt Today displays the reasons behind applying an emergency status:

- The decision is considered important to combat security and health challenges facing Egypt at the current stage.

- Comes as part of the state’s continued efforts to uproot terrorism and confront those who plan to destabilize the state.

- The decision will enable security and armed forces to work efficiently to stop the sources of terrorism and prevent its dangers.

- It also enables state agencies to confront the spread of coronavirus pandemic.

- The government renewed its commitment that exceptional measures will only be used to the extent that ensures a balance between protecting public liberties and national security.
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5/5/2020 4:12:39 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian-U.S. Reem Desouky released from prison, arrives in Lancaster]]>
Prosecution drew accusations against Desouky, including: joining a terrorist group, disrupting the provisions of the constitution, and harming national unity.

On Sunday Desouky, an art teacher, arrived with her son at her home in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

The security forces in Egypt arrested Desouky last July at Cairo International Airport while she was returning from the U.S., in implementation of the prosecutor's decision to arrest her and bring her for investigations over the case in question.










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5/5/2020 4:06:18 PM
<![CDATA[Kuwait FM: Egypt, Kuwait keen on preserving their solid relationship]]>
Unilateral actions do not influence Kuwaiti diplomacy, whose principles were set by Emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Sabah, he added..

Egyptians who violated residency rules in Kuwait and are currently in centers for law breakers will be airlifted home according to an understanding reached between the two countries in this respect, he said in a statement on Tuesday.

There will be two daily flights from Kuwait to Egypt, he said.

Nationals of other countries who have violated residency rules in Kuwait and are now grouped in shelters, understand the Kuwaiti measures, and their governments have not refused their return home, he added.]]>
5/5/2020 12:26:51 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's Parliament warns of fake pages claiming to conduct coronavirus tests]]>
The authorities previously monitored 123 fake pages nationwide for companies claiming to sanitize homes.

Badawi stressed that these fake pages are managed by "swindlers" through fake accounts on social media, where they take advantage of the current conditions.He referred to the rapid movement of the committee in coordination with the relevant bodies to demand the arrest of these fraudsters.

He stressed that the law to combat cybercrime applies to these electronic gangs; the law stipulates the punishment of anyone who threatens the country's national security by creating fake pages on social media with aggravated imprisonment and fines.

The Communications Committee calls on all citizens and users of the social media pages not to follow these pages and refer to the official sources of the executive body, which is the Ministry of Health and Population.

Further parliamentarian called for posing the most severe penalties on those who exploit the need of the Egyptians to check on their health amid the pandemic, pointing to the necessity of a decisive implementation of the law of combating information technology crimes known in the media as "electronic crimes."

For his part, parliamentarian Redaal-Beltagy called for launching awareness campaigns to ensure that no medical companies are granted a license to conduct the coronavirus tests.
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5/5/2020 12:11:30 PM
<![CDATA[‘Beyond Europe’: Germany, France back Egypt’s efforts to face coronavirus]]>
In the statement entitled “Our solidarity goes beyond the borders of Europe,” German Ambassador Cyrill Nunn and French Ambassador Stephane Romatet praised the Egyptian people’s “sense of responsibility” who have followed the social rules to prevent coronavirus infection.

“To overcome these difficulties and defeat the virus, France and Germany today, more than ever, stand side by side with Egypt,” the statement read.

Egypt's Sisi, France's Macron discuss cooperation to fight coronavirus

CAIRO - 5 April 2020: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi made a phone call with his French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, where they discussed ways of bilateral cooperation to face the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the Presidency said in a statement on Sunday.



“We support the economic and sustainable growth of Egypt and its people through activities related to the development of the private sector, in terms of job provision, water fields, energy, education, urban development and digitization.

The two countries are also taking “immediate support procedures” in the health sector, the statement said, adding: “we are fully committed, as founding and active members of the International Monetary Fund, to back the Egyptian government’s determination to enhance the benefits of the economic reform, which it has implemented through the past four years”.

The two countries are working on a medium-term plan to allocate resources from both countries to help the African country refresh its economy once the novel coronavirus crisis is over.

“We know that we will have to coexist with this virus for months to come, perhaps for years, but we will be able, together, armed with our unity, to defeat it in the end.”

“In such times when we are obliged to maintain social distancing, countries and peoples worldwide should come closer to each other to fight their joint battle against the pandemic and its long-term impact.”

The statement affirmed that “unity, solidarity and cooperation” and a “great deal of commitment and flexibility” are the only ways to beat coronavirus.

“Certainly, Germany and France are ready to face his challenge, together with their partners in Egypt.”

Egypt recorded, Sunday 272 new coronavirus cases and 14 deaths, which raises the total infected patients of COVID-19 to 6465 and the total deaths to 429 according to Health Minister’s daily briefing.

Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed added that 40 patients, were discharged from the hospital after being confirmed that they are completely recovered from the viruses, this also raises the number of recovered cases to 1,562 out of 2,041 who had been retested for the virus and had received negative results.]]>
5/4/2020 3:47:50 PM
<![CDATA[UN chief joins Pope Francis, Azhar Imam to pray for humanity May 14 ]]>
On his official Twitter account, Guterres wrote on Sunday, “In difficult times, we must stand together for peace, humanity & solidarity. I join His Holiness Pope Francis and Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb in their support for the Prayer for Humanity this May 14 – a moment for reflection, hope, and faith.”




This comes after Pope Francis and Ahmed el-Tayeb welcomed the prayer initiative.

The high committee to implement the objectives of the Human Fraternity Document between Egypt’s Al-Azhar Institution and the Vatican city called upon all people worldwide to pray to God to eradicate the crisis of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on May 14.

As per a joint statement, the two religious institutions called upon all people to pray to Allah, asking Him to eradicate this pandemic and to help scientists reach a treatment for the coronavirus.

On the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when the Muslims worldwide fast from dusk to dawn worldwide, Pope Francis extended his greetings to Grand Imam of Al-Azhar.

Both religious figures discussed the ways of strengthening global solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic.]]>
5/4/2020 3:20:15 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament approves 3-month state of emergency nationwide]]>
The House of Representatives formed a committee Monday morning to consider the president’s decision and submit a report after considering the government's statement on the state of emergency.

“The Armed Forces and Tourism Police shall take all the necessary measures to combat the dangers of terrorism and its financing sources in order to maintain security throughout the country, protect the public and private properties and save the lives of citizens,” the decree says.

On April 3, Egypt’s Cabinet approved the state of emergency for three months as of April 28, 2020, announced Prime Minister Mustafa Mabdouli.

On April 28, President Sisi issued a decree extending a nationwide state of emergency for three months starting Tuesday, April 28. The decision was published on Tuesday’s issue of the official Egyptian gazette.

This is the eleventh time the state of emergency has been renewed since it was first imposed on April 10, 2017 following the two church bombings that claimed the lives of 47 people, and has been renewed since then.
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5/4/2020 2:21:34 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s PM: State of Emergency declared to face COVID-19, terrorism]]>
During a hearing session at the Parliament on the extension of the state of emergency nationwide on Sunday, Madbouli called on the members of the House of Representatives to approve the declaration of a state of emergency as regulated by law in accordance with Article 154 of the Constitution.

“All of you are aware of the magnitude of the threats and turmoil that still afflict the Arab region, the Middle East, and the entire world. Amid these [circumstances], we are faced by those who plan to destabilize the state. But, we do not fear any threat or maliciousness to our homeland,” Madbouli said.

The prime minister offered his sincere condolences for the loss of the military personnel, who were killed in a terrorist attack on North Sinai's Bi'r al-Abd city on Thursday, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

“We have been affected by the repercussions of this pandemic and we put our precautionary plans before other countries… we hope that all citizens adhere to the procedures set by the Ministry of Health, in order to preserve their lives and the lives of their families and maintain the safety of all the people of the homeland,” the prime minister stated.

On April 28, 2020, the prime minister issued a decree providing that the crimes of unlicensed mass gatherings, transportation hindering, thuggery, arms trafficking, and black market trade of staples are referred by the Public Prosecution to State Security Emergency Courts instead of criminal courts.

The prime minister issues such a decree every three months along with the renewal of the emergency law enforcement by the president. The State Security Emergency Courts are specialized in felonies and crimes that threaten national security and may cause the country to fall into chaos.

Ten days earlier, the Legislative Committee of the Egyptian House of Representatives approved new amendments to the Emergency Law 162 of 1958, giving the president more powers to face the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The new amendments give the president the power to take the necessary measures concerning the health emergency that Egypt declared since mid-March to fight the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.]]>
5/3/2020 5:23:15 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish opposition head Kilicdaroglu says Erdogan will certainly leave power]]>
He stressed in a televised interview that Erdogan will certainly leave office very soon.

“Every person remains in power for a certain period of time until he can no longer win votes, and this is the case with Erdogan,” Kilicdaroglu explained.

He further stressed that the coronavirus outbreak in Turkey has allowed the people to realize that the situation will not return to the way it was before the virus, saying the government has failed to properly handle the crisis.

He pointed out that Turkey is among the most affected countries by the pandemic, especially with the bad economy and increased poverty and unemployment rates.

Kilicdaroglu held Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, Erdogan's son-in-law, responsible for the deteriorating economy said Kilicdaroglu, demanding his resignation.

“The Turkish state has become a family corporation. The president rules the country and his son-in-law controls its treasury,” he stressed.

He has finally called for establishing a new electoral system that ensures that the people are properly and fairly represented at parliament.

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5/3/2020 5:06:34 PM
<![CDATA[Cairo criminal courts resume working after 45-day hiatus due to COVID-19]]>
More than 8,000 lawsuits were adjourned over this period, including a large number of pending cases, with several defendants on remand.

Since May 1, the criminal courts have started exceptionally for only two days a week to consider time-sensitive cases.

On March 15, 2020, Egypt’s judicial institutions suspended court trials nationwide due to the COVID- 19 pandemic, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Justice.

Egypt recorded 298 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total infected patients of COVID-19 to 6,193 and the total deaths to 415, according to the Health Ministry's daily briefing on Saturday.]]>
5/3/2020 5:03:26 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey arrests opposition party members for distributing free face masks]]>
According to Turkey Now website, the detainees include some members of the provincial council.

Veysel Babahan, manager of the Future Party in Bitlis, five of our board members were detained on the grounds that selling masks is prohibited. “However, we were distributing masks to our citizens free of charge,” he said.

Opposition parties say their exclusion from fund-raising efforts and the detention of government critics is fueling division within the country’s political scene.

But more than 200 people have been arrested for social media posts on the pandemic and President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, who obtained sweeping new powers in a 2018 switch to a presidential system, has blocked opposition aid campaigns, saying only the state can raise funds.

“The lack of a presidency that embraces all its citizens and unites them is felt more than ever today,” Faik Oztrak, a spokesman for the main opposition CHP, told reporters this week.

Erdogan’s AK Party, in power since 2002, was putting its own interests first “even during an extraordinary pandemic”, he said, and failing to provide sufficient financial support for millions impacted by the outbreak.

Davuto?lu has criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) over “being degenerate,” as he said that the country is back to the 1990s.

“Turkey has degenerated in politics and shifted from its axis. What brought the AKP to power in 2002 was political degeneration. There is degeneration today as well,” Davuto?lu said, adding that all the actors of the “Old Turkey” are trying to use the AKP, referring to Erdogan’ concept of a “New Turkey” as the beginning of a new era.

“Erdo?an doesn’t say, ‘Old Turkey’ as he used to. Turkey is back to the 1990s,” he added.

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5/3/2020 4:55:09 PM
<![CDATA[President Sadat ordered striking Israeli defense minister western Suez Canal during 1973 War: writer]]>


On October 6, 1973, the Egyptian Armed Forces crossed the Suez Canal, and destroyed Ber Lev Line - a series of fortifications - established by Israel after it had occupied Sinai in the Six-Day War that began on June 5, 1967.

The Egyptian Armed Forces restored 15 kilometers of Sinai through the war that lasted until October 22, 1973. Yet, some Israeli forces were able to cross to the east bank of Suez Canal on October 16, 1973 before retreating to Sinai on October 18, 1973 after fierce battles with the Egyptian Army.

In the video posted on the occasion of the 10th of Ramadan Day which marked 6th of October in 1973, Aref cited the information revealed by the chief of military intelligence and observation at the time, Major General Fouad Nassar, in an interview that was published in his book "Warriors and Spies."

The General Command of the Egyptian Armed Forces was informed by observation elements that Dayan was wandering among Israeli forces on the west Bank of Suez Canal.

Major General Nassar reported the piece of information to President Sadat who ordered designating the location of the Israeli defense minister within a surface area of 200*200 meters.

After the location was designated, President Sadat ordered launching airstrikes on the site with the aim of assassinating Dayan. The following day, observation elements sent a photo of the Israeli defense minister clinging to a palm tree few meters away from the targeted site. After checking the photo, President Sadat said, "that man is not meant to die today."

After the operations conclusion, the Egyptian-Israeli talks – brokered by the United States – resulted in the Peace Treaty in 1979 and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Sinai, except for Taba. The town was restored by Egypt in 1989 through international arbitration. ]]>
5/3/2020 3:14:22 PM
<![CDATA[Interior Ministry detects 171 curfew violations in 24 hours, thousands since March 25 ]]>
The ministry also announced the detection of thousands of violations since the curfew started on March 25. The ministry shut off 31,396 cafes, 11,119 unlicensed private tutoring centers, and 11,744 stores. That is in addition to breaking 37,500 cases of selling subsidized staples in black market and illegal goods stocking.

The curfew hours extend between 9p.m. and 6a.m. while stores and shopping malls have to close at 5p.m. Restaurants and cafes can only offer take away and delivery services 24/7.

The Ministry of Interior issued a press statement on April 25 clarifying the achievements of each department in breaking cases, and detecting violations without indicating a time frame.

The Economic Security Department broke 7,986 cases, including 73 cases of illegal stocking of a total of 15,588 butane gas cylinders, and 19 cases of illegal stocking of petroleum materials with a total of 108,190 liters with the aim of selling them in black market. It's worthy to mention that the state subsidizes butane gas cylinders by LE2.1 million in FY2019/2020.

The department also broke 7,894 cases of selling expired food and illegal trade of subsidized staples. The size of the confiscated goods is 762,638 tons.

The Electricity Police detected 58,335 theft cases collecting fines worth LE30.7 million. The Transportation Police broke 1,197 cases of theft, illegal acquisition of arms and ammunition, white weapons, begging, drug acquisition, pedestrian vending, communications and post crimes.

The ministry broke 1,079 financial cases, including 175 income tax evasion, 56 value-added tax evasion, 27 tariff evasion, 286 real estate tax evasion, 13 illegal transactions, illicit gains, scams and money laundering. That is in addition to removing six encroachments on state-owned lands, executing 379 court rulings, and 131 investigations.

The Police of Waterbodies broke 747 cases of illegal fishing, and unlicensed boats and yachts possession, 760 pollution cases of the environment and the Nile River, 159 cases of backfilling of irrigation and wastewater channels, and 134 cases of agricultural land violations.

The security of seaports foiled attempts to smuggle goods and cosmetics into the country filing four lawsuits, and broke 67 various cases such as scams, traffic felonies, and illegal entry into the customs zones.

In one week, the police filed 515 lawsuits against defendants, who illegally excavated antiquities, and travel agencies that committed violations.
]]>
5/3/2020 11:53:27 AM
<![CDATA[In response to COVID-19 crisis, Egypt’s Azhar, Vatican call for Day of Prayer]]>
As per a joint statement, the two religious institutions called upon all people to pray to Allah, asking Him to eradicate this pandemic and to help scientists reach treatment for the coronavirus disease.

In February 2019, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar and Chairman of the Muslim Council of Elders Ahmad el Tayeb and Pope Francis signed the document.

On the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar when the Muslims worldwide fast from dusk to dawn worldwide, Pope Francis extended his greetings to Grand Imam of Al Azhar.

Both religious figures discussed the ways of strengthening global solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April 2017, Pope Francis paid Egypt a two-day visit and he gave a speech at al-Azhar institution. The visit had an aim to foster reconciliation with the Muslim world following recent attacks against the Middle East’s biggest Christian community.

It marks Pope Francis as the first pontiff to visit Al-Azhar institution since Pope John Paul II in 2000.
]]>
5/2/2020 11:27:04 PM
<![CDATA[Revised treaty of Sahel-Saharan States to be discussed by Egypt's parliament on May 3]]>
The meeting will also be attended by members of the Economic Affairs Committee, and the Defense and National Security Committee.

The Community of Sahel-Saharan States, called Cen-Sad, was established in 1998 in a conference held in Libya and attended by a number of African leaders and heads of states. Cen-Sad now has 24 members, that are Benin, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, C?te d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, the Sudan, Togo and Tunisia.

While the First Treaty focused on cooperation among member states of Cen-Sad, the revised treaty – approved by member states in Chad on February 16, 2013 - concentrates on regional security and sustainable development.

The new treaty aims for the preservation of peace and security in the Community of Sahel-Sahran States; reinforcement of political dialogue; combat of transnational crime including human, arms, drug trafficking, money laundering, and terrorism.

Cen-Sad also targets combating desertification, drought, climate change; achieving economic, trade, scientific, social, and cultural cooperation; developing the infrastructure; and, encouraging the freedom of movement of individuals, goods, and services between member states.

In order to achieve such goals, each member state must ban the use of its lands for any activities that target the national sovereignty of fellow member states that have to exchange help when necessary, and coordinate stances on matters of mutual interest as much as possible.

Member states shall not intervene in each others' internal affairs, and abstain from taking measures that would impede the achievement of the community's goals. The body and its employees are granted the privileges and immunities provided by Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations signed in 1961.

The treaty will go into force when 15 member states endorse it. At present, the figure stands at 13.

The process of passing laws and treaties at the Egyptian Parliament starts with the approval of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, then the concerned committee(s), and finally, the plenary session. ]]>
5/2/2020 1:35:15 PM
<![CDATA[Libyan Armed Forces foil militias attack on 2 districts southern Tripoli, confiscate Turkish vehicles ]]>
The LNA deterred a twin attack on Al Mashrou and Ain Zara districts by GNA militias causing material and human losses among them. In Al Mashrou district, the Libyan Armed Forces was able to restore the points lost to militias on April 30 after fierce clashes and the takeover of Matabat Street.

The LNA announced withdrawing seven bodies that belong to Syrian mercenaries after the militias had fled the battle field in the Mashrou District. The Libyan Armed Forces also burned a vehicle and restored three others from the militias.

On April 27, the General Commander of the Libyan Armed Forces Khalifa Haftar declared fulfilling the Libyan people's demand to rule the country and cancel Skhirat Agreement signed on December 17, 2015 to achieve reconciliation and hold elections.

Speaker of the Libyan Parliament Aguila Saleh announced earlier this week the cancelation of a political initiative consisting of eight points on restructuring the current executive authority. That initiative was derived from Skhirat Agreement, and was aimed at selecting new members of the executive authority, rewriting the constitution, and the operation of the current House of Representatives until new legislative elections take place.

The Libyan House of Representatives, elected in August 2014, currently convenes in Tobruk which also houses an interim government that rules Libyan territories except for Tripoli and Misrata, which are controlled by the GNA. Yet, the general command of the Libyan Armed Forces is based in Benghazi eastern Libya.

The GNA, which lost Sirte to the LNA in January 2020, is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations. The GNA is protected by militias, and signed in December 2019 two MoUs with Turkey on defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.

As a consequence, Turkey transported more than 6,000 Syrian mercenaries into Libya, and sent Turkish officers and military experts to command the operations rooms of Tripoli militias.

Furthermore, Turkey has been using Tripoli's Mitiga airbase to pilot drones that target LNA concentrations and forces that encircle the capital and Misrata.

Spokesperson of the LNA Ahmed al-Mesmary declared in April that the militias attempt to enter Al Watiyah district western Tripoli in order to take over its base to pilot Turkish drones as the Libyan Armed Forces are deployed near Mitiga airbase and can recover it soon.

LNA downs 60 Turkish drones in April thwarting Tripoli militias attempt to enter stronghold: military source

CAIRO - 26 April 2020: A Libyan military source told Youm7 that since April 4, the Libyan National Army (LNA) has downed around 60 drones that were granted by Turkey to the militias of the Government of National Accord (GNA) in order to impede the advances of the Libyan Armed Forces towards Tripoli.




]]>
5/2/2020 12:50:01 PM
<![CDATA[Palestine's Abbas deplores Bir el Abed terror attack]]>
The Palestinian leader offered his condolences to the victims' families, wishing a speedy recovery for the wounded, the Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

Abbas asserted that the Egyptian army will remain the first line of defense against terrorism.

On Thursday, Armed Forces Spokesman Tamer el Refai said an explosive charge blast hit an armored vehicle in southern Bir al Abed City, leaving ten army personnel, dead and wounded. ]]>
5/2/2020 12:10:44 PM
<![CDATA[UNICEF welcomes Sudan's criminalization of female genital mutilation]]>
In a statement, UNICEF Representative in Sudan Abdullah Fadil said: "This practice is not only a violation of every girl child’s rights, it is harmful and has serious consequences for a girl’s physical and mental health."

This is why governments and communities alike must take immediate action to put an end to this practice, Fadil added.

According to the UN, nearly nine out of 10 Sudanese women aged 15 to 49 have been cut, UNICEF reports.]]>
5/1/2020 6:14:02 PM
<![CDATA[COVID-19: Humanitarian air deliveries to Africa ramped up with dispatch from UN's new cargo hub in Belgium]]>
"The window of opportunity to surge medical and humanitarian equipment into Africa to curb the pandemic is closing fast," said Amer Daoudi, WFP’s COVID-19 Response Director.

"Our global logistics support system is up-and-running, and this delivery marks the first of many cargo shipments we will fly to all corners of the globe," he added.

A WFP-contracted Boeing 757 cargo flight departed the newly-established Global Humanitarian Response Hub in Liège, Belgium, late on Thursday carrying almost 16 metric tons of medical cargo and personal protective equipment like masks and gloves on behalf of UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) destined for Burkina Faso and Ghana. Some of this cargo will then be moved to its final destination in the Republic of Congo.

WFP is setting up the logistics backbone for global COVID-19 efforts, rolling out a global hub-and-spokes system of air links to dispatch vital medical and humanitarian cargo and transport health workers to the front lines of the pandemic. Global Humanitarian Response Hubs located close to where medical supplies are manufactured in Liège, Dubai, and China will link to regional hubs in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malaysia, Panama, Dubai, and South Africa, where a fleet of smaller aircraft will be on standby to move cargo and personnel into priority countries. The network builds on pre-existing UN Humanitarian Response Depots (UNHRD) - including Brindisi in Italy.

WFP expects to transport the equivalent of 37 Boeing 747 planeloads over the next six weeks from China and Malaysia to 130 countries around the world.

Once the service is fully up and running, as many as 350 cargoes and another 350 passenger flights could fly every month.

While this flight is the first from the new hub in Liège, WFP has dispatched more than 300 metric tons of humanitarian and medical cargo to 89 countries, since late January, supporting governments and health partners in their response to COVID-19. These shipments include masks, gloves, ventilators, testing kits, and thermometers.

Aid agencies and health authorities have been struggling to get supplies to fragile settings. They are hindered by the breakdown of global supply chains, the collapse of commercial air travel, border closures, and disruptions to shipping. WFP’s logistics network will bridge the gap in essential services, ensuring humanitarian and health responders on the frontlines of the pandemic can stay and deliver lifesaving assistance.

WFP is also mounting a regional passenger air service to ferry humanitarian and health workers across East and West Africa to overcome disruptions to commercial air services, with the first flights expected in the coming days. The service will be expanded to the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia soon. WFP also stands ready to set up air links with Geneva and Rome if commercial services are disrupted.

WFP appealed for an initial US$350 million to kick-start global common logistics services, a call echoed by humanitarian partners in April, who highlighted the urgency of these vital WFP-led efforts.]]>
5/1/2020 6:11:00 PM
<![CDATA[Erekat welcomes European countries' joint message to Israel against WB annexation]]>
This important message sent jointly by the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Holland, Ireland and the European Union (EU), warned Israel that this step represents a blatant violation to the international law and will have grave consequences on the security in the region and affect Israeli international standing, Erekat said.

The Palestinian leadership proceeds with its international diplomatic contacts at all arenas and levels to prevent Israel from implementing its plan to annex Palestinian territories, he added.

On Thursday, ambassadors of nine European countries along with the EU have delivered a message to warn Israel from the move during a video conference with an official at the Israeli Foreign Ministry]]>
5/1/2020 1:12:50 PM
<![CDATA[Imran Khan praises Egypt’s support for Pakistan’s initiative of debt relief for developing countries]]>
The Pakistani Prime Minister also commended the Egyptian-Pakistani relations, said Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement, noting that both leaders tackled the medical efforts of combating the COVID-19 outbreak.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi expressed Egypt’s keenness to push forward prospects of bilateral cooperation at all levels, particularly the economic one, Radi added.

Egypt, which sees an increasing number of the COVID-19 cases, has requested a financial package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to the Rapid Funding Tool program (RFI) and the SBA program.

This package is to enhance the state’s capabilities to face the new COVID-19 virus crisis, in a proactive step based on the successful implementation of the economic reform program, said Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli in a press conference on Sunday.

The Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday that 226 people in Egypt tested positive for the COVID-19 recently and 21 people died, bringing the total number reported cases and deaths to 5,268 and 380 respectively.

As many as 1,712 people of the reported cases had their results come back negative, including 1,335 people who fully recovered.

Also, 31 cases, all of them Egyptians, left hospitals after they recovered, according to the instructions of the World Health Organization (WHO).

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi ordered Tuesday providing all needed medical supplies to the quarantine and isolation hospitals all over the country.

Since mid-March, Egypt has taken certain strict measures to protect the public from the spread of coronavirus pandemic. The government has taken gradual steps in dealing with the coronavirus spread, starting with suspending schools and universities, and international flights.

Furthermore, a night-time curfew has been imposed since March 24, 2020. Additionally, the Ministry of Awqaf [Endowment] extended the closure of the mosques and the places of worship nationwide until further notice.


]]>
4/30/2020 9:47:29 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt affirms rejection of Israeli annexation of occupied lands in West Bank, Jordanian Valley]]>
In the Arab League Council online extraordinary meeting at the ministerial level, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry called upon the Arab world and the international community to unite for bringing the peace and stability for the Palestinian people and the establishment of the Palestinian statehood on the border of 1967 and Eastern Jerusalem is its capital.

A unilateral action would undermine the opportunities to revive the negotiations that depend on a two-state solution, the Arab Peace Initiative, and international legitimacy and its decisions, Shoukry said in his speech at the meeting.

“Any unilateral action to annex settlements in the West Bank and the Jordan Valley is a flagrant violation of all principles of international law, and the principles and norms that govern international relations,” he said.

Israel has exploited the crisis of coronavirus to impose its fait accompli policy which would push the region towards violence and incite terrorism and extremist ideas, he added.

Shoukry called for alleviating the suffering of the Palestinian refugees in the camps, especially in light of the financial burdens and challenges that faced the The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The Arab League Council at the level of foreign ministers announced on Thursday that the Israeli occupation government's steps to annex parts of the occupied Palestinian territories represent a new "war crime."

This came at the conclusion of the extraordinary session held via video conference under the chairmanship of Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yusuf bin Alawi.

The Arab foreign ministers urged the US administration to abide by the UN Charter and its resolutions related to the conflict in the Middle East, and back away from supporting schemes and maps prepared by the Israeli occupation government under the so called "US peace plan" which is aimed at annexing large parts of the occupied Palestinian territories to Israel by force.

The Arab ministers held the Israeli government and the US administration accountable for the consequences of implementing such schemes on international stability, security and peace.

The Arab countries will support, via all political, diplomatic, legal and financial tools, decisions and steps to be taken by the Palestinian state to face the Israeli plots, calling for launching serious negotiations within an identified timetable and under international sponsorship.

They urged the international community, including the UNSC, to assume their responsibility for preserving international security and peace.

They decided to keep the council in a permanent session to follow up the developments in this regard.

Additionally reporting by MENA]]>
4/30/2020 6:27:35 PM
<![CDATA[ILO: Nearly half of global workforce at risk of losing livelihoods]]>
According to a recent report called "the ILO Monitor third edition: COVID-19 and the world of work", the drop in working hours in the current (second) quarter of 2020 is expected to be significantly worse than previously estimated, ILO posted on its website.

Compared to pre-crisis levels (Q4 2019), a 10.5 percent deterioration is now expected, equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs (assuming a 48-hour working week). The previous estimate was for a 6.7 percent drop, equivalent to 195 million full-time workers. This is due to the prolongation and extension of lockdown measures.

Regionally, the situation has worsened for all major regional groups. Estimates suggest a 12.4 percent loss of working hours in Q2 for the Americas (compared to pre-crisis levels) and 11.8 percent for Europe and Central Asia. The estimates for the rest of the regional groups follow closely and are all above 9.5 percent.

As a result of the economic crisis created by the pandemic, almost 1.6 billion informal economy workers (representing the most vulnerable in the labor market), out of a worldwide total of two billion and a global workforce of 3.3 billion, have suffered massive damage to their capacity to earn a living. This is due to lockdown measures and/or because they work in the hardest-hit sectors.

The first month of the crisis is estimated to have resulted in a drop of 60 per cent in the income of informal workers globally. This translates into a drop of 81 per cent in Africa and the Americas, 21.6 percent in Asia and the Pacific, and 70 per cent in Europe and Central Asia.

Without alternative income sources, these workers and their families will have no means to survive.

The proportion of workers living in countries under recommended or required workplace closures has decreased from 81 to 68 per cent over the last two weeks. The decline from the previous estimate of 81 per cent in the second edition of the monitor (published April 7) is primarily a result of changes in China; elsewhere workplace closure measures have increased.

Worldwide, more than 436 million enterprises face high risks of serious disruption. These enterprises are operating in the hardest-hit economic sectors, including some 232 million in wholesale and retail, 111 million in manufacturing, 51 million in accommodation and food services, and 42 million in real estate and other business activities.

The ILO calls for urgent, targeted and flexible measures to support workers and businesses, particularly smaller enterprises, those in the informal economy and others who are vulnerable.]]>
4/30/2020 10:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s Sisi urges continuous African coordination to face coronavirus]]>
The summit included Presidents of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Gabonese President Ali Bongo Ondimba, Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina and Prime Minister of Sudan Abdalla Hamdok, as well as the chief of the African Union Commission and the chief of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sisi stressed the importance of the role of economic and regional unions in Africa in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, through allocating resources to implement relevant projects, within the framework of the private sector’s social responsibility.

He also highlighted the role of international financial institutions and international partners to support African countries on the economic level over the medium- and long-terms, in light of the negative repercussions coronavirus had on economy.

During the meeting, Sisi also reviewed Egypt’s experiment in dealing with coronavirus, especially concerning supporting health and economic sectors. He noted that such experience showed the significance of cooperation between people in each country and state institutions.

He reaffirmed that efforts to face coronavirus in each country should be in parallel with the continental efforts to combat other various threats, especially terrorism and extremism.

The meeting reviewed the current situation concerning the spread of coronavirus in Africa, including the infection rate and the number of cases and deaths.

Worldwide, the novel virus has caused the death of around 225,617 people, according to Worldometers, while the total number of cases stands at around 3,189,060 at the moment.

Report: Over 300,000 could die from coronavirus in Africa

WASHINGTON, April 17 (MENA) - A new report from the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) says that the continent of around 1.3 billion people could see as many as 300,000 deaths from the coronavirus in the best-case scenario.




In Egypt, 226 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) recently and 21 people died, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday, shortly after it noted that 25% of the announced fatalities died before reaching quarantine hospitals as they arrived at hospitals too late.

This brings the total number of reported cases and deaths to 5,268 and 380 respectively, the ministry said.

As many as 1,712 people of the reported cases had their results come back negative, including 1,335 people who fully recovered.

Also, 31 cases, all of them Egyptians, left hospital after they recovered, according to the instructions of the World Health Organization (WHO).]]>
4/29/2020 8:38:14 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt rejects tolerance with Turkey-supported terrorists in Libya]]>
The statement stressed that Egypt seeks to achieve stability in Libya while preserving its unity and territorial integrity.

This comes within the framework of Egypt’s brotherly and friendly ties with Libya and its people, according to the statement.

Egypt, however, asserted that a political solution does not mean, and should not lead, to any concessions or complacency in facing the armed militias and terrorists that are being supported by Turkey.

Egypt also rejected entering into negotiations with these illegal groups and mercenaries regarding the future of Libya.

In this regard, the spokesman expressed Egypt's appreciation for the relative stability achieved by the Libyan army in the country, which led to a decline in the number of terrorist operations as well as the terrorist threat emanating from Libya.

On February, Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan said his country has sent Syrian opposition fighters to Libya.

Several reports had indicated that the mercenaries went to Turkey after they were promised the Turkish citizenship and salaries of up to $2,000 per month, to fight alongside militias loyal to the Al-Wefaq government

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) estimated they were around 3,600 fighters from pro-Turkish factions and brigades in Syria.

The Turkish President reaffirmed that his country will continue to support Al-Wefaq against the National Army of Libya after Fayez al-Sarraj requested further Turkish military support to thwart the army’s advancement.
]]>
4/29/2020 9:55:57 AM
<![CDATA[PM prolongs prosecution of defendants in precise crimes by State Security Emergency Courts]]>
The prime minister issues such decree every three months along with the renewal of the emergency law enforcement by the president. The State Security Emergency Courts are specialized in felonies and crimes that threaten national security, and may cause the country to fall into chaos.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi issued a decree Monday to renew the emergency law enforcement with the aim of facilitating measures that can be taken in the face of terrorism, and other threats to national security.

On April 23, dozens of citizens in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria carried a model of the Kaaba and toured the streets.The people were celebrating the advent of the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic Calendar where Muslims worldwide fast from dusk to dawn, and doubting the existence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The police arrested the organizers of the march the following day.

On March 23, dozens of citizens in Egypt's second largest city organized a march to affirm their willpower against COVID-19 pandemic chanting "God is Great."

On April 23, the Cabinet reduced the partial curfew hours by one hour to take place from 9p.m. until 6a.m. On April 7, President Sisi affirmed there is no shortage in staples, and that all staples are always stocked for three months ahead.
]]>
4/28/2020 1:20:50 PM
<![CDATA[Libya's Haftar declares end of Skhirat deal, accepts mandate to rule country]]>
He said in a televised address to the nation on Monday that the general command accepts the people's will and mandate, declaring the end of the Skhirat Agreement, which was signed in 2015 under the United Nations mediation and produced the unity government.

The council of the Libyan southwestern city of Al Zintan earlier mandated the Libyan armed forces under Haftar to rule the country and supported the forces' operations against terrorist organizations.]]>
4/28/2020 12:15:12 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt voices support for Riyadh deal on Yemen, hails Saudi, Emirati efforts]]>
Egypt is part of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthi militia in Yemen.

The Riyadh agreement was signed between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council in the Saudi capital, with the participation of the Arab coalition in Yemen. The agreement was reached under the auspices of King Salman of Saudi Arabia and with the attendance of the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In a statement on Monday, the ministry said Egypt backs the statement issued by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, which affirms the need to stick to the articles of the Riyadh agreement, in an effort to serve the interests of the Yemeni people, restore the Yemeni state and face the terrorist groups.

“The Arab Republic of Egypt reaffirms its support for the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which aim at establishing peace, security and stability in Yemen,” the ministry’s statement read.

These efforts seek “guaranteeing [Yemen’s] unity and territorial integrity, alleviating the suffering of the brotherly Yemeni people, reaching a comprehensive political solution to the Yemeni crisis in accordance with the relevant references.”

Sisi, Bahraini king talk fostering cooperation, laud Riyadh agreement

CAIRO - 8 November 2019: Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa hailed his country's strong relations with Egypt and the developmental progress Egypt is witnessing, in a meeting with President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Thursday in Cairo, the Presidency said.




The coalition earlier in April announced a two-week ceasefire in the war-torn country and renewed it for a month shortly before the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“The coalition’s command reaffirms that there is still an opportunity to focus all efforts in order to achieve a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire,” coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said.]]>
4/27/2020 5:05:31 PM
<![CDATA[LNA downs 60 Turkish drones in April thwarting Tripoli militias attempt to enter stronghold: military source ]]>
The GNA is an interim non-elected government that is based in Tripoli, and recognized by the United Nations. After the LNA captured Sirte in January, the GNA has been controlling merely the capital and Misrata. Yet, the LNA has been encircling both and advancing in their outskirts.

LNA controls key entrance to Misrata, detects daily mercenaries transportation by Turkey

CAIRO - 12 April 2020: Spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed al-Mesmary declared on Sunday that the Libyan Armed Forces controlled the western entrance of AbouGrein village lying southern Misrata city. Mesmary announced that, after fleeing, the "enemy" left behind munitions in AbouGrein.



In December, the GNA had signed with Turkey two MoUs on defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean. As such, Turkey transported more than 6,000 Syrian mercenaries into Libya to fight in the ranks of GNA militias, and sent Turkish military officers and experts to command operations rooms.

The source revealed to Youm7 that the militias aim for weakening Tarhuna town located southeasternTripoli by continuous targeting as it is the main base of the LNA western Libya.

Tripoli militias strike civilian targets in Libya's Tarhuna by more than 20 missiles

CAIRO - 25 April 2020: Spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed al-Mesmary announced on March 24 that Tarhuna town lying to the southeast of the capital, Tripoli, was struck by more than 20 missiles that hit houses and civilian sites accusing militias of standing behind the aggression.



Last week, General Commander of the LNA, Field MarshelKhalifaHaftar, delivered a speech calling upon the Libyan people to topple the GNA's Presidential Council led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. That is in response to the crimes committed against the Libyan people, and forfeiture of the country's sovereignty by bringing in Syrian mercenaries.

As they attempt to enter Tarhuna, the GNA militias cut electricity, water supply, and communications to the town that has been subject to blockade for weeks. Nevertheless, the town's residents are still backing the Libyan Armed Forces against Tripoli's militias, and dozens have volunteered to join the military and take part in liberating the capital.

Tarhuna is home to dozens of tribes that support the rehabilitation of the state institutions, particularly the army and the police, that were demised in the aftermath of the assassination of late Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi when the civil war broke out in 2011.

On April 15, Spokesperson of the LNA Ahmed al-Mesmary held a press conference to reveal updates on operations taking place between the west of Misrata and borders with Tunisia against GNA militias, and Turkey-backed Syrian mercenaries.

Mesmary stated that the LNA is advancing in Ain Zara town, the southern and southwestern parts of Abou Slim district, Aziziyah town, and Salah El-Din districtlocated south of Tripoli, causing human losses among mercenaries and the fall of captives.

A number of vehicles and equipment were destroyed in Assa district by the LNA as militias have been mobilizing to enter Al Watiyah district, whose airbase can be the alternative to Mitiga Airbase, near to which LNA forces are deployed.The militias need an airbase for Turkey to fly drones that attack LNA concentrations.
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4/26/2020 3:29:15 PM
<![CDATA[Britain conducts first airstrikes against ISIS militants since September]]>
In a "successful operation" on April 10, a pair of British Royal Air Force Typhoon jets struck Daesh militants in Tuz Khurmatu, south of Kirkuk, "removing several Daesh fighters from the battlefield and further degrading the terrorist movement”, according to a statement by the UK government that was quoted by Iraq's national news agency (NINA).

"The pair of Typhoons, assisted by an RAF Reaper aircraft, identified Daesh terrorists occupying a group of fortified buildings in an isolated location west of Tuz Khurma[tu], known to be inhabited by active terrorist commanders and fighters," read an update published on an government page dedicated to air strikes against the group.

"The aircraft conducted a thorough check of the area for non-combatants, before using a combination of precision guided bombs to destroy the buildings," the statement read.

"The surveillance aircraft continued to scan the area, confirming that all weapons had struck their targets and there was no collateral damage," it added.

The last airstrike to be conducted by British forces was in September, when "a pair of Typhoons responded to reports that a small group of Daesh extremists had been engaged in fighting with Iraqi security forces."

Britain has been a key partner of US-led coalition to defeat ISIS. Their troops have been in Iraq since 2014.]]>
4/26/2020 1:32:18 PM
<![CDATA[Liberation Day: How Egyptian state adopted new approach to develop Sinai ]]>
The study was published by the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies (ECSS) on Saturday, April 25th, to coincide with the Sinai Liberation Day in 1982, which marks the withdrawal of the last Israeli soldier from the formerly occupied peninsula. Experts and researchers in the ECSS cast light on the development efforts made by the Egyptian state since 2014, under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

The Egyptian state, after June 30, 2013, which marks the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated President Mohamed Morsi, has been keen on developing Sinai, unlike previous governments who cared for central areas in the country and ignored side parts, said Khaled Okasha, chairman of the ECSS.

Therefore, the state has given large allocations for the short-term and long-term development in the side areas, Okasha added, especially Upper Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, in order for these two major parts of the country to attract dwellers and investors.



But in Sinai, there are further challenges including terrorism, which the state has fought since 2014, he noted. Since February 2018, the Egyptian Army has launched a comprehensive offensive against terrorist elements and facilities in various parts of the country, especially in North Sinai.

The study shows that the state has adopted a new approach to develop Sinai with various service and economic projects, mainly infrastructure projects.

Allocations to develop infrastructure in Sinai have reached LE 600 billion ($37.9 billion), the study shows, including linking the peninsula to the delta in Lower Egypt through major tunnels running under the Suez Canal. The projects also include seawater desalination plants and renewable energy plants. Also, many schools and hospitals were built.

Concerning education in Sinai, the number of classes in the pre-university levels increased from 4,793 in 2016 to 5,021 in 2019, making a higher increase rate compared with the capital Cairo.

In health, a number of large hospitals have been established by the Armed Forces in Arish, North Sinai’s largest city and the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh in South Sinai. A national project to develop Sinai aims to increase the number of beds inside hospitals to 6,000 by establishing 55 public hospitals and 23 private ones, to cope with the expected increase in the number of residents.

Newton’s piece
Earlier in April, the Supreme Media Council fined the private daily newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm LE 250,000 ($15,832) over an op-ed penned by founder Salah Diab under the pen name “Newton.”

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The column article suggested that Sinai should be assigned a governor with expanded powers to better govern the peninsula.

The council has ordered the paper to remove the piece from its website and issue an official apology. The newspaper is also required to suspend publishing Newton’s opinion pieces for one month.

Moreover, the council has referred the case to the public prosecutor to decide whether further action is warranted against Diab.]]>
4/26/2020 12:59:10 PM
<![CDATA[On 38th Sinai Liberation Day, learn about Egypt's saga of counterterrorism, development ]]>
Israel had occupied Sinai on June 5, 1967 before Egypt waged the 6th of October, 1973 War and restored 15 kilometers pushing the Hebrew State to negotiate until the Peace Treaty was signed in 1977.

Egypt had begun the War of Attrition in 1969 leading up to the 1973 War and the destruction Bar Lev Line causing losses among the Israelis. The line was a chain of fortifications built by Israel along the eastern bank of the Suez Canal.

North Sinai has been hit by terrorism since late President Mohamed Morsi, who was one of the leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, held office in 2012. A number of soldiers were kidnapped, and all the soldiers in a checkpoint were assassinated in a terror attack in Rafah town bordering Gaza Strip.

After his overthrow over mass protests in 2013, terrorism magnified in North Sinai and spread across the country. Later on, terrorism became confined to North Sinai, and the frequency of terror attacks decreased tremendously. Yet, dozens of security personnel martyred and injured.

That is because the Egyptian Armed Forces and the Egyptian Police have been eliminating terrorist hideouts, and illegal secret tunnels that were dug to connect with Gaza Strip with the purpose of smuggling goods, arms, and terrorists.

In parallel, the state has been developing the Sinai Peninsula, and improving the transportation network connecting it with the rest of the country. The main projects in that realm are Martyr Ahmed Hamdy Tunnel I, Martyr Ahmed Hamdy Tunnel II and four other tunnels extending beneath the Suez Canal, and Martyr Ahmed Mansy Floating Bridge stretching on the international waterway.

What you want to know about water treatment plant between Sinai, Ismailia

CAIRO - 22 April 2020: Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Wednesday witnessed the inauguration of the Mahsama water treatment plant in Serapeum in the northeastern city of Ismailia, east of the Suez Canal.




Bedouin Houses are being constructed in Sinai for 200 families. The cost of each is LE3 million. In the inauguration of Martyr Ahmed Hamdy Tunnel II, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi stated that over the past six years, LE600 billion were spent on security and development.

Construction of largest desalination plant in Africa, Middle East begins in Egypt's Sinai

CAIRO - 7 April 2020: North Sinai Governor Mohamed Shousha announced on Tuesday that construction of the largest desalination plant in Africa and the Middle East has started. The capacity of the first phase is 100,000 cubic meters daily, and that of the second and third phases is 300,000 cubic meters per day.




North Sinai will house the largest desalination plant in the Arab World and Africa while existing fisheries, reclaimed land, and other investment opportunities are being made available for investors to run.

State completes Sarabium Siphon, infrastructure of North Sinai Development Project

CAIRO - 9 July 2019: The Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources revealed on Monday the progress that has been achieved in the North Sinai Development Project aimed at claiming 400,000 feddans by being water pumped through Al Salam Canal.



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4/25/2020 6:09:26 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s House: Refusal of burying COVID-19 victims punishable by imprisonment, fine]]>
As per the newly-added articles, the minister of health has the authority to require individuals to wear medical face masks and other medical protective equipment while they are outside their homes in extremis. Violation against wearing medical protective equipment such as a face mask is a crime and punishable by a fine between LE 300 and LE 5,000.

The new amendments empowered the ministry of health to take all necessary measures in dealing with the burial of deceased patients who died of a pandemic. In case anyone rejects to bury a person who dies of a contagious disease shall face imprisonment and a fine between LE 5,000 and LE 10,000.

The punishment could be doubled if the act of the crime was repeated by the same offender.

On April 11, 2020, a controversy sparked when some locals of Shubra al-Bahw village, in Dakahlia [ Egypt’s Delta], protested the burial of a female doctor who died of Coronavirus as they feared of infection with the virus if she was buried at the village cemeteries. However, the security forces dispersed their protest by using tear gas bombs to bury the 64-year-old doctor. The act of refusal was denounced by the religious bodies; Grand Mufti of Egypt Shawqi Allam issued a fatwa (Islamic decision) prohibiting this act. One week later, some dwellers of the village apologized for the actions of those who tried to prevent the burial.

As yet, the COVID-19 cases in Egypt reached 4092 and the mortality to 294 deaths. The number of coronavirus cases whose tests turned from positive to negative increased to 1417, including 1075 people who recovered from the virus.

On April 18, 2020, the Legislative Committee of the Egyptian House of Representatives approved new amendments to the Emergency Law NO. 162 of 1958, giving the president more powers to face the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The new amendments give the president the power to take the necessary measures concerning the health emergency that Egypt declared since mid-March to fight the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

In case you missed it…

Egypt's House initially approves new amendments to Emergency Law granting President more powers

CAIRO- 18 April 2020: The Legislative Committee of the Egyptian House of Representatives has approved new amendments to the Emergency Law NO. 162 of 1958, giving the president more powers to face the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).




Since mid-March, Egypt has taken certain strict measures to protect the public from the spread of coronavirus pandemic. The government has taken gradual steps in dealing with the coronavirus spread, starting with suspending schools and universities, and international flights.

Furthermore, a night-time curfew has been imposed since March 24, 2020. Additionally, the Ministry of Awqaf [Endowment] extended the closure of the mosques and the places of worship nationwide until further notice.

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4/25/2020 3:14:22 PM
<![CDATA[Hunger striker Mustafa Ko?ak dies in Turkish prison after 297 days]]>
The statement came after a statement by representatives from the People’s Law Office (HHB) has said Mustafa Ko?ak, who was serving a life sentence over charges related to the killing of a Turkish prosecutor, died after 297 days on an extreme hunger strike where he only took sugar water.

Kocak was sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment – with no prospect of parole – in July 2019 after claims that he had been involved in the kidnap of public prosecutor Mehmet Selim Kiraz, despite a lack of concrete evidence.

The Morning Star reported that he was accused by the authorities of being a member of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front — deemed a terrorist organization in Turkey.

But the case against him was based on the testimony of a government informer, Berk Ercan, whose evidence has been used to jail at least 346 people related to anti-government protests.

When he was first detained in 2017, Kocak described being subjected to physical and psychological torture with his interrogators threatening to rape his pregnant sister unless he gave a statement, which he refused.

A harrowing recording detailed the last conversation with his family as they pleaded for him to hold on, with his parents saying they would sacrifice their lives for him. But he said that he couldn’t last much longer.

“My whole body is swollen, and my stomach. I haven’t been able to breathe for the last two days,” he said.

Kocak is the second person to die on hunger strike this month. Grup Yorum singer Helin Bolek passed away after 288 days of hunger strike.

Tributes poured in from across the political spectrum with the Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) insisting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his friends would be known as the “government where people die for justice.”

Türkdo?an has said in earlier remarks that ?HD’s annual report listed the highest number of human rights violations since its establishment on July 17, 1986.

“The violation of one’s right to freedom, meaning arbitrary detentions and arrests, are at the highest level. People are being arrested over their thoughts, which is the practice of preventing and punishing freedom of expression. One of the direst developments is the claims of people going missing under detention, which hasn’t been experienced since 2004. There are 11 abduction claims that we announced to the public after the thwarted coup,” he added. ]]>
4/25/2020 2:57:18 PM
<![CDATA[National Army in Libya charged to administer country, fight terrorism, Turkish intervention]]>
Spokesperson for the council, Abu Bakr Suleiman Mardamah said in March that Libyans support the LNA, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, to fight terrorism and Turkish invasion of Libya.

The council has announced steps to sue Qatar and Turkey for committing war crimes in Libya, affirming that Libyans have declared the call for Jihad, not to fight against other Libyans, but to encounter the Ottoman occupation.

He also stressed that all the Libyan tribal members have been fighting in various axis under the umbrella of the LNA to confront the Ottoman occupation that tried to break the bonds among the Libyans and spread conflict across the country.

Haftar is fighting terrorists who are loyal to Turkey and exist mainly in Tripoli, the capital, and in the surrounding districts which are still under the control of the militias of the so-called Government of the National Accord (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj.

Haftar had on Thursday reiterated his call on the Libyans to abandon the Skheirat agreement, signed between rival parties in Morocco in 2015, and overthrow the GNA presidential council, which he accused of committing crimes that “amount to high treason.”

The council has undermined the dignity of the people, relinquished the sovereignty of the state and destroyed its economy, he said in a televised address. It has also employed oil revenues in supporting militias and bringing in mercenaries.

“It even boasts of the crimes the militias have committed in Sabratha and Surman,” he added, in what was interpreted as a sign he will wage a counter-attack to recapture the two cities that were recently seized by the GNA.

According to Mardamah, some of members of terrorist organizations believe in the Muslim Brotherhood ideology. “All extremist organizations have emerged from under the cloak of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group that does not enjoy popularity in our country,” he added.

Regarding the open borders and the crossing of foreigners into Libya, observers and experts stress that there is an attempt to disturb the border areas and undermine stability in Libya.

In previous remarks, Mardamah pointed out that the Supreme Council of Sheikhs and Elders monitored all suspicious calls from Qatar, who are trying to influence the national project led by the Libyan tribal leaders by supporting ideological and extremist agendas. Qatar is communicating with terrorist movements in order to implicate other regional countries in supporting terrorism in Libya.
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4/25/2020 2:31:32 PM
<![CDATA[Tripoli militias strike civilian targets in Libya's Tarhuna by more than 20 missiles]]>
The spokesperson added that losses are being determined, and that the response of the Libyan Armed Forces is ready and coming. Mesmary requested the United Nations Support Mission on Libya (UNSML) to fulfill its duties and condemn "the terrorists" pointing out that targeting civilians is banned by law.

France, Italy, Germany, and the European Union issued a joint statement on Saturday calling for a humanitarian truce in Libya between warring parties that are the LNA and the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Arab League denounces ongoing combat escalation in Libya

CAIRO - 18 April 2020: The General Secretary of the Arab League denounced on Friday the continuation of military operations in Libya, and the ongoing combat escalation between the militias of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, and the Libyan National Army (LNA).




In January, following the LNA's capture of Sirte and tighter encircling of Tripoli and Misrata controlled by the GNA, both parties had pledged to commit to a truce that became a must after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic globally.

On April 20, the spokesperson stated that the Libyan Armed Forces took over Al Aqrabiyah District located near Tripoli, and deterred an attempt by the militias to advance towards Oqba Bin Nafea airbase located in Al Watiyah district western the country.

In the chase of militants to Al Gamil District, the Libyan Armed Forces captured an armed vehicle, a Turkish armored vehicle, and a number of captives causing casualties among them. The forces set up checkpoints in Al Aqrabiya and deployed advanced observation posts.

The LNA also declared eliminating a number of "high-profile terrorist elements" in the outskirts of Tripoli without mentioning details.

Since December 2019 after signing two MoUs with the GNA on defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean, Turkey brought into Libya over 6,000 Syrian mercenaries. The GNA is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations.
]]>
4/25/2020 1:33:30 PM
<![CDATA[Arab Coalition announces one-month extension of Yemen ceasefire]]>
A two-week ceasefire announced by the coalition that is battling the Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen expired on Thursday without leading to a permanent truce.

“The coalition’s command reaffirms that there is still an opportunity to focus all efforts in order to achieve a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire,” coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said. ]]>
4/24/2020 2:20:02 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi phones Sudan’s chief of military ruling council]]>
Both leaders exchanged greetings on the occasion of the holy month, said Egyptian spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement on Thursday.


Two leaders tackled a number of regional and international issues, beside the bilateral relations, Radi continued.

On January 17, 2020, President Sisi received a phone call from Burhan to discuss the developments of a number of regional issues of common interest, especially talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the Libyan crisis. The two leaders agreed on the need to continue intensive consultation and joint coordination in this regard.


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4/24/2020 12:13:24 PM
<![CDATA[President Sisi greets Arab world leaders on advent of holy month of Ramadan]]>
In a phone call with Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz, President Sisi greeted him on the holy month. The president also wished the Saudi people progress and prosperity.

"In another phone call with Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah of Kuwait, President Sisi extended his greetings to the emir and the Kuwaiti people," said the Egyptian Presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement on Thursday. Sheikh Al-Sabah expressed his gratitude to the Egyptian people.

Radi added that both leaders discussed the bilateral, regional, and international issues of mutual concern.

"Jordanian Monarch Abdullah II and Tunisian President Kais Said showed their gratitude to President Sisi for the latter’s calls to greet them on the advent of the holy month, expressing their greatest wishes to Sisi and the Egyptian people," Radi said in statements.

"Additionally, President Sisi phoned Iraqi President Barham Salih to greet him on the holy month," added Radi in the statement, noting that President Sisi wished the Iraqi people stability and security.

In a phone call with Sudanese Transitional Military Council Chairman Abdel Fatah al-Burhan, the Egyptian president also wished the Sudanese people stability and prosperity.

Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa announced on Wednesday evening that the holy month of Ramadan will start on Friday, sending greetings to President Sisi and the Egyptians.

]]>
4/24/2020 12:09:32 PM
<![CDATA[Pompeo thanks Egypt for handing medical aid to US amid coronavirus crisis]]>
In a phone call, Pompeo thanked the Egyptian side for an initiative to provide the United States with medical aid to contribute to facing coronavirus, saying it indicates strong friendship relations between the two countries.

This comes as the United States has reported almost 856,000 coronavirus cases and more than 48,000 deaths, according to Worldometers, which makes the highest toll among countries worldwide.

Shoukry and Pompeo reviewed a number of regional issues of mutual concern, including the updates of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over the $4-billion dam; Cairo voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters] after Ethiopia started building the dam on the Blue Nile in May 2011. A series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began in 2014. One year later, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam.

The United States has announced it will continue to work with Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan until they sign an accord on the hydropower dam, according to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Egypt rejects Ethiopia's "unjustified" absence from GERD talks

CAIRO - 29 February 2020: Egypt has affirmed that its participation at the ministerial meetings regarding the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which took place in Washington on February 27-28, came to reach a final agreement on the rules for filling and operating the dam, and to implement the obligations contained in the Declaration of Principles Agreement signed between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on March 23, 2015.




The Egyptian medical aid jet sent by the government arrived Tuesday in the United States to confront the Coronavirus pandemic.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al Sisi ordered to send medical aid to the United States in order to participate in the global battle against the pandemic.

The military jets carried medical equipment, anesthesia drugs, and antibiotics as well as body bags, masks, and testing swabs.
]]>
4/23/2020 7:00:07 PM
<![CDATA[Social media influencer stirs controversy in Egypt for inciting immorality]]>
Sawy has ordered on April 22 to launch an investigation with Hossam on charges of posting an inappropriate video on the social media application Tiktok.

A student at the Faculty of Archaeology, Hossam has 1.2 million followers on TikTok. She posted a video calling on girls to go live on the application, recording short videos called “likee” to make friends in return for money. The video provoked social media users over the last couple of days.

On his part, Cairo University President Mohamed Othman el-Khosht said he had received several messages that a student in the university was calling upon females to shoot “inappropriate” videos in return for money.

He stressed that the university will impose the maximum penalty on any student who might act against the Egyptian community’s values and traditions.

Hossam has recently become the number one trend in Egypt, not for making cool videos or having a certain talent, but merely for being able to raise controversy.Many people have seen her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and made fun of her photo shopped pictures, her style in clothes and music, and the way she speaks English.

It all started with video, where she explained how an English phrase “My Mine” she used earlier is correct, despite what those who made fun of her on social media were saying.

And within a few hours, celebrities and social media users everywhere used “My Mine” on their pictures to keep up with the trend.

After Hossam's arrest, most of the social media figures stressed that she did promote immorality; some even said that strict measures must be taken against the many people on social media who behave like Hossam.



Meanwhile, others believed that she is free to post whatever she likes on her social media accounts, and that there was no need for her final dismissal from the university.



It is worth noting that Hossam published a video crying in response to her punishment. She said, "Many celebrities go live on TikTok; does that mean that they are promoting immorality?" She added that shameful behavior is usually practiced secretly, not in public.

There is no doubt that the family values in Egyptian society are not commensurate with such actions in addition to that anyone who calls for incitement to debauchery and immorality is a crime.

According to Egyptian law, Article 26 stipulates that " anyone who assaults any of the family principles or values in Egyptian society shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not less than six months or a fine of not less than LE 50,000 and not exceeding one hundred thousand pounds."]]>
4/23/2020 5:59:09 PM
<![CDATA[Opinion: Message to the people of Ethiopia]]>
Moreover, most of the published materials are disrespectfully insulting the Egyptian government and the people of Egypt.Among the common misconception that has spread in the Ethiopian media is the claim that Egypt has been calling for activating the historical colonial agreements of 1929 and 1959 throughout the negotiations around the GERD. The 1929 agreement was between Egypt, Sudan and countries of the Equatorial plateau; namely Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania,regarding the Nile waters upstream Ethiopia; which does not flow through the Ethiopian lands or territories. It is worth mentioning that, through this agreement, Uganda had built Owen's Fall andBujagali dams in addition to other two dams are being constructed.

The 1959 agreement was mainly between the two independent countries of Egypt and Sudan to benefit from the water that isused to be lost in the Mediterranean Sea. On the other hand, Ethiopia never mention the 1902 agreement with Egypt and Sudan, which was signed by the great king Menelik II, of the independent kingdom of Ethiopia and was later ratified by the Ethiopian parliament. According to this agreement, Ethiopia should not build any water structures along the Blue Nile and the SobatRiver without prior approval of both Egypt and Sudan. With that being said, Egypt has actually never brought up activation of any of these agreements in the ongoing negotiations. The only demand that Egypt had was applying the international water rulesapplicable for construction of a mega damsuch as the GERD, on an International River;namely the two principals of prior notification and no significant harm. Both principals unfortunately, are being disrespected by the Ethiopian representatives throughout The GERD negotiation.

Another falsified claim that has been widely spread in the Ethiopian media is that Egypt wastes a lot of Nile water due to its low irrigation water use efficiency, disregarding the tremendous scientific international and local studies which showed that the overall efficiency of the Egyptian water system exceeds 80 percent ; which is the highest in both Africa and the Middle East. This high water use efficiency is due to the fact that Egyptian farmers reuse water multiple times to meet the demand.As a result, the final drainage waters discharged into the Mediterranean Sea, are highly loaded with chemical and biological loads with salinity of more than 20 thousands ppm.Water Reuse andrecycling are essential practices for Egypt to overcome the water shortage problems, where the total annual Nile River water supply reaching Egypt at Aswan is only 55.5 Billion cubic meters, while the total annual water uses exceed 80 Billion cubic meters.

The Ethiopian media is even claiming that Egypt possesses a huge reserve of ground water in the Western desert (the Nubian sandstone aquifer which is shared between 4 countries namely Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Chad), and recommends to use this water as a replace of the Nile waters. There are several American, Russian and local studies found that the Nubian ground water aquifer is non-renewable and can be utilized over one hundred years if used at an annual rate of three to five billion cubic meters annually.

Moreover, it is a deep reservoir at depths ranging between 800 and 1200 meters, whichmakedrilling and pumping costs relatively expensive.This shared aquifer is also located hundreds of kilometers away from the Delta and the Nile Valley, where most of the Egyptian population resides. Regardless of all these issues, and due water shortage, Egypt is currently using about five billion cubic meters annually from this shared aquifer in close cooperation with the other three countries through the established joint commission including the four countries. On the other hand, it may worth mentioning that Ethiopia has several renewable groundwater aquifers that can be used up to forty billions of cubic meters, annually.

In fact, water scarcity in Egypt is a screaming reality that the Egyptian government is facing with great difficulties.The government had to construct megaseawater desalination plants to provide drinking water for coastal areas. The government had to terminate several mega projects for land reclamations due to irrigation water shortage such as thoseinToshqa, Sinai, Hammam Canal and its extension and in Komombo in upper Egypt in spite of spending billions of dollars in their infrastructures. Moreover,as a result of water shortage,the food gap in Egypt has exceeded ten billion dollars annually, while Ethiopia is exporting crops, chattels making billions of dollars annually.

The Ethiopian media is spreading a rumor that Egypt is threatening to destroy the GERD with airplanes, this media intentionally, neglects the fact that since 2013 a new regime has been ruling Egypt and the new leadership has actually signed the agreement on declaration of principles with Ethiopia and Sudan agreeing to start a new relationship full of trust and peace. On the other hand the Ethiopian Prime Minister had announced war against Egypt in the Ethiopian parliament and Egypt did not respond or act on that threat.

The Ethiopian media has been claiming that the GERD has no negative impacts whatsoever on the downstream countries Egypt and Sudan. Moreover, itis claiming that the GERD will help Egypt in droughts by passing more water flows than it usually gets during normal years. In contrary, the official negotiation team of Ethiopia refused this option, insisting that droughts should be bared equally by the three counties.This in spite of the fact that the GERD will diminish the role of the High Aswan Dam (HAD) in saving Egypt from droughts, and production of electricity. During filling the GERD capacity (74) Billion cubic meters,plus the evaporation losses from its surface and percolation losses during the filling years may add up to a 90 billion cubic meters of water. This amount will be deducted from the Blue Nile flow to Egypt and Sudan, which in turn will be compensated from the live storage of the High Aswan dam( the capacity is 90 billion cubic meters). In other words, filling the GERD means simply emptying the HAD and hence diminishing its benefits to Egypt.

The question that remains unresolved; will we continue spreading rumors and falsified claims or start calling for real cooperation to resolve the Nile water conflict and minimize impacts on the downstream countries?

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4/23/2020 11:23:20 AM
<![CDATA[House committee of Egypt's parliament approves amendment of law to protect health of people]]>
The approval came during a meeting by the committee on Wednesday to discuss the developments of COVID-19 and measures aimed at preventing its spread in the country.

The draft aims at developing the health measures to face the spread of the virus which poses a threat to public health.

Member of the committee Ayman Abul Ela hailed the bill, stressing the importance of passing it to fight the virus and protect the people from contagious diseases.

Abul Ela told MENA on the sidelines of the committee meeting that the patients and medics do not only suffer from the virus but also from societal bullying.

He said the bill allows health authorities to compel persons to use face masks and other protective tools outside their homes calling for providing the masks and medical tools used in fighting the virus for all people.

It also enables the health authorities to take measures necessary for dealing with dead bodies by honoring their dignity and respecting the social and religious aspects. ]]>
4/22/2020 3:48:29 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's parliament approves amendment to police academy law]]>
Amer told reporters that the new draft law stipulates that the academy applicants must not hold a dual nationality and their parents must not hold another nationality in order to achieve the full affiliation to the homeland.

He also said that bill stipulates the applicants or their relatives of fourth degree must not be put on terror lists or designated as terror entities as a condition for the enrollment as part of national security considerations.]]>
4/22/2020 3:38:58 PM
<![CDATA[Trump plans to suspend immigration to US]]>
"In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens," Trump wrote on Twitter, "I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!"

The number of visas issued to foreigners abroad looking to immigrate to the United States has declined by about 25 percent, to 462,422 in the 2019 fiscal year from 617,752 in 2016.

And the president’s restrictionist allies on Capitol Hill quickly praised word of his actions. Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, said on Twitter: "22 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last month because of the China virus. Let’s help them get back to work before we import more foreigners to compete for their jobs." ]]>
4/21/2020 11:15:48 AM
<![CDATA[Killing time in curfew: What Egyptians web-surf the most ]]>
According to the Ministry of Telecommunications, Egyptians have extensively used the internet and online applications during the curfew time. This is in addition to the large amounts of downloads per day during March and April.

According to the ministry, Egyptians' international phone calls increased by 15 percent and their local calls surged by 3 percent.

There was an 87 percent increase in the Egyptians’ domestic use of internet, and 18 percent increase in their mobile data usage.

Egyptians' search on the internet showed an increase by 376 percent on the educational websites during the second week of April, compared to the second week of March.

Surfing the internet in general witnessed an increase of 131 percent, and the peak hours on the internet rose to be 15 hours per day starting from 12 p.m. and until 3 a.m. during the second week in April, compared to only 7 hours during the second week in March.

Regarding famous applications, Tik Tok, the short-form mobile video application, came at the top of the list by a usage increase of 194 percent above Facebook whose usage increased by 151 percent, games that rose by 96 percent, Netflix that increased by 69 percent, Instagram that rose by 59 percent, Youtube that rose by 41 percent and Whatsapp that witnessed an increase of 34 percent.

Egypt’s coronavirus cases surpassed 3,000 and death toll reached 250. The country has announced a night-time curfew since March 25 in a bid to lessen gatherings and combat the spread of coronavirus.

On Monday, advisor of Egypt's president for health affairs said in TV statements that the infection curve in Egypt is still “within expected limits,” and that the treatment protocol adopted has shown to be among the best, urging citizens to abide by the precautionary measures.
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4/20/2020 8:22:06 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt considers imposing restrictions on local markets to prevent COVID-19 spread ]]>
In statements to dmc private channel on Sunday night, Saad added that gatherings of any kind, including in markets, gardens or beaches are considered a violation to the government's precautionary decisions.

On April 17, the government decided to fine the violators of Sham el Nessim and Easter holiday’s precautionary measures with LE 4,000.

According to Egypt’s Cabinet, Monday, which marks Sham el Nessim, is considered a “paid leave”.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli announced on April 17 during a press conference the complete closure of public gardens and beaches on Sham el-Nessim holiday. He added that all the public transportation means will be suspended during the day, including Cairo Metro and National Railways.

“We understand the Egyptians' desire to celebrate the holiday; however, these decisions come for the favor of Egyptians amid fears of the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak,” Madbouli said.

He added that the government aims to reduce social gatherings as much as possible which will eliminate the spread of COVID-19.

Madbouli explained that the government has been discussing these Easter decisions for the past three days, to maintain the current situation and not to witness any deterioration during the coming days.

“However, we were worried after seeing that Egyptians gathering in the streets,” Madbouli added, stressing the need for Easter’s complete closure decisions.

He said, “Therefore, we preferred to take more firm measures, including expanding the complete closure on cafes and shopping malls until Monday. Additionally, we will close all gardens, beaches and places that might witness social gatherings. We also decided to suspend all public transportations."

Madbouli wished all Egyptians happy holidays, and urged them to avoid gatherings in order to stay safe.



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4/20/2020 4:37:07 PM
<![CDATA[Turkey exploits coronavirus crisis to ferry mercenaries to Libya - Spokeman]]>
In statements carried by Al Arabyia news channel, the LNA spokesman said Turkey is trying to exploit the world's preoccupation with coronavirus pandemic to work behind the scenes and carry terror attacks on the Libyan town.

Meantime, the Arab parliament, during a virtual session held in Cairo, called on the UN to take a swift action with the aim of stopping the movement of foreign fighters to Libya. ]]>
4/20/2020 1:06:22 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi approves amendments to Egyptian military forces' retirement law ]]>
The new amendments provide an annual increase of 15% to the gross salary and compensation of the army personnel for seven years.

According to the Constitution, the president has the right to issue or reject draft laws. In case the president rejects a draft law, he has to send it back to be reconsidered by the Parliament within 30 days of the Parliament’s notification.

If the president does not send it back within a month to the Parliament, or if at least two thirds of the Parliament members approve it again after it was sent back, the draft law will be issued as a law.

In July, 2018, President Sisi issued a law giving select military officials diplomatic immunity while travelling abroad along their term as called-up military figures.

The law was approved by the Parliament on July 16. Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal said that military officials stand by people during revolutions, adding that people seek honoring the military personnel. He further explained that people reap the rewards of the revolution thanks to the support of the military officials.

Only eight parliamentarians rejected the law introduced by the Cabinet.

The approved law protects military officials named by a presidential decree from being interrogated or sued for “any action committed” during their tenure or because of their service since the former constitution was suspended in 2013, and until the Parliament elected in 2015 started its mission.

The seven-article law stipulates that the selected former officials will be called up again to serve the Armed Forces for their entire lives. In case the former official was found holding a non-military job, he will be called up after his job is done.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for taking the required procedures to give the select officials diplomatic immunity.

The select officials who had not served as ministers or taken up a higher post before they were called up will be treated as ministers and will subsequently have all ministerial benefits and rights, according to the law.

Moreover, the Egyptian president will determine the other grants given to these officials. In case they have already received grants based on another law, they can still receive the grants given to them based on the newly-approved law.]]>
4/19/2020 7:36:52 PM
<![CDATA[2 more batches of Chinese medical aid to arrive in Egypt, production of joint masks factory to be expanded: amb. ]]>
The ambassador announced that a second batch will arrive on April 21 consisting of 10,000 N95 masks and 10,000 medical protective suits, and that a massive third batch is being coordinated with the Egyptian government. That batch will encompass 150,000 masks, a million masks for medical staff, 70,000 medical protective suits, 70,000 COVID-19 test kits, and 1,000 thermometer guns.

Ambassador Liqiang revealed in the conference held virtually that later on Sunday medical aids will be handed over to university hospitals affiliated to Egypt's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The aids are 100,000 masks, 15,000 N95 masks, 1,200 COVID-19 test kits, and medical protective suits. On Monday, Al Azhar will receive thousands of masks from China.

The Chinese envoy pointed out that medical aids to Egypt from his country are not only provided by official institutions but also by NGOs, companies, and hospitals.

The ambassador revealed that the capacity of the existing Chinese-Egyptian medical masks factory in Cairo will be expanded as the number of production lines will be increased to five, and that the output of each will be 100,000 masks daily. As such, the stock of protective equipment will be enlarged given that the factory's daily output of masks will be half million, Liqiang underlined.

As for developing a treatment for COVID-19, China's ambassador stated that the first phase of clinical tests of one medicine in his country is over, and that the second phase began on April 9 saying that such medicine may be the first in the world to be clinically tested. The ambassador added that two other medicines will soon be tested clinically.

Speaking of Chinese-Egyptian cooperation to produce medicine, Liqiang revealed that consultation between both sides on the matter is still underway, and that embassy supports all sorts of cooperation that achieves good health and safety for the Egyptian people.

A videoconference meeting was held by Egyptian and Chinese medical experts in order to exchange information over COVID-19 handling mechanisms as China has pledged to share with the Egyptian side information and technical results pertinent to the pandemic.

Responding to a question on whether the pandemic is having its toll on Chinese-Egyptian business partnerships, the Chinese ambassador stated that the negative impact is limited and can be contained.

Liqiang added that delegations of Chinese companies can visit the New Administrative Capital and SCzone to follow-up on the updates of partnerships between both countries there.

The ambassador stated that in 2019, Chinese direct investments in Egypt rose by 40 percent, which is $104 million stressing his confidence that cooperation between both countries will exceed previous levels after the pandemic is over.

Liqiang dismissed the possibility of the spread of COVID-19 again in his country highlighting that China still applies protective measures embodied in encouraging citizens to put on masks, and inhibiting gatherings and crowdedness among others.

The ambassador said that visits by Chinese businesspeople delegations to Egypt have been delayed because of coronavirus but they are still communicating with Egyptian counterparts via videoconference.

The Chinese ambassador said that his country deployed massive efforts, and made huge sacrifices to control the spread of coronavirus, and that China still faces challenges brought about by infections among those who returned from abroad.

Responding to reports on discriminatory treatment of Africans in China, the ambassador said that Chinese cities have adopted strict protective measures without discrimination against any foreign expats.

Liqiang added that the Chinese minister of foreign affairs called the chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) on April 13 to affirm that China is eager to ensure the safety of both Chinese citizens and foreigners in the country without discrimination, and that the Chinese-African relations are historic and cannot be affected by jeopardizing attempts.

The ambassador pointed out that some foreigners in China, including Africans, do not abide by protective rules, and that some even refuse to go through medical screening which risks their own health and safety and not just those of Chinese people.

The Chinese ambassador highlighted that there are 3,000 African students in Hoppi district, and that only one of them got infected with COVID-19 and is recovering. He added that proves his country's sincerity in protecting Africans on its soil pointing out that medical aids have already been provided to African states as well as medical staff that were sent to some of them to help.

Liqiang described allegations that China had hidden information about COVID-19 spread and not exercising transparency as groundless and aimed at tarnishing China's image affirming that his country informed the World Health Organization (WHO) once the spread of the virus had been confirmed being the first state to announce an epidemic existed.

The ambassador elaborated that does not mean Wuhan is the source of the virus denouncing attempts to politicize the matter, and claims that COVID-19 escaped Chinese labs. He added that until present, the source of the virus has not been identified, and that only scientists – not politicians – can determine such thing.

Given that the United States has suspended funding to the WHO, Liqiang affirmed that China's support to the organization is fixed, and that the Chinese minister of foreign affairs affirmed such support to "plurality and international solidarity" to the WHO's Secretary General Tedros Adhanom.

The Chinese ambassador said that Adhanom and the WHO made tremendous efforts to protect public health globally, and that attempts to tarnish their image are not acceptable as well as exerting pressure on them.

]]>
4/19/2020 5:41:39 PM
<![CDATA[Health condition of former emir of Qatar deteriorates upon Infection with COVID-19: French journalist]]>
Alloush indicated that the Qatari royal family hireda medical team from the United States that included two Jewish doctors to treat him.

Alloush wrote on Twitter, "The former emir of Qatar lies between life and death after he caught the coronavirus. A team of American doctors including 2 Jews have been sent (to treat him)."

Hamad bin Khalifa assumed the emirate on June 27, 1995, after carrying out a coup against his father, then Emir of QatarKhalifa bin Hamad Al-Thani. Former Emir Hamadpassed onthe ruling to his son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on June 25, 2013.



It should be noted that the Ministry of Public Health today announced on Sunday April 19, 440 new confirmed cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) and the recovery of 8 cases of the disease, bringing the total cases of recovery in the State of Qatar to 518 cases. Qatar has the 3rd highest number of confirmed cases in the Arab World at more than 5000 cases.


]]>
4/19/2020 2:53:31 PM
<![CDATA[Trump warns China could face consequences for virus outbreak]]>
“It could have been stopped in China before it started and it wasn’t, and the whole world is suffering because of it,” Trump told a daily White House briefing.

“If it was a mistake, a mistake is a mistake. But if they were knowingly responsible, yeah, I mean, then sure there should be consequences,” Trump said. He did not elaborate on what actions the United States might take.

The United States has by far the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 720,000 infections and over 37,000 deaths.

Meanwhile, President Trump decided to open up America again but left the decision to begin easing shutdowns in the hands of state governors. ]]>
4/19/2020 11:41:37 AM
<![CDATA[Sisi congratulates Iraqi president for assigning new PM to form gov’t]]>
In a phone call, Sisi and Salih discussed the precautionary measures taken in both countries to face the spread of the novel coronavirus, the presidential spokesman said, and reviewed the possibility of exchanging data and expertise between the healthcare bodies in both countries in this field.

The Egyptian president affirmed Egypt’s support to the stability and security of Iraq and highlighted the Arab role the Middle Eastern country plays. Sisi also confirmed willingness to boost cooperation with Iraq in a way that serves the interests of the peoples of the two countries.

Salih, for his part, lauded Egypt’s efforts to support Iraq at all levels.

The Iraqi president hailed the historic and strong ties between both countries and affirmed his country’s willingness to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

He also hailed Egypt’s vital role to foster the mechanisms of joint Arab action to face the existing crises in the region.

Sisi and Salih, during the phone call, discussed a number of regional and Arab issues of mutual concern and also reviewed the two countries’ joint efforts to foster trilateral cooperation frameworks with Jordan.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, and their Iraqi counterpart, Mohamed al-Hakim held a meeting in October last year on the sidelines of the 18th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The foreign ministers discussed during the meeting ways to apply the outcome of the summit between President Sisi, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and President Salih of Iraq, last September, on the sidelines of the current United Nations General Assembly meetings in New York.

Among the issues discussed during the tripartite meeting were the Palestinian and Syrian issues, as well as the fight against terrorism and the updates of the situation in Yemen and Libya.]]>
4/19/2020 11:07:45 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s House initially approves new amendments to Emergency Law granting President more powers]]>
The new amendments give the president the power to take the necessary measures concerning the health emergency that Egypt declared since mid-March to fight the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

As per the amendments, the president has the right to suspend the study at schools and universities and the work in governmental and private institutions, and to postpone the payment for the electricity, water and gas services.

The new articles grant the president the right to ban public and private meetings, demonstrations, processions, celebrations and other forms of gatherings. The president also shall have the authority to impose quarantine on returnees from abroad, to ban exporting some goods and products, and to place restrictions on trading, transporting, selling or possessing some commodities and products.

He was also given the power to price some services, goods, or products, and to provide the mechanism of fundraising in the emergency and to set the rules of funding and allocating the cash and in-kind donations. In addition to this, he has the authority to postpone the payment of certain taxes for three months.

The newly-added articles grant the president to authority to direct some governmental or private hospitals to work with all capacities in a health emergency. These hospitals shall come under administrative supervision determined by the president.

The president has the right to control scientific and laboratory works and research with regard to dealing with biological materials and tightening procedures for their acquisition. He also has been authorized to control the ways of disposing of biological waste.

Furthermore, he has the authority to provide financial or in-kind support for the affected economic sectors and to transfer some schools, youth centers and other places owned by the state, public business sector companies, or the public sector to temporary field hospitals.

On April 14, 2020, the parliament approved the extension of the three-month emergency law for the 11th time starting from January 27, 2020.

Since mid-March, Egypt has taken certain strict measures to protect the public from the spread of coronavirus pandemic. The government has taken gradual steps in dealing with the coronavirus spread, starting with suspending schools and universities, and international flights.

Furthermore, a night-time curfew was imposed on March 24, 2020, while all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, casinos, night clubs, bars, shopping centers (malls), and other local shops shut down completely until April 23.

Additionally, the Ministry of Awqaf [Endowment] extended the closure of the mosques and the places of worship nationwide until further notice.

The Ministry of Health announced Saturday recording 188 new coronavirus cases and 19 deaths.

According to Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed, the new cases raises Egypt’s total number of COVID-19 cases to 3032 and deaths to 224.

He added that the number of coronavirus cases whose tests turned from positive to negative increased to 980, including 701 people who recovered from the virus.

The death rate for the COVID-19 in Egypt decreased from 7.5% to 7.3%, data published by the Health Ministry revealed.]]>
4/18/2020 11:37:44 PM
<![CDATA[Al-Wefaq opposes EU operation to enforce UN arms embargo in Libya]]>
IRINI, (Greek for "peace"), will have as its core task the implementation of the UN arms embargo through the use of aerial, satellite and maritime assets, according to the EU.

In particular, the mission will be able to carry out inspections of vessels on the high seas off the coast of Libya suspected to be carrying arms or related material to and from Libya in accordance with United Nations Security Council Resolution, 2292 (2016), the EU statement added.

The mandate of Operation IRINI will initially last until 31 March 2021 and will be under the close scrutiny of EU Member States, that will exercise political control and strategic direction through the Political and Security Committee (PSC), under the responsibility of the Council and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.



Director of the Department of Moral Guidance in the Libyan National Army (LNA), Colonel Khaled Al Mahjoub, has welcomed the EU operation, saying this embargo will positively affect the national security of not only Libya but a number of neighboring states.

He confirmed that the LNA is willing to announce a humanitarian truce due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, so long as the other parties abide by it.

On the other hand, Al-Wefaq government, has strongly opposed the EU operation as it will hinder arms smuggle, especially from Turkey, to its militias and terrorist elements.

Turkey sent military tanks and weapons into Libya via the Mediterranean just days after agreeing to a UN arms embargo to the country, according to a BBC investigative report showing satellite images, pictures, and videos proving the Turkish violations.

Satellite images published in the BBC showed three Turkish ships being escorted by two G-Class frigates.

Sarraj relies on a plethora of militias, including Islamist and terrorist groups, formed in and after the 2011 uprising against former president Muammar Qaddafi.
]]>
4/18/2020 5:12:58 PM
<![CDATA[Arab League denounces ongoing combat escalation in Libya]]>
In January, following the LNA's capture of Sirte and tighter encircling of Tripoli and Misrata, both parties had pledged to commit to a truce that became a must after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic globally.

The Arab League's general secretary urged fighting parties to ensure the safety of civilians, and abstain from targeting populated areas, economic facilities, and health establishments, cutting water and electricity supplies to residents, and engaging in vengeful acts in areas captured by either party from the other.

On Wednesday, Spokesperson of the LNA Ahmed al-Mesmary held a press conference to reveal updates on operations taking place between the west of Misrata and borders with Tunisia against GNA militias, and Turkey-backed Syrian mercenaries.

Mesmary stated that the LNA is advancing in Ain Zara town, the southern and southwestern parts of Abou Slim district, Aziziyah town, and Salah El Din district south of Tripoli causing human losses among mercenaries and the fall of captives.

A number of vehicles and equipment were destroyed in Assa district by the LNA as militias have been mobilizing to enter Al Watiyah district whose airbase can be the alternative to Mitiga Airbase near to which LNA forces are deployed.

The militias need an airbase for Turkey to fly drones that attack LNA concentrations in light of the two MoUs signed by the GNA and Turkey in December on cooperation in the sectors of defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.

Since December 2019, Turkey brought into Libya over 6,000 Syrian mercenaries. The GNA is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations.

LNA controls key entrance to Misrata, detects daily mercenaries transportation by Turkey

CAIRO - 12 April 2020: Spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed al-Mesmary declared on Sunday that the Libyan Armed Forces controlled the western entrance of Abou Grein village lying southern Misrata city. Mesmary announced that, after fleeing, the "enemy" left behind munitions in Abou Grein.



]]>
4/18/2020 4:28:31 PM
<![CDATA[Former MP, 12 members of Hope Cell put on Egypt's terror lists for 5 years]]>
The Criminal Court's decision is in fulfillment of Egypt's commitment to the United Nations Charter, relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and Article 237 of the Egyptian constitution on combating terrorism and tracking its funding sources while preserving rights and liberties.

The decision provided that fugitive leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, including Mahmoud Fathy Badr, Ahmed Mohamed Abdel Hadry, Ali al-Sayed Ahmed Batikh, held meetings where they set a plan to secure financial support to their hostile plot against members of the Egyptian Armed Forces, and Egyptian Police with the aim of subverting the Egyptian state.

The defendants are also charged of assigning elements that belong to the brotherhood, and other rioting elements of using the profits of businesses affiliated to the brotherhood, remittances of fugitive leaders, and donations of resident members to provide logistical support, embodied in arms and explosives, to elements that will execute the hostile scheme against Egypt's state.

The elements receiving orders in Egypt from fugitive leaders include defendants who are prosecuted in custody in certain lawsuits such as Mohamed Abdel Rahman Morsy, Ramy Nabil Shaat, Mohamed Abou Horira, Khaled Ahmed Abou Shady, Zeyad Abdel Hamid al-Elaimy.

The State Security Prosecution's arraignment in case no. 930/2019 charges the defendants of assisting an outlawed group to undermine the constitution, laws, state institutions, and public authorities, and propagate false news, information, and statements about political and economic circumstances in the country in order to jeopardize public peace, and shake trust in state institutions.

]]>
4/18/2020 2:44:25 PM
<![CDATA[FMs of 12 countries vow joint virus response for global economy, health]]>
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha joined her counterparts from 11 countries, which also included Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Morocco, Peru, Singapore, Turkey and Britain, on Friday as "the Ministerial Coordination Group on COVID-19," according to the ministry.

"Global cooperation is necessary to mitigate the unprecedented disruption to the global economy, trade and travel. We must endeavor to deliver a strong and coordinated global health response including developing a vaccine and relevant treatments and to identify best practices," the group's declaration adopted following the conference read.

They also vowed to ensure that emergency anti-virus measures are temporary so as not to create "unnecessary" trade barriers or disruption to global supply chains, and to permit essential travel, including for business.

The declaration also called for the identification of "best practices and lessons learned to assist all countries in recovering from this crisis."

During the meeting, Kang introduced South Korea's efforts to stem the coronavirus and noted that the country has been closely reviewing a possible shift of its quarantine regime to focus more on supporting the everyday lives of people, according to the ministry.]]>
4/18/2020 1:38:22 PM
<![CDATA[Report: Over 300,000 could die from coronavirus in Africa]]>
It says in the worst-case scenario, where there is no intervention against the outbreak, as many as 3.3 million people could die, with 1.2 billion — the vast majority of Africa's population — contracting the disease, The Hill reported.

Even with “intense social distancing," according to the report, Africa could still see 122 million cases of the virus that has killed over 146,000 people worldwide.

UNECA estimates that anywhere from $44 billion to $446 billion will be needed for testing in the continent that is home to many underfunded health systems.

The UN report also states, “Of all the continents Africa has the highest prevalence of certain underlying conditions, like tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS.”

People with underlying conditions are particularly susceptible to fatal complications from the virus, along with the other at-risk demographic: the elderly.

The report also warns that widespread economic failure could occur in Africa, with the worst-case scenario reportedly contracting the continent's growth by 2.6 percent, while pushing an estimated 27 million people extreme poverty. ]]>
4/18/2020 12:52:58 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt urges maintaining Africa's food security amid COVID-19 outbreak]]>
This came during a high-level meeting co-organized by Egypt's mission to the United Nations in New York - via the video conference - along with the missions of Canada, Italy and Brazil to discuss means of boosting food security in Africa amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

President of the UN general assembly, UN deputy secretary general, senior officials from Canada, Italy and Brazil alongside representatives of the UN World Food Program (WFP), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the UN International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD) were present at the meeting.

The meeting falls within the framework of Egyptian diplomacy's international efforts to overcome the coronavirus crisis.

It aims to highlight the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus crisis and their consequences on attaining food security across the world, especially in Africa, said Egypt's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Mohamed Idris.

Swift and effective measures should be taken to mitigate the suffering of the African continent amid challenges posed by the suspension of trade movement and transport as well as the supply of the global food franchises, the ambassador said.

He called for an international action to support the agricultural sector in Africa and secure food for its impoverished segments.

The participants of the meeting, who included representatives of several African missions and members of other UN missions, agreed on pushing forward international efforts in this regard. ]]>
4/18/2020 11:55:30 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s President, India’s PM discuss joint coronavirus efforts]]>
The two leaders exchanged visions on ways to enhance bilateral cooperation between Egypt and India in the fields of health, scientific research and technology, Presidential spokesman Bassam Radi said.

Sisi and Modi agreed on the need for coordination between the two countries in the fields related to fighting the novel COVID-19, through exchanging successful expertise and communication between the authorities involved in fighting coronavirus.

The Egyptian president affirmed the country’s keenness to boost bilateral cooperation with India in all fields, especially at the economic level and trade exchange.

Modi congratulated Sisi on the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which falls this year on Friday April 24th.

The Indian prime minister expressed appreciation for the extended and strong ties between India and Egypt and hailed the care provided to the Indian community in the northeastern African country.

He also praised Egypt’s efforts to achieve security, stability and development during the past years at the local level.

The Indian health ministry on Friday said the total number of COVID-19 cases reached 13,835 while the death toll mounted to 452, India’s Business Standard reported.

In Egypt, according to the latest official figures on Thursday, the total number of cases reached 2,673 and deaths reached 196.

Globally, the novel virus has been contracted by more than 2.2 million people and has caused the death of almost 149,000 people, according to Worldometers. ]]>
4/17/2020 5:22:55 PM
<![CDATA[Referring to Sinai as self-administrated region unacceptable: ECSS deputy head]]>
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi has firmly asserted Egypt's stance not to abandon any part of Sinai and stressed that Sinai is an integral part of Egypt's national security, Dewery said in his report that was published by the ECSS under the title "Egypt between Terror Challenges and Sinai Status".

Egypt will remain defiant against any plots by terrorists supported by foreign parties, the major general said, adding that the state, under the leadership of president Sisi, will encounter all threats to destabilize the country and undermine its achievements.

The deputy director pointed out in his report to the foiled attempts by terrorist groups to re-emerge again, believing that state's prioritization of the novel coronavirus will shift its attention from confronting terrorism.

He also shed light on Western views published by some printed media outlets that call for giving Sinai a special status, like naming a semi-independent ruler for the peninsula with a six-year long term.]]>
4/17/2020 3:13:01 PM
<![CDATA[Gunmen kill 6 workers of US-run Bagram airfield in Afghanistan]]>
Waheeda Shahkar, a spokesperson for the provincial government, said a group of armed men, believed to be affiliated with the Taliban group, opened fire on a group of civilian workers of the US-run Bagram airfield.

Shahkar further added that the workers were on their way to their home and were riding a rickshaw when they were ambushed at around 9:40 pm local time.

According to Shahkar, the attack also left at least three workers of the airfield wounded.]]>
4/17/2020 1:16:59 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s gov. approves new laws amid COVID-19 crisis including draft law to establish tourism, antiquities fund]]>
The meeting that was held through video conference addressed number of economic, social and political issues in addition to the containment measures against the coronavirus pandemic and preparations for the holy month of Ramadan, Easter and Sham el-Nessiem holidays.

The Cabinet agreed to a bill on additional appropriations in the 2019/2020 budget as part of the 100-billion-pound stimulus package announced by President Abdel Fatah el Sisi to ease the repercussions of a coronavirus outbreak.

The LE10 billion extra allocation will be opened within the 6th Chapter of Purchase of Nonfinancial Assets (Investments). These decisions were announced to come as part of State efforts to push forward production in all economic sectors and increase government investments in a way that will raise employment rate.

The government also decided to extend the deadline for filing tax returns for no longer than three months [that could be renewed for another 3-month-period] in sectors of tourism, antiquities, and media.

Following the meeting, Egypt’s Prime Minster Mustafa Madbouli held a press conference to announced the government decisions for the spring holidays which include the eastern Easter that falls next Sunday, followed by the ancient Egyptian spring festival, Sham El-Nessim on Monday.

Madbouli announced the complete closure of public gardens and beaches next Monday, along with suspending public transportation, including Cairo Metro and National Railways.

“We understand the Egyptians desire to celebrate the holiday; however, these decisions come for the favor of Egyptians amid fears of Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.” Madbouli said.

He added that the government aims to reduce social gatherings as possible which will eliminate the spread of Covid 19.

Madbouli explained that “the government has been discussing these Easter decisions during the past three days, in order to maintain the currant situation and not to witness any deterioration during the coming days.”

“However, we were worried after seeing that Egyptians were gathering in the streets during the past days” Madbouli added, explaining the need of announcing Easter’s complete closure decisions.

He said, “Therefore, we preferred to take more firm measures, including expanding the complete closure on cafes and shopping malls until Monday. Additionally, we will close all gardens, beaches and any places that might witness social gatherings. We also decided to suspend all public transportation.”

Madbouli wished all Egyptians happy holidays, and urged them to avoid gatherings in order to stay safe.


]]>
4/16/2020 8:49:05 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi congratulates Egyptian Christians abroad on Easter Sunday]]>
"Brothers and sisters, Egypt’s Christian sons abroad. It’s my pleasure to send you the sincerest heartfelt congratulations on the occasion of the celebration of the Resurrection Sunday,” Sisi said in a cable published by the Egyptian embassies and consulates.

The president also wished the Christian communities health and happiness and prayed to God to protect Egyptian people and other nations worldwide from any harm.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli on Wednesday ordered “full closure” of public gardens, beaches and any other place that can have large gatherings, few days before the Sunday celebration that is followed by the Egyptian holiday of Sham El-Nessim, in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Public gardens, clubs, cafes and most of the malls in the northeastern African country have been already closed since March, while a dusk-to-dawn is also imposed.

Sisi, separately on Thursday, warned that the state will firmly face any breach that harms the nation and people.

Addressing the masses of the “great” Egyptian people on a Facebook post, Sisi hailed their “steadfastness” and solidarity with the state authorities to implement the precautionary measures against the novel COVID-19.

“I renew my trust in the awareness of our great people,” Sisi said. “I affirm that the state will face, with complete firmness, any violations or breaches that harm the interest of the homeland and citizens, in order to overcome this ordeal peacefully and preserve the success we have achieved so far.”

Egypt's 2020 Sham El-Nessim: full ban on public gardens, outdoor gatherings

CAIRO - 15 April 2020: Amid fears of coronavirus spread, the Egyptian government directed the closure of all beaches, gardens, tourist villages and all the public facilities where people usually celebrate on Sham El-Nessim (spring holiday).




The Egyptian Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 155 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, raising the total number of cases in the northeastern African country to 2,505 cases.

The ministry in a statement also reported 5 new deaths, the country’s lowest count in April so far. The death toll since the novel virus emerged in Egypt now stands at 183.

On the other hand, the ministry said the results of a total of 751 cases have turned to negative, including 553 who totally recovered since the crisis started.]]>
4/16/2020 5:36:21 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi: Egyptian state to firmly face violations harming nation, citizens]]>
Addressing the masses of the “great” Egyptian people on a Facebook post, Sisi hailed their “steadfastness” and solidarity with the state authorities to implement the precautionary measures against the novel COVID-19.

“I renew my trust in the awareness of our great people,” Sisi said. “I affirm that the state will face, with complete firmness, any violations or breaches that harm the interest of the homeland and citizens, in order to overcome this ordeal peacefully and preserve the success we have achieved so far.”

Egyptian Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouli on Wednesday ordered “full closure” of public gardens, beaches and any other place that can have large gatherings, few days before the Coptic Easter and the Egyptian holiday of Sham El-Nessim, in a bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Public gardens, clubs, cafes and most of the malls in the northeastern African country have been already closed since March, while a dusk-to-dawn is also imposed.

Coronavirus: Egypt's efforts to contain crisis, face economic impact

CAIRO - 15 April 2020: The Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation has published a full report of the national efforts and plans to face the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and curb its spread, as Egypt has reported a total of 2,350 cases.



The Egyptian Health Ministry on Wednesday reported 155 new coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, raising the total number of cases in the northeastern African country to 2,505 cases.

The ministry in a statement also reported 5 new deaths, the country’s lowest count in April so far. The death toll since the novel virus emerged in Egypt now stands at 183.

On the other hand, the ministry said the results of a total of 751 cases have turned to negative, including 553 who totally recovered since the crisis started.]]>
4/16/2020 4:45:39 PM
<![CDATA[Only COVID-19 vaccine can allow return to 'normalcy': UN chief]]>
"A safe and effective vaccine may be the only tool that can return the world to a sense of 'normalcy', saving millions of lives and countless trillions of dollars," he added during a video conference with the 50 or so African countries that are members of the United Nations.

He called for its accelerated development and accessibility to all, adding it must have a "universal global benefit" and "allow us to control the pandemic".

Guterres has said that it is absolutely essential to have normality in the attribution of visas so that the UN can function normally.

"It is absolutely essential to have normality in the attribution of visas," the secretary-general told reporters in UN headquarters in New York at a press conference on UN work priorities for 2020 when answering the question that "the heart of the United Nations is becoming less accessible lately."

Guterres said that in situations that involve matters of national security, it is "understandable in any country of the world" to impose restrictions on visas.

"But what we are witnessing is, of course, something that needs to be normalized," he said.

"We need to have normal conditions for functioning of the United Nations, which means that visas need to be attributed in a regular way," the secretary-general said.

The United States denied a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that would have allowed him to attend a UN Security Council meeting in New York on Jan 9, Xinhua reported.

The United States also failed to issue visas to a Russian delegation in time to attend the UN General Assembly last year.

For his part, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that Canadians won’t be able to return to life as they knew it before the novel coronavirus pandemic until a vaccine is available.

“Normality as it was before will not come back full-on until we get a vaccine for this… That will be a very long way off,” the prime minister said during his daily news conference on Canada’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“We will have to remain vigilant for at least a year,” he added in French.

Guterres has said his appeal on March 25 for US$2 billion (S$2.85 billion) in donations for a comprehensive UN humanitarian response to the pandemic had so far raised about 20 per cent of that amount.

Through the World Health Organisation, the United Nations has been able to equip 47 African countries with Covid-19 tests, he said.

The UN chief also praised the efforts of several African governments to mitigate the consequences of the pandemic.]]>
4/16/2020 4:11:35 PM
<![CDATA[OPINION: Does Ethiopia want to resolve the Grand Renaissance Dam crisis?]]>
Egypt also agreed that the Nile Basin Initiative would fund the preparation of a pre-feasibility study of four major Ethiopian dams on the Blue Nile (Karadobi, Beko-Abo, Mandaya and Border) with a total capacity of 140 billion cubic meters or nearly three times the annual yield of the Blue Nile and to expand the agricultural land by about one million Feddans.?

In 2008, Egypt agreed that the World Bank would fund the feasibility study of Border Dam with an estimated capacity of 14 billion cubic meters.?It is worth noting that after the Egyptian revolution in January 2011, Border Dam was replaced by GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam) after increasing its capacity to 74 billion cubic meters, and Ethiopia undertook unilaterally the design and construction of GERD without notifying the downstream countries or consulting them about its negative impacts and risks.

This Ethiopian behavior towards Egypt in regard to the GERD has been always characterized by seizing opportunities and evading any obligations imposed by the international law, noting that no other country in the world pursued this approach except Turkey by building the Ataturk Dams, during the period of Iraq’s preoccupation with its war with Iran, this dam deprives Syria and Iraq of most of their historical water share.

Similarly, Ethiopia took advantage of the turmoil and the internal struggles in Egypt during the January Revolution in 2011 and laid the foundation stone of the GERD and announcing the beginning of its construction even before performing the necessary studies. In spite of this, Egypt willingly entered negotiations over the dam with Ethiopia and accordingly an International Panel of Experts (IPoE) was formed, a few months later, in order to assess the Ethiopian studies of the dam, and share the results with the three countries. Nevertheless, Ethiopia requested that the experts' report will be consultative and not binding.

By the end of May 2013, the IPoE issued its final report which stated that there are many important observations regarding the constructional designs as well as the hydrological, environmental and socio-economic studies of the dam and therefore had to be re-prepared.? In order to consider the recommendations of the IPoE, two meetings of the Water Ministers of the three countries were held during the months of November and December 2013 where both Ethiopia and Sudan agreed that it would be sufficient to form a committee of national experts from the three countries with the aim to supervise the implementation of the IPoE’s recommendations, while Egypt called for the participation of international experts in the committee to ensure impartiality.

Unfortunately, the two meetings failed to achieve their objectives and Egypt was forced?not only to waive its demand, but also to accept the Ethiopian request ‘not to conduct dam safety studies through the committee’.? The meetings continued to select an international consultant to conduct the required studies without any results on the ground, even after the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles in March 2015.?

In 2016, the three countries agreed to contract two French consultancy firms (according to Ethiopia's desire).? The consultant submitted the inception report, but Ethiopia rejected it and suggested forming a scientific committee that comprises academics from the three countries in order to work instead of the consultant!!? Egypt went along with the Ethiopian request, which intended to exclude the participation of any international experts who might condemn the Ethiopian side for the massive repercussions of the dam on Egypt and Sudan.

The scientific committee did not succeed to reach any agreement between the three countries, and Egypt announced the failure of the negotiations and resorted to requesting for international mediation. The United States of America with the World Bank agreed to supervise the negotiations with a view to reach an agreement concerning the dam filling and operation rules. Consequently, serious scientific and technical negotiations took place through several sessions where dam filling and operation rules were agreed upon under the different hydrological conditions of the Blue Nile.

However, disagreements emerged on both the operation rules during the average flood of the Blue Nile and how to settle disputes that may arise during the filling or operation of the dam, as well as the means of coordination and application of the rules agreed upon in this agreement. The United States and the World Bank drafted a compromising agreement regarding these differences in order to be discussed during the last round of negotiations.

Egypt signed the agreement in initials, while Ethiopia was absent from this meeting under false pretenses, then it refused to continue negotiations under the American and World Bank supervision.

The Ethiopian behavior of assuming absolute sovereignty over its resources, including the shared international rivers, is a public policy applied with its neighboring countries Kenya and Somalia, a clear example is the case of the Omo River shared between Ethiopia and Kenya where Ethiopia had constructed a series of dams to generate electricity, cultivate large areas of sugar cane, and build sugar factories without taking into account the interest of Kenya.? The Omo river has historically been flowing into one of the most beautiful African lakes "Lake Turkana" in Kenya, a habitat for rare wild animals and a source of fish wealth, drinking water and agricultural water for the local people. The river dried up which drove its local population to immigrate and abandon the lake due to its deterioration.

Similarly, Ethiopia built a series of dams on the "Ganale Dawa” river, which is the source of the Juba River that flows into Somalia and into the Indian Ocean, causing great problems for the citizens of Somalia, taking advantage of the instability conditions in this sister country.

In recent weeks, Ethiopia revealed its true direction after 9 years of fruitless negotiations by declaring that any upcoming discussions should include allocating an Ethiopian water share from the Blue Nile, through the application of the rules stipulated in the Cooperation Framework Agreement, which is also called the Entebbe Agreement, neglecting the fact that both Egypt and Sudan are not part of this agreement and have concerns on it. Furthermore, Ethiopia has no hydrological relationship (from far or near) with the countries of the Equatorial plateau.?

Last but not least Ethiopian recently announced the reduction of the number of turbines in the GERD to be 13 instead of 16, so that the capacity of the power station is less than 5,000 megawatts, thus reducing the maximum water discharge of the dam by about 20% which will have negative impacts on Egypt and Sudan. It is worth noting that this new power capacity could have been produced through the construction of a smaller dam of no more than two-thirds of the current dam's capacity, which confirms that the real goal is to build the largest possible dam to block water from Egypt until it has to agree to a compulsory water share for Ethiopia.?

So, after all of the previously mentioned encounters, and after the fact that Ethiopia has unilaterally announced that it will start filling the GERD this coming July, what guarantees does Egypt have that prove the seriousness of any further negotiations with Ethiopia?





Dr. Mohamed Nasr El-Din Allam


He is a former Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation in Egypt and a professor of water resources at the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University.





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4/16/2020 4:03:19 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's public prosecutor ordered detention of 26 individuals over intimidation of officials Qaliubiya]]>
The defendants used violence, threats, and intimidation against the officials and workers while implementing the decisions to remove building violations on state-owned land inKhanka city.

The defendants were accused of disturbing public order, endangering the interests and security of the society, and endangering public funds and property. This is in addition to obstructing the work of the authorities and local units, obstructing the application of the provisions of the law,and damaging the national economy.

In April 5, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli has said that the government will take firm actions against building violations, adding that the lawbreakers will be referred to the military prosecution under the emergency law.

Madbouli called on the bodies concerned to intensify security campaigns and immediately remove all building violations, adding that no leniency will be shown towards violators at this critical period.

Since January 2015, the ministry has launched a campaign to remove violations detected by the government on the Nile banks.

According to the ministry’s latest data, which was announced in July, a total of 26,322 cases of encroachment on the Nile banks have been removed and since March 2017, a total of 12,425 cases of encroachment were removed.

Egypt’s agricultural lands covered 10 million feddans (one feddan equals about 1.038 acres) in 2015, compared to 9.6 million feddans in 2010, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) noted in a report issued on September 19, 2016.

Since the January 25 revolution in 2011, a total 80,000 feddans were encroached but most cases were upheld, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Spokesperson Hamid Abdel-Dayem previously told Egypt Today.
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4/16/2020 11:12:10 AM
<![CDATA[Mansour: Israel manipulating international focus on COVID-19 fight]]>
He made the remarks in a message which he sent this month to the United Nations secretary general and the UN Security Council chief this month, the Palestinian news agency Wafa said on Thursday.

In the message, Mansour said Israel demolished about 47 Palestinian houses and detained 267 Palestinians.

He added that 238 raids were launched and three Palestinians were killed and 52 injured.

He added that about two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are suffering severely in view of the outbreak of the COVID-19 under the 13-year Israeli siege.

He called on the international community to prod Israel into halting its violations against the Palestinians. ]]>
4/16/2020 11:05:43 AM
<![CDATA[Trump to halt WHO funding amid review]]>
Trump said at a White House briefing that the United States would suspend funding to the organization while officials conduct a review “to assess the World Health Organization’s role in severely mismanaging and covering up the spread of the coronavirus.”

The president criticized the WHO for opposing large-scale travel restrictions and accused it of failing to quickly vet and share accurate information on COVID-19.

“The WHO’s attack on travel restrictions put political correctness above life-saving measures,” Trump said in the Rose Garden. “The reality is that the WHO failed to adequately obtain, vet and share information in a timely and transparent fashion.”

Tuesday’s announcement immediately triggered backlash from the health community. The American Medical Association (AMA) swiftly issued a statement calling the move a “dangerous step in the wrong direction” and urging Trump to reconsider.

“Fighting a global pandemic requires international cooperation and reliance on science and data. Cutting funding to the WHO – rather than focusing on solutions – is a dangerous move at a precarious moment for the world,” the AMA said.

Trump said the review would last between 60 and 90 days and insisted his administration would spend the money to otherwise help combat the virus, though he didn’t go into specifics.

“We will be able to take that money and channel it to the areas most needed,” Trump said. “We have not been treated properly.”

Trump accused the WHO of treating the US unfairly, repeatedly pointing to the disparity in funding the organization receives from the US versus China. The US is the largest contributor to the global organization.]]>
4/15/2020 12:04:05 PM
<![CDATA[Marriage rates lowered in Egypt, ma’zouns’ lives affected due to COVID-19]]>
“The number of marriage contracts witnessed a noticeable decrease due to the coronavirus, as many women refuse to marry without holding a marriage ceremony,” said Head of the Official Marriage Registration Authority Ibrahim Selim.

He further explained that this decline has negatively affected life and families of the officials authorized to perform marriage ceremonies (known in Arabic as ma’zoun), who do not a fixed wage or monthly salary due to the low turnout.

People working as ma’zouns cannot do another job at the same time like assuming a governmental position, work as lawyers, or teachers, as per the law regulating their work. “That’s why most ma’zouns suffer from difficult economic conditions,” according to Selim.

He also said that there is no syndicate for ma’zouns to act as a legal umbrella for them, and provide them with financial aids during the crisis, adding that a draft law for the syndicate is still being discussed at the Parliament.
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4/14/2020 6:50:11 PM
<![CDATA[North Korea fires suspected short-range cruise missiles into the East Sea - S. Korean military]]>
The surface-to-ship cruise missiles were fired northeastward from areas near its eastern coastal town of Munchon at around 7 a.m. during a time period of more than 40 minutes, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, adding they flew around 150 kilometers before splashing into waters off the east coast.

Along with the missile launches, the North also flew multiple Sukhoi-variant fighter jets above the eastern coastal city of Wonsan, and fired multiple anti-ground missiles into the East Sea, the JCS added.

It was not immediately known if leader Kim Jong-un guided the latest firings.

"The military is closely monitoring the situation for possible additional launches, while maintaining a readiness posture," the JCS said in a release.]]>
4/14/2020 11:28:46 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt, Russia discuss COVID-19 crisis and Ethiopian Renaissance dam]]>
“The call tackled ways of curbing the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic, and measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus, as well as how to deal with the various consequences of the crisis,” said Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in the statement.

The two ministers also discussed the latest developments of the regional topics such as the Palestinian issue and the turmoils in Syria and Libya, Hafez added, noting that both ministers also tackled the latest developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

On January 10, 2020, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi spoke by phone with his Russian counterpart about the recent developments in Libya, and emphasized the need to curb illegal foreign interference in the Libyan affairs
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4/13/2020 11:01:14 PM
<![CDATA[LNA controls key entrance to Misrata, detects daily mercenaries transportation by Turkey ]]>
Mesmary announced that, after fleeing, the "enemy" left behind munitions in Abou Grein. He also warned LNA soldiers of touching the munitions or captives until sterilization takes place.

The Libyan War Division announced on its Facebook Page Sunday that the Air Force was striking militias concentrations in Sheil Om Khrab village and other sites where arms and ammunition are stored southern Abou Grein.

On Saturday, the division posted a video of "The Storm Battalion" affiliated to the General Command getting ready in Benghazi to join forces on different axes. On Sunday, it announced the battalion's departure to participate in battles across the country.

Later on Sunday, Mesmary held a press conference saying that the Turkish occupation still targets vehicles delivering staples to around two million civilians in Tripoli suburbs criticizing that the United Nations has not denounced such acts.

"Although the entire world is restricting aviation as a protective measure against COVID-19, Turkey still transports terrorists into Libya," Mesmary said revealing that the LNA detected the arrival of 1,500 Syrian terrorists on a ship at Tripoli Port. Those were not tested for COVID-19, he added.

"On April 9, an Airbus 320 Libyan Airlines plane took off from Mitiga International Airport at 10:30 p.m. having around 150-160 passengers on board and landed in Istanbul. On April 10, buses carrying terrorists entered Turkey from Syria, and then headed to Gaziantep where they were flown by a Turkish A40180 military jet to Istanbul, where the terrorists boarded the Libyan Airways Airbus plane that returned to Mitiga International Airport," Mesmary stated.

"Planes carry militants, arms and equipment daily into Libya in the watch of the world," Mesmary complained criticizing the Government of National Accord (GNA) that is allied with Turkey.

"Instead of flying back stranded Libyans, militants are being brought in," Mesmary said. The GNA is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations and protected by militias. The Tripoli-based government signed in December 2019 two MoUs on defense and gas drilling eastern the Mediterranean.

"We interrogated a Syrian captive and he does know anything about military science. He is a poor illiterate civilian man who came [to Libya] for money," Mesmary said.

"The Syrian militants brought to Libya are the camps dwellers who have been displaced. Turkey is currently trying to move them to Yemen to fight on behalf of Al Islah Party affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood. The salary offered is $5,000. Turkey is trying to infiltrate into the Red Sea to threaten international sailing at international waterways in the zone, and is attempting to have presence near the European area of the Mediterranean," Mesmary said.

The LNA spokesperson pointed out that Turkey has been able to hire Kurdish individuals to fight in the ranks of its proxy armed groups. He revealed the identity of a Kurd called Shaker Farman Saleh Bonjeq Herfaky who was born in 1985 eastern Syria. The militant was trained by Turkey and is currently fighting in the ranks of the GNA militias in Libya.

The LNA has been attempting to enter Tripoli since April 2019 and succeeded to encircle the capital and Misrata this year as well as recovering Sirte from the militias. Turkey has sent more than 6,000 Syrian mercenaries to Libya, as well as Turkish officers and military experts. It has been flying drones from Mitiga International Airport to attack the LNA forces as well but many of them were downed.

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4/13/2020 5:55:18 PM
<![CDATA[Official warns against Facebook page impersonating Egypt’s PM]]>
Hany Younes, the prime minister’s media advisor, said the legal measures would be taken against the one who manages the fake page.

Article 24 of Law No. 175 of 2018 on combating information technology crimes stipulates that anyone who creates an email, website or special account and falsely attributes it to another person shall be punished by imprisonment for a period not less than 3 months and a fine of not less than LE 10,000 and not exceeding LE 30,000.

In case the offender uses the postal, site or artificial special account in an abusive order, the penalty shall be imprisonment for a period not less than ayear and a fine of not less than LE 50,000 and not more than LE 200,000.

In the same context, article no. 303 of Egypt’s Penal Code stipulates that the penalty of insulting or harassing using telecommunications equipment, whether via telephone, email or other means of communication on social media,leads to a fine of not less than LE 500 and not more than LE 20,000, lawyer Abdul Rahman Anani said.

Concerning the novel disease, those who intentionally spread rumors about coronavirus can face a five-year imprisonment sentence, the public prosecution said late in March.]]>
4/13/2020 1:53:51 PM
<![CDATA[AL chief sends letters to world leaders on dangerous situation in Palestine]]>
The letters were sent to the UN Secretary-General, the foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, France, Britain, China, and Germany, in addition to the High Representative of the European Union for foreign policy and security.

Abul Gheit warned against the dangerous policies adopted by Israeli leaders, especially the Likud Party, to take advantage of the current global situation related to the outbreak of coronavirus to expand settlements in the Palestinian territories.

He also appealed to international leaders and officials to use utmost efforts to hold Israel accountable for its policies to prevent the health, social and economic repercussions in the Palestinian lands and refugee camps because of the coronavirus epidemic spread, the statement added.

On April 6, Abul Gheit also sent a letter to Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross Robert Mardini on danger facing Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails because of the spread of the novel coronavirus in Israel.

The AL's General Secretariat said that the conditions of nearly 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons are "serious" in light of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel.

A large number of the Palestinian prisoners, including elderly, sick and those with low immunity, are the most vulnerable people to the COVID-19, he underlined.

In his letter, Abul Gheit expressed regret that Israel had taken a decision to release some criminal prisoners from its citizens, while excluding Palestinian prisoners. This violates international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory, Abul Gheit made it clear.

As per the convention, an occupying power is prohibited from imposing "collective punishment" on an occupied population and is responsible for their health care.

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4/13/2020 12:39:18 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s Al-Azhar Grand Imam: Refusal of burying COVID-19 victims far cry from morality, humanity, religion]]>
“It is dangerous that humanity could lose and selfishness prevails,” he added in a post on his official Facebook page, calling for honoring the dead by burying them in a timely manner.



A controversy broke out in Egypt after locals of Shubra al-Bahw village, in Dakahlia protested the burial of a female doctor who died of coronavirus, as they feared being infected with the virus if she was buried at the village cemeteries.

However, the security forces dispersed their protest by tear gas bombs to bury the 64-year-old doctor, arresting 22 of the protesters.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, General Attorney Hamada al-Sawy ordered to launch an investigation into the incident.

Religiously, Grand Mufti of Egypt Shawqi Allam issued a fatwa (Islamic decision) prohibiting this act. “It is impermissible for anyone to deprive any human of the divine right of burial,” the fatwa says, adding that bullying of the COVID-19 patients is religiously forbidden.

"The fatwa also prohibited the gatherings that could be staged by the relatives of the deceased people," Allam said.

“The demagogic objection to the burial of coronavirus martyrs is religiously rejected,” Allam said, adding that those who died from the coronavirus are considered martyrs. He called for accelerating the burial of the victims because it is their right. ]]>
4/12/2020 1:50:40 PM
<![CDATA[After allowing foreigners to use his Twitter account to insult Egypt, Kuwait detains writer 15 days]]>
Kuwait
Statement of Kuwaiti Public Prosecution on writer Mubarak al-Bugeily


After interrogating him on Saturday, the Public Prosecution of Kuwait ordered the detention of Bugaily for 15 days in the lawsuit, which the Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs filed against him for insulting the Arab Republic of Egypt under the name of Kuwait on his Twitter account.

Investigations indicated that he rents the account to two Palestinian nationals for a monthly sum of money. One of the two Palestinians who manage the account lives in Jordan, and the other resides in Qatar.

Kuwaiti Writer Mubarak Al-Bugaily was interrogated by the Kuwaiti prosecution for his “insulting” comments on Egypt, an anonymous Kuwaiti source told Egyptian newspaper Sada al-Balad on Wednesday evening.

Mubarak Al-Bugaily posted a series of tweets against Egypt, denouncing the way the country is dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, and undermining the Egyptians working in Kuwait.

He faces accusations of inciting dispute between Egypt and Kuwait. He posted a tweet, in which he wished that the virus spreads in Egypt to turn into an epicenter of the virus like China, Italy, and Iran.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East, controversies on social media have been sparked after Kuwaiti actress Hayat al-Fahd and parliamentarian Safaa al-Hashim called for kicking the foreign laborers, including Egyptians, out of Kuwait.

Egyptians reacted angrily on Twitter against both women, and created hashtags against them.
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4/12/2020 11:55:34 AM
<![CDATA[Twitter account of Kuwaiti writer who insulted Egypt managed by others: Prosecution]]>
Kuwait
Statement of Kuwaiti Public Prosecution


Investigations indicated that he rents the account to two Palestinian nationals for a monthly sum of money. One of the two Palestinians who manage the account lives in Jordan, and the other resides in Qatar.

Kuwaiti Writer Mubarak Al-Bugaily was interrogated by the Kuwaiti prosecution for his “insulting” comments on Egypt, an anonymous Kuwaiti source told Egyptian newspaper Sada al-Balad on Wednesday evening.

Mubarak Al-Bugaily posted a series of tweets against Egypt, denouncing the way the country is dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, and undermining the Egyptians working in Kuwait.

He faces accusations of inciting dispute between Egypt and Kuwait. He posted a tweet, in which he wished that the virus spreads in Egypt to turn into an epicenter of the virus like China, Italy, and Iran.

With the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the Middle East, controversies on social media have been sparked after Kuwaiti actress Hayat al-Fahd and parliamentarian Safaa al-Hashim called for kicking the foreign laborers, including Egyptians, out of Kuwait.

Egyptians reacted angrily on Twitter against both women, and created hashtags against them.

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4/12/2020 10:25:29 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt sends Libya 44 detergent containers, to provide staples, medical aid soon]]>

2

Other shipments carrying food and medical equipment among others will arrive soon in the neighboring country with which urban borders have been shut as a protective measure against COVID-19 pandemic.

The Libyan side had communicated with the Egyptian counterpart to introduce a shipping line between both countries for Egypt to send staples and medical aid to Libya amid coronavirus outbreak. Until Friday, Libya recorded 24 infections.

Upon the directives of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, the Egyptian Armed Forces sent to Italy on April 4 two military jets carrying medical equipment, protective suits, detergents and sanitizers.

Minister of Health and Population Hala Zayed arrived in Italy on Saturday accompanied by an Egyptian military delegation to deliver the medical aid transported by two C-295M jets.

The minister was received by Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Luigi Di Maio, who expressed his appreciation for Egypt’s assistance and solidarity with his state and people.

The statement on the packages read in Arabic and Italian, "From the Egyptian people to the Italian people."

The visit follows a phone call between President Sisi and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on April 3 as the former extended condolences over COVID-19 victims, and expressed support to Italy in the face of the pandemic.

In February, Minister Zayed visited China bringing 10 tons of protective medical equipment.
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4/11/2020 3:52:28 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's journey of bringing home thousands of stranded citizens in time of coronavirus pandemic]]>
Minister of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram told TV host Amr Adib on Friday that stranded Egyptians are classified into categories that are citizens who have been on business trips and tourism trips, were visiting relatives, and students who had to leave the dorms and have nowhere to stay.

"At this stage, priority is given to those and not expats who want to return after their contracts were ended or their businesses were shut down," the minister stated.

The minister clarified that Egyptians brought back from Saudi Arabia over five batches included citizens who were doing Umrah, and that Egyptians who returned from Kuwait over five batches also carry visitor visas.

It is worthy to mention that the number of Egyptian expats recorded in 2019 14 million with 65 percent residing in the Arab Gulf.

The minister revealed that stranded Egyptians who have been repatriated paid for their tickets, and that those waiting to return are willing to also pay for their 14-day quarantine.

The minister declared that Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria agreed with the Coptic Church in Kenya to host Egyptians stranded in Africa, and that the state works on repatriating more than 100 Egyptians stuck in the Maldives.

Makram added that the committee formed to coordinate the return of stranded Egyptians includes the ministers and officials of the ministries of health, immigration, civil aviation, and foreign affairs, and is presided by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly who will announce soon what the state will do about citizens who are still stuck abroad.

On April 9, an EgyptAir flight carrying 66 Egyptians arrived in Cairo from Nigeria.

On April 5, the second EgyptAir flight carrying from Washington around 250 stranded Egyptians, including 49 students aged between 15 and 17, landed in Marsa Alam.

On April 3, an exceptional flight took off from Washington to Egypt with 293 passengers and 13 babies on board, to evacuate Egyptians stranded in the United States over coronavirus.

On April 2, EgyptAir operated the second exceptional flight to Heathrow Airport to bring back the Egyptian nationals stranded in London.

On April 1, an exceptional flight carrying 87 Egyptian nationals from Paris arrived in Cairo. Also, an exceptional flight departed to New York to bring back stranded Egyptians.

On March 31, EgyptAir operated an exceptional flight to bring back the Egyptians who asked to leave London. The company also concluded its exceptional flights to evacuate 1,500 Egyptians stranded in Kuwait.

On March 26, EgyptAir operated a flight from Cairo to Brussels, through Hurghada, to send back Belgian and European nationals who had been stuck in Egypt, and also to return around 150 Egyptians stuck in a number of European states.

Between March 19 and March 26, EgyptAir operated 33 flights to bring back hundreds of stranded Egyptians from different countries.

State-owned Air Cairo flew two exceptional flights from Sharm El Sheikh International Airport to London in order to send back home tourist groups that were still in Egypt, and bring back around 300 Egyptians, who were stuck in the British capital.

Makram clarified that the ministry is currently identifying the number of Egyptians stuck in Southeast Asia to bring them back home, revealing that the number of queries and help requests communicated by stranded Egyptians worldwide is 12,120.

Those have been mainly in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, United States, Italy, Sudan, Qatar, France, Turkey, Bali, Chad, South Africa, Mauritania, and others.

After flying back stranded Egyptians in London, minister coordinates return of 37 from Tunisia

CAIRO - 29 March 2020: Minister of Civil Aviation Mohamed Manar Enaba communicated with Tunisair to return 37 stranded Egyptians, who had sought the Ministry of Immigration and Expatriate Affairs for help. A number of those were on business trips while others are working for UNICEF and UN organizations working in Libya so they had to head to Tunisia to get back.



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4/11/2020 2:34:13 PM
<![CDATA[Journalists Syndicate donates EGP 100,000 to Tahya Misr Fund]]>
The council opened a bank account with a 100,000-pound balance dedicated to Tahya Misr Fund efforts that intends to support the irregular workers who have been badly effected by the COVID-19 crisis, according to a statement issued by the syndicate on Saturday.

The council pleaded with all members of the syndicate and fellow journalists to donate and transfer money to the balance.]]>
4/11/2020 12:57:46 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt supports creation of African expert-level workforce to curb COVID-19 spread]]>
Shoukry’s comments came during a ministerial video-conference of the African ministers members of the AU Executive Council Bureau to discuss the repercussions of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on African countries, said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez in the statement.

The ministers tackled the ways of the establishment of a fund to provide the necessary resources to support combating the COVID-19 in the continent and the negative impacts of the pandemic on the African economies, Hafez added.

The Foreign Minister also affirmed Egypt’s appropriate financial support for the establishment of the fund, and for the Cairo-based Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

“The participant ministers agreed on the importance of continuing action along with the G20 countries and with international partners in order to implement and build on what was agreed upon in the G20 meeting to support African countries,” Hafez said.

On March 26, 2020, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi participated in an online mini-summit for the leaders of the AU Executive Council Bureau to discuss the ways of combating the coronavirus, Presidential Spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement.

The African leaders agreed to establish an African fund to provide the necessary financial resources needed to combat the virus in Africa, Radi added.

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4/10/2020 2:37:01 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s NCHR calls for treating Covid-19 victims of medical team as ‘martyrs’]]>
This came during the council's monthly meeting that was held for the first time via the internet, in order to discuss the measures taken by the government to combat the spread of the virus.

The NCHR expressed its appreciation for the measures taken by the government to combat the spread of the virus, suggesting releasing detainees on medical reasons, especially the elderly and those suffering chronic diseases.

The council further proposed boosting the budget of the health sector to expand in carrying out tests to determine the infected cases earlier.

As the number of Coronavirus infection cases rose, Egyptian authorities announced halting visits to all prisons last month. The council also called on finding alternative ways for families to contact their imprisoned relatives, like phone calls, and to provide prisoners with their needs of money, according to the prisons’ regulations.

The Ministry of Interior also assured that preventive medical teams continue to sterilize all prison facilities, as part of the precautionary measures taken by the ministry over the coronavirus (COVID-19).

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4/10/2020 11:27:54 AM
<![CDATA[Threat from Iran to U.S. forces in Iraq remains 'significant' -senior U.S. diplomat]]>
David Schenker, assistant secretary of Near Eastern Affairs, did not give details about the threat, but told reporters in a teleconference: "It continues to be significant."

Iran-backed paramilitary groups have regularly been shelling bases in Iraq that host U.S. forces, and the area around the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

On Monday, three Katyusha rockets landed near a district in southern Iraq that houses workers for foreign oil companies, including U.S. oil service company Halliburton. No casualties or damage were reported.

Last week, Trump said Iran or its proxies planned a sneak attack on U.S. targets in Iraq, and warned they would pay a "very heavy price" but gave no details.

U.S.-Iranian relations have been bitter since the Islamic Revolution toppled the U.S.-backed shah of Iran in 1979 and ushered in an era of theocratic rule.

While there was a detente with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, relations have deteriorated with Trump's decision nearly two years ago to abandon that international agreement and reimpose U.S. sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

Worsening tensions, a Jan. 3 U.S. drone strike in Iraq killed Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's elite Quds Force. It also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who founded Iraq's Shi’ite Kataib Hezbollah militia after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States proposed a 'Strategic Dialogue' with Iraq to be held in June, a bid to restore strained bilateral ties.

Schenker, who in March said Washington was "enormously disappointed" by Iraq's performance in protecting U.S.-led coalition forces, repeated Washington's concerns.

"It is on the Iraqis - if they value that relationship - to take certain steps and that includes providing protection to the coalition forces who are in Iraq, if they want those forces to remain," Schenker said.

On Thursday, Iraq's president named intelligence chief Mustafa al-Kadhimi as prime minister-designate, the third person tapped to lead Iraq in just 10 weeks as it struggles to replace a government that fell last year after months of deadly protests.

Schenker said of Kadhimi: "If Kadhimi is an Iraqi nationalist, dedicated to pursuing a sovereign Iraq, if he is committed to fighting corruption, this would be great for Iraq, and we think it would be great for our bilateral relationship."]]>
4/10/2020 7:51:50 AM
<![CDATA[Egyptian FM calls for backing Palestinian refugees amid coronavirus]]>
During the phone call, Shoukry congratulated Lazzarini on the new post in the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Shoukry affirmed Egypt’s keenness to continue cooperation with the agency in supporting and alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian refugees, especially amid crisis of the coronavirus pandemic and the challenges it poses, which require backing the Palestinian refugees.

The minister also paid tribute to the UNRWA over its humanitarian and relief role in endorsing the stability of the Middle East, the spokesman added.

For his part, Lazzarini hailed the vital role played by Egypt in supporting the UN agency and also praised the country’s continuous efforts concerning Palestine. He expressed willingness to coordinate and consult with Cairo during the next period.

Before the coronavirus crisis, an UNRWA spokesman said the agency’s financial deficit this year is estimated at $120 million as part of the agency’s budget that hit $1.2 billion.

In an interview with the Voice of Palestine Radio, Sami Mushasha said the UNRWA seeks to mobilize political and financial support as well as to renew its mandate for the coming three years in cooperation with the Palestinian and Jordanian diplomacy, along with the Arab League.

He added that the UNRWA is committed to cooperation with the committee tasked with investigating corruption charges, calling for differentiating between corruption charges inside the agency and the renewal of its mandate.

The US State Department in a statement in August 2018 said the country would not make additional contributions to UNRWA, calling it “irredeemably flawed". This came months after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, brushing aside the objection by Arab and many other countries.]]>
4/9/2020 6:16:25 PM
<![CDATA[Pompeo says not time for retribution against China over virus]]>
Pompeo, addressing a White House news briefing with President Donald Trump, said the United States has repatriated 50,000 American citizens stranded around the world by various shutdowns related to the virus and that there are still several thousand more to bring back.

Asked about consequences for China, Pompeo said: "This is not the time for retribution. But it is still the time for clarity and transparency."

China reported only about 3,000 deaths from the virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, a figure Trump and other officials doubt given high death tolls in other countries. ]]>
4/9/2020 10:59:34 AM
<![CDATA[COVID-19: Egyptian MPs demand gov’t to ban traveling between governorates]]>
The Parliament members also called for allocating a quarantine hospital in each governorate, away from urban areas.

Within this framework, MP Soliman Fadl el-Omery submitted an urgent statement to the prime minister on suspending citizens’ movement between governorates.

Omery stressed that the government exerts extensive efforts to stop the spread of the virus, adding that traveling between governorates will waste these efforts, and contribute to transferring the virus between cities.

He further called for allowing some authorities and institutions to transfer supplies and food commodities taking into consideration all protection and safety procedures.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health recorded Tuesday 128 new cases for of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and nine deaths. "Also, 17 patients, including one foreigner, were released from a quarantine hospital after recovering from coronavirus," added the ministry in a statement.

The number of cases who tested negative for coronavirus after being quarantined rose to 427, 276 of them are fully recovered, according to the ministry’s spokesperson Khaled Megahed.

The new positive cases are all Egyptians, some of them have recently returned from abroad and others contracted the virus from previous cases.

The total number of cases who contracted the infectious virus rose to 1450, including 276 recovered and 94 deaths, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Health.



]]>
4/8/2020 5:07:25 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s Shoukry receives a call from US Secretary over COVID-19]]>
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said Shoukry received a phone call from Pompeo in which they presented national efforts by the two states to combat the virus and limit its health and economic impact.

They expressed mutual solidarity during the crisis, Hafez said.

He added that the phone call also included discussions on various aspects of Egyptian-US relations and developments in the region.]]>
4/8/2020 4:33:56 PM
<![CDATA[Telemedicine: New Trend for Non-COVID19 Patients in Egypt… Is It Acceptable?]]>
Several initiatives of telemedicine have been created by groups of Egyptian physicians. Although this phenomenon turned trendy amid the current crisis, it raised questions on how acceptable this phenomenon is among Egyptians.

Facebook was a good platform for doctors to launch their initiatives, asking people to stay at home. For instance, a Facebook public group called “Stay Home (Protect Yourself and Others)...Ask Doctors of Helwan” is one of those initiatives that post the accounts of several physicians in various specializations and give medical instructions for people to protect themselves at home.

How does this service work?

When a patient writes about his or her symptoms in the group, they are connected to the specialized doctor, who later communicates with the patient.

Egypt Today had an experience with one of the groups, asking for a medical diagnosis for a disease that infected a three-year-old child. The group connected us with a pediatrician, who immediately replied and gave the proper prescription.

Some private groups like “Egypt’s Doctors for Free Medical Consultations,” which has been joined by more than 30,000 members since its launch in September 2019, set certain rules for the members; “Only doctors have the right to respond to the patients and it is strictly forbidden for the members to comment on any consultation.”

In response to a question on Messenger, an admin of the group told Egypt Today that they have copies of the medical IDs of the doctors, saying “We all have data of the doctors [who communicate with the patients on the group].” The admin affirmed that they provide this service for free.

How do people see telemedicine?

Egyptians had different views on such initiatives.

M. Zain, a father of two boys, told Egypt Today that he is totally against such groups for several reasons. “Firstly, they are not officially monitored by the government. Secondly, I do not know the real identities of those doctors. Thirdly, such groups violate the patient’s privacy. Finally, they aim at profits no more or less.”

“I am not with them [telemedicine groups]. I prefer face-to-face medical check as it allows me to trust the doctor's judgment; the doctor has to see the tests and X-rays himself,” said Hassnaa Shawqy, a mother of three children. “It is hard to trust remotely-prescribed medications,” she added.

However, Afaf Hassan, 33, told Egypt Today that online prescription is a very good service in the current circumstances, saying “I was in a situation where I needed to contact a doctor. I can only meet him if the condition gets worse. In these circumstances, not all people can go to a hospital.”

Shaimaa Farag, who prefers remote prescription amid the coronavirus crisis, thinks that only patients with severe conditions should go to a hospital or a doctor's clinic, saying that she had to go to a hospital when her daughter broke her leg.

Unwanted comments

Pharmacist Aliah Salah, who works at Helwan Fever Hospital, approves of such initiatives, saying that people should not go to a hospital unless absolutely necessary. “When my daughter had a fever and got sick, I contacted one of the pediatricians. When I told him about her symptoms, he gave me the prescription and she recovered.”

"Such initiatives are successful with 60 percent of the cases," she said, adding that some members; however, could harm patients with their comments when they interfere in a discussion between a patient and a doctor. Salah continued that the online system would be more beneficial for the pharmacies that provide delivery services.

Fatma Essam, a 33-year-old mother, told Egypt Today that she is already a member of two groups and the doctors always advise patients to go to the nearest physician or hospital if a case is critical. “The most dangerous matter is the interference of some members in the diagnosis. Most of the unwanted comments were written by mothers,” she said.

What do Doctors say?

“Stay at home and Consult Us - Professors of Medicine in Alexandria,” is another group launched to reduce the turnout of patients at the hospitals amid the current crisis. The initiative does not aim to prescribe medication; it provides patients with instructions on what to do to feel better.

Physiotherapist Ahmed Abdel-Rasoul, member of the Egyptian Medical Association for Obesity, believes that such initiatives are helpful but not for the critical cases, noting that rules should be set in such groups to prevent members’ comments.

“Such groups should only allow doctors to reply to the patients' questions,” he said.

“These groups might provide advice on what to do if you get sick. But some cases need to go to a doctor. For example, some patients of physiotherapy should go to the clinic because if they don't see their doctor or have their sessions, their health will deteriorate,” he added.

Ahmed Abdel-Shakour, a pulmonologist at Shebin El-Kom Chest Hospital, refuses to give prescriptions online. However, he sometimes communicates online with the cases he knows. In most cases, he advises the patients to go to the nearest hospital, especially if the patient’s case is critical and needs respiratory sessions.

"As per the executive regulations of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate, the diagnosis is only valid through the face-to-face check," Syndicate Treasurer Mohamed Abdel-Hamid told Egypt Today.

“It is permissible if these groups give medical advice but not a prescription or diagnosis,” he said, adding that online follow-up has no problem as the physician is already aware of the patient’s case. Abdel-Hamid affirmed that it is hard for the syndicate to monitor or control Facebook groups.
]]>
4/8/2020 2:25:25 PM
<![CDATA[UN Women commends Egypt's gender perspective in COVID-19 response plan]]>
These measures reinforce the NCW’s commitment to provide evidence-based policy advice to ensure that gender perspectives are properly addressed in Egypt’s COVID-19 response plans. The policy paper addresses the following pillars of Egypt’s short and medium term response: a) impact on human endowment (health, education and social protection); b) women’s voice and agency (eliminating violence against women, and women’s leadership and representation); c) impact on economic opportunities for women, and d) promoting data and knowledge. The paper also calls for additional measures to be taken in each of these areas.

UN Women is appreciative of the partnership with the Government of Egypt in its efforts to ensure that the COVID-19 response is more effective for everyone, including for women and girls. Notably, the Government’s stimulus package provides more incentives for sectors that have high female labour force participation, such as tourism and agriculture; increases payments to women community leaders in rural areas; increases the number of households in the Takaful and Karama social protection programme with an additional 100,000 households (wherein over 80 per cent of recipients of the Takaful programme are women); and includes clients of the microfinance sector in the Central Bank of Egypt’s decision to delay loan instalments (wherein women constitute over 70 per cent of microfinance clients).

Earlier in March, a decree was issued by the Prime Minister to reduce the number of employees in the public sector. The decree included protections such as granting pregnant employees and working mothers whose children are under 12 years old exceptional leave throughout the decree’s implementation period. In line with this decision, the National Council for Women’s hotline has announced it is receiving complaints from female workers in the public sector who face any challenges with respect to the Prime Minister’s decision.

UN Women appreciates the gender-sensitive approach taken by the Government of Egypt in its response to COVID-19 and will continue to support national efforts to carry out additional measures in line with its responsibilities, which include advancing women’s rights during such difficult times.




Below is the National Council for Women's report

The COVID-19 outbreak has an impact on both men and women. However it impacts women in different ways. In Egypt, women make up around 42.4% of human doctors and 91.1% nursing staff of who are actually working for the Ministry of Health, in addition to 73.1% of nursing staff in hospitals and therapeutic facilities in the private sector are women . Women in the health sector are more likely to be exposed to the virus and dealing with enormous stress balancing paid and unpaid work roles. Furthermore, overwhelmed health services may limit access to family planning services and to contraceptives, potentially leading to a rise in fertility rates and the socio-economic impact on individuals, households and communities. COVID-19 is expected to interrupted access of women to reproductive healthcare services and commodities. Given that pregnant women are more likely to have contact with health services (antenatal care and delivery), they can be greatly exposed to infections in health facilities which may discourage attendance.

COVID-19 poses a serious threat to women’s engagement in economic activities, especially in informal sectors, and gender gaps can be increased in livelihoods. In Egypt, 18.1% of women are heads of households . 40.9% of females’ total non-agricultural employment is in informal employment and 33.9% of females’ employment is vulnerable employment. Meanwhile 6.7% of female employment in industry; 36.4% of females’ employment is in agriculture; while 56.8% of female employment in services; Egyptian women also represent 70% of the paid care sector workforce (mainly as teachers, health and social workers). Moreover, the paid care sector in Egypt represents around 28–31 % of overall female employment. Women are almost four times more likely than men to work in the paid care sector.




Recognizing that, the Egyptian government started to take stringent procedures and measures to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19 according to the pace of its spread, while considering all segments needs and women in specific during the execution of those measures. The government was particularly keen to integrate & mainstream all the needs of Egyptian women into the entire decision making process needed and the implementation of programs in order to ensure women’s empowerment & protection against the socio-economic and psychological repercussions of the new COVID-19 pandemic.


During the meeting held on 22 March 2020 in celebration of the Egyptian Women’s Day, the speech of the President of the Republic conveyed a number of messages that in general represent a mechanism to face the risks of spread of COVID-19. The President also issued a set of economic and social protection decrees to support and protect all society, and recognized the role and status of the Egyptian woman and the importance of continuing her supportive role during this current phase.

Since the National Council for Women is the national machinery concerned with proposing the government public policy on women’s development pursuant to Law No. 30 of 2018, NCW has prepared a policy paper regarding Egypt’s rapid response to women’s situation during COVID-19 outbreak, which includes an analysis of the status quo. In this paper, NCW has presented a number of proposed response measures, whether immediate or middle-term responses, for concerned all line ministries & government institutions, regarding the following pillars:
1. Impact on human endowment (health, education and social protection) through applying/upscaling the already existing support programs regarding all health aspects including psychological, mental & physical as well as reproductive health care services; social protection programs; particularly response measures for older women; women with disabilities; pregnant women, and women of reproductive age, and education, to deal with the consequences of the school lockdown and the potential girls’ dropout.
2. Women’s voice & agency (Violence Against Women, Leadership and Representation in decision making during crisis managment) women’s participation in the decision making process can enhance the health security control mechanisms, examination and protection of health, and ensure women’s accessibility to the relevant information. Also response measures can be adopted to provide psychosocial, legal and advisory support for women who may be subject to violence resulting from the implications of social conditions generated by the precautionary measures taken to respond to COVID-19 outbreak.



3. Impact on economic opportunities: the proposed response interventions depend on the already existing mechanisms as well as introducing new ones to support the women workers whose livelihoods have been affected or whose income from freelance work has declined. Alternative solutions should be proposed to address the economic downturn and its impact on working women in the formal or informal sector.
4. Promoting data and knowledge: promoting the compilation of data designed by sex, age and disability-disaggregated data on COVID-19, including tracking the emergency response measures, support policy research & social innovation; monitoring & evaluating the impact of the COVID-19; and conduct public opinion surveys in order to recognize the differences in exposure and treatment & help design the preventive measures accordingly.

In this regard, NCW established the “Women policy tracker on Responsive Policies and Programs During COVID-19 Pandemic” to serve the following purposes:
1) Monitor all issued policies and procedures responsive to the needs of Egyptian women in light of the efforts made to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
2) Design an easier tool that can be used as reference to all women related issued policies that can be used by decision makers for a more collaborative & comprehensive vision on means of moving forward.
3) Document the efforts & highlight the outcome of the coordinated efforts of the government on women related policies to protect them & their families from the COVID-19
4) Reflect on all those policies with necessary supporting programs & initiatives




The major women related responsive policies and measures taken by the Egyptian Government

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) in collaboration with all the concerned bodies constantly issues measures and programs to combat the spread of the virus. Moreover, MoHP issues all the data on the numbers of COVID-19 cases transparently and disaggregated by sex & age.

(14 March 2020)

- The President issued a decree on suspending classes in universities and schools for two weeks; as protection for the children allowing the mothers to rest assure of their safety.
- The Ministry of Social Solidarity (MoSS) issued a decree on the lockdown of nurseries for two weeks; as protection for the children allowing the mothers to rest assure of their safety.



(16 March 2020)

- The Prime Minister issued Decree No. 719 of 2020, including inter alia:
o The number of employees in government authorities and bodies shall be reduced under the set of the precautionary measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
o Pregnant women or those looking after one child or more of less than 12 years shall be granted an exceptional leave for as long as the Decree remains in force; allowing all working mothers to be able to do their family duties without losing their jobs.
o Women employees looking after their children with disabilities shall be granted a leave pursuant to a circular; allowing mothers of children with disabilities to be able to take care of their children without losing their jobs.


- MoHP announced taking special measures on dispensing medicines for chronic diseases, formula milk and Family planning methods (contraceptives) for three months; accessibility needed reproductive healthcare services for women



(19 March 2020)

- Ministry of Social Solidarity (MoSS) announced intensifying the precautionary measures for children in foster homes and providing all the health precautions and awareness-raising leaflets, including welfare homes, correctional institutions, orphanages, nursing homes, social protection facilities, people with disabilities, and women shelters; protection of elderly women and women with disabilities living in the shelters; Preparedness to any potential case of violence against women through secured concerned shelters.


(22 March 2020)

- The President instructed as part of a set of decrees and directives aimed to address the new COVID-19 to launch campaigns for raising the awareness of citizens for guidance and providing precise information, and strengthen health control according to the highest standards, at the points of entry to the country; Awareness raising & promoting data & knowledge to include women beneficiaries.
- MoSS announced increasing the number of beneficiaries of conditional cash transfer from Takaful and Karama Program to 100,000 households; Social protection especially for women heads of households
- MoSS announced increasing the monthly income for rural women leaders from EGP 300 to EGP 900 per month; increased support to women rural leaders on ground
- MoSS announced integrating women aged 65 and above in nursing homes under the umbrella of social protection; protection of elderly women
- MoSS announced increasing the number of beneficiaries of soft loans and loans with negligible interest rates to set up micro enterprises so that they can improve the living standard of their families; economic opportunities to include women in need to microfinance loans



(24 March 2020)

- Extending the suspension of classes in schools and universities and lockdown of nurseries of whatever type;
- The Ministry of Manpower (MoM) announced the steps of registration of irregular workers on MoM website to receive an exceptional allowance of EGP 500, as part of the government plan to protect them due to being affected by the COVID-19; providing economic support to include women irregular workers



(26 March 2020)

The Prime Minister issued Decree No. 776 of 2020 on establishing a workers’ emergency benefits fund and forming a committee for the irregular workers affected by the economic repercussions of the new Coronavirus, composed of (the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Minister of Manpower, Minister of Social Solidarity, NCW President, Chairman of Information and Decision Support Center, Head of the Suggestion and Complaints Committee of the National Wage Council, and a member of the Administrative Control Authority). Including NCW in this committee reflects the government’s belief in the importance of women’s voice & agency through representation, participation & involvement in the process of decision making and taking into account the needs of Egyptian women while designing the policies and strategies aimed to respond and mitigate the impacts of the new Coronavirus.


The Committee shall be responsible for the following:

o Collect the data of the workers affected by the economic repercussions of the new Coronavirus, and take the necessary actions in coordination with the various concerned bodies to offer financial and social support to the workers to overcome the crisis.
o Coordinate the efforts and initiatives introduced by financial institutions, companies, businessmen, non-governmental institutions and other concerned bodies so that the aids are delivered to those eligible.
o Coordinate with the Workers’ Emergency Benefits Fund to ensure the existence of a consolidated database for the affected workers to avoid double disbursement.
o Develop policies for workers’ compensation in case of partial or full lockdown of the facilities in which they work, in coordination with the concerned funds and accounts.


(29 March 2020)
- The President issued a decree on increasing the monthly allowance for medical professionals by 75% and establishing a risk fund for medical professionals; Economic benefits to include women health care providers (doctors & medical professionals)
- The President announced the disbursement of exceptional bonuses from “Tahya Misr” Fund for all the workers in quarantine, fever and chest hospitals and central labs allover Egypt; Economic benefits to include women health care providers

- The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) issued a set of resolutions on the activity of microfinance for the benefit of 3.1 million citizens, including:
o Reduce or postpone the installments due from the clients by 50% of the value of each installment for microfinance clients.
o Exempt microfinance clients who make timely payments from the commission of the prepayment of indebtedness or reducing the administrative fees to renew the existing funding; economic opportunities benefiting women in microfinance


(2 April 2020)

- The President instructed to provide additional support to the health sector and enhance the financial conditions of the health workers, doctors and nurses, by increasing the bonuses granted to medical interns during their internships in university hospitals under the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE0) and Scientific Research and Al-Azhar University hospitals, to EGP 2200 per month, instead of EGP 400, as of December 2019 class; economic benefits to include women doctors



(5 April 2020)

- The MoH launched 2 hotlines to provide necessary psychological support to citizens at home; psychological support programs to include women beneficiaries


(6 April 2020)

- The President instructed to provide allowances of 500 EGP for irregular workers who might be impacted by the COVID-19 for 3 consecutive months; economic benefits to include women irregular worker.

- The President instructed to upscale decent housing by building 250,000 new housing unit and another 100,000 housing unit for the people living in unsafe habitat; Social protection intervention to include women beneficiaries


The National Council for Women will continue tracking & monitoring all issued policies & programs that mainstream & respond to the needs of women during this crisis. NCW commits to a strong coordination with all concerned ministries and bodies to support the implementation of those policies as well as suggesting new polices in favor of Egyptian women.
]]>
4/8/2020 12:51:42 PM
<![CDATA[LNA deters militias attack, kills 15 militants including leader]]>
LNA spokesperson Ahmed al-Mesmary stated that three armored vehicles were destroyed, and that 15 "terrorists" were killed, including Abdel Hakim al-Zain, commander of the 42 Thieves militias.

Mesmary added that the destroyed vehicles contain many dead bodies, and that shreds were spread in the battlefield. Also, the LNA forces took over the militias' observatories in the area after its members had fled.

The LNA spokesperson said that the arms and equipment used by the militias and mercenaries have been supplied by Turkey. It is noteworthy that Turkey is allied with the GNA, which is an interim non-elected government recognized by the United Nations and protected by militias.

Since December, Turkey has transported more than 6,000 Syrian mercenaries into Libya to fight in the ranks of Tripoli militias, and deployed a number of officers and Turkish military experts in the country.

That came after Turkey had signed with the GNA two MoUs on cooperation in defense and gas drilling eastern the Mediterranean.

Early in 2020, the LNA restored Sirte from militias, and has been encircling Tripoli and Misrata making gradual advances.

LNA kills 41 Turkey-backed mercenaries amid infiltration attempt

CAIRO - 6 April 2020: Spokesperson of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed al-Mesmary stated that the Libyan Armed Forces targeted on Sunday 41 mercenaries affiliated with Turkey in Wadi Al Rabie and Al Hadaba districts southern Tripoli as they attempted to infiltrate military sites.



]]>
4/7/2020 3:59:42 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian FM, Erekat discuss coronavirus developments]]>
In a phone call Tuesday, both sides discussed the latest political developments in the Palestinian arena and means of resuming peace negotiations as soon as the coronavirus crisis ends.]]>
4/7/2020 3:37:13 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's full Women policy tracker on responsive programs amid Covid-19 pandemic ]]>
The report included an analysis of the existing situation amid the government's efforts to combat the virus during the period from March 14 to April 6, 2020.

Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women, confirmed that this report comes with the aim of monitoring all policies & procedures taken by the government in response to the needs of Egyptian women; designing an easier tool that can be used as reference by decision makers for more collaborative vision on means of moving forward; as well as documenting the coordinated efforts of the government; & reflecting on those policies with supporting programs.

Below is the full text of the report




The COVID-19 outbreak has an impact on both men and women. However it impacts women in different ways. In Egypt, women make up around 42.4% of human doctors and 91.1% nursing staff of who are actually working for the Ministry of Health, in addition to 73.1% of nursing staff in hospitals and therapeutic facilities in the private sector are women . Women in the health sector are more likely to be exposed to the virus and dealing with enormous stress balancing paid and unpaid work roles. Furthermore, overwhelmed health services may limit access to family planning services and to contraceptives, potentially leading to a rise in fertility rates and the socio-economic impact on individuals, households and communities. COVID-19 is expected to interrupted access of women to reproductive healthcare services and commodities. Given that pregnant women are more likely to have contact with health services (antenatal care and delivery), they can be greatly exposed to infections in health facilities which may discourage attendance.

COVID-19 poses a serious threat to women’s engagement in economic activities, especially in informal sectors, and gender gaps can be increased in livelihoods. In Egypt, 18.1% of women are heads of households . 40.9% of females’ total non-agricultural employment is in informal employment and 33.9% of females’ employment is vulnerable employment. Meanwhile 6.7% of female employment in industry; 36.4% of females’ employment is in agriculture; while 56.8% of female employment in services; Egyptian women also represent 70% of the paid care sector workforce (mainly as teachers, health and social workers). Moreover, the paid care sector in Egypt represents around 28–31 % of overall female employment. Women are almost four times more likely than men to work in the paid care sector.

Recognizing that, the Egyptian government started to take stringent procedures and measures to contain and prevent the spread of COVID-19 according to the pace of its spread, while considering all segments needs and women in specific during the execution of those measures. The government was particularly keen to integrate & mainstream all the needs of Egyptian women into the entire decision making process needed and the implementation of programs in order to ensure women’s empowerment & protection against the socio-economic and psychological repercussions of the new COVID-19 pandemic.


During the meeting held on 22 March 2020 in celebration of the Egyptian Women’s Day, the speech of the President of the Republic conveyed a number of messages that in general represent a mechanism to face the risks of spread of COVID-19. The President also issued a set of economic and social protection decrees to support and protect all society, and recognized the role and status of the Egyptian woman and the importance of continuing her supportive role during this current phase.

Since the National Council for Women is the national machinery concerned with proposing the government public policy on women’s development pursuant to Law No. 30 of 2018, NCW has prepared a policy paper regarding Egypt’s rapid response to women’s situation during COVID-19 outbreak, which includes an analysis of the status quo. In this paper, NCW has presented a number of proposed response measures, whether immediate or middle-term responses, for concerned all line ministries & government institutions, regarding the following pillars:
1. Impact on human endowment (health, education and social protection) through applying/upscaling the already existing support programs regarding all health aspects including psychological, mental & physical as well as reproductive health care services; social protection programs; particularly response measures for older women; women with disabilities; pregnant women, and women of reproductive age, and education, to deal with the consequences of the school lockdown and the potential girls’ dropout.
2. Women’s voice & agency (Violence Against Women, Leadership and Representation in decision making during crisis managment) women’s participation in the decision making process can enhance the health security control mechanisms, examination and protection of health, and ensure women’s accessibility to the relevant information. Also response measures can be adopted to provide psychosocial, legal and advisory support for women who may be subject to violence resulting from the implications of social conditions generated by the precautionary measures taken to respond to COVID-19 outbreak.
3. Impact on economic opportunities: the proposed response interventions depend on the already existing mechanisms as well as introducing new ones to support the women workers whose livelihoods have been affected or whose income from freelance work has declined. Alternative solutions should be proposed to address the economic downturn and its impact on working women in the formal or informal sector.
4. Promoting data and knowledge: promoting the compilation of data designed by sex, age and disability-disaggregated data on COVID-19, including tracking the emergency response measures, support policy research & social innovation; monitoring & evaluating the impact of the COVID-19; and conduct public opinion surveys in order to recognize the differences in exposure and treatment & help design the preventive measures accordingly.

In this regard, NCW established the “Women policy tracker on Responsive Policies and Programs During COVID-19 Pandemic” to serve the following purposes:
1) Monitor all issued policies and procedures responsive to the needs of Egyptian women in light of the efforts made to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
2) Design an easier tool that can be used as reference to all women related issued policies that can be used by decision makers for a more collaborative & comprehensive vision on means of moving forward.
3) Document the efforts & highlight the outcome of the coordinated efforts of the government on women related policies to protect them & their families from the COVID-19
4) Reflect on all those policies with necessary supporting programs & initiatives




The major women related responsive policies and measures taken by the Egyptian Government

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP) in collaboration with all the concerned bodies constantly issues measures and programs to combat the spread of the virus. Moreover, MoHP issues all the data on the numbers of COVID-19 cases transparently and disaggregated by sex & age.

(14 March 2020)

- The President issued a decree on suspending classes in universities and schools for two weeks; as protection for the children allowing the mothers to rest assure of their safety.
- The Ministry of Social Solidarity (MoSS) issued a decree on the lockdown of nurseries for two weeks; as protection for the children allowing the mothers to rest assure of their safety.



(16 March 2020)

- The Prime Minister issued Decree No. 719 of 2020, including inter alia:
o The number of employees in government authorities and bodies shall be reduced under the set of the precautionary measures taken by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
o Pregnant women or those looking after one child or more of less than 12 years shall be granted an exceptional leave for as long as the Decree remains in force; allowing all working mothers to be able to do their family duties without losing their jobs.
o Women employees looking after their children with disabilities shall be granted a leave pursuant to a circular; allowing mothers of children with disabilities to be able to take care of their children without losing their jobs.


- MoHP announced taking special measures on dispensing medicines for chronic diseases, formula milk and Family planning methods (contraceptives) for three months; accessibility needed reproductive healthcare services for women



(19 March 2020)

- Ministry of Social Solidarity (MoSS) announced intensifying the precautionary measures for children in foster homes and providing all the health precautions and awareness-raising leaflets, including welfare homes, correctional institutions, orphanages, nursing homes, social protection facilities, people with disabilities, and women shelters; protection of elderly women and women with disabilities living in the shelters; Preparedness to any potential case of violence against women through secured concerned shelters.


(22 March 2020)

- The President instructed as part of a set of decrees and directives aimed to address the new COVID-19 to launch campaigns for raising the awareness of citizens for guidance and providing precise information, and strengthen health control according to the highest standards, at the points of entry to the country; Awareness raising & promoting data & knowledge to include women beneficiaries.
- MoSS announced increasing the number of beneficiaries of conditional cash transfer from Takaful and Karama Program to 100,000 households; Social protection especially for women heads of households
- MoSS announced increasing the monthly income for rural women leaders from EGP 300 to EGP 900 per month; increased support to women rural leaders on ground
- MoSS announced integrating women aged 65 and above in nursing homes under the umbrella of social protection; protection of elderly women
- MoSS announced increasing the number of beneficiaries of soft loans and loans with negligible interest rates to set up micro enterprises so that they can improve the living standard of their families; economic opportunities to include women in need to microfinance loans



(24 March 2020)

- Extending the suspension of classes in schools and universities and lockdown of nurseries of whatever type;
- The Ministry of Manpower (MoM) announced the steps of registration of irregular workers on MoM website to receive an exceptional allowance of EGP 500, as part of the government plan to protect them due to being affected by the COVID-19; providing economic support to include women irregular workers



(26 March 2020)

The Prime Minister issued Decree No. 776 of 2020 on establishing a workers’ emergency benefits fund and forming a committee for the irregular workers affected by the economic repercussions of the new Coronavirus, composed of (the Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Minister of Manpower, Minister of Social Solidarity, NCW President, Chairman of Information and Decision Support Center, Head of the Suggestion and Complaints Committee of the National Wage Council, and a member of the Administrative Control Authority). Including NCW in this committee reflects the government’s belief in the importance of women’s voice & agency through representation, participation & involvement in the process of decision making and taking into account the needs of Egyptian women while designing the policies and strategies aimed to respond and mitigate the impacts of the new Coronavirus.


The Committee shall be responsible for the following:

o Collect the data of the workers affected by the economic repercussions of the new Coronavirus, and take the necessary actions in coordination with the various concerned bodies to offer financial and social support to the workers to overcome the crisis.
o Coordinate the efforts and initiatives introduced by financial institutions, companies, businessmen, non-governmental institutions and other concerned bodies so that the aids are delivered to those eligible.
o Coordinate with the Workers’ Emergency Benefits Fund to ensure the existence of a consolidated database for the affected workers to avoid double disbursement.
o Develop policies for workers’ compensation in case of partial or full lockdown of the facilities in which they work, in coordination with the concerned funds and accounts.


(29 March 2020)
- The President issued a decree on increasing the monthly allowance for medical professionals by 75% and establishing a risk fund for medical professionals; Economic benefits to include women health care providers (doctors & medical professionals)
- The President announced the disbursement of exceptional bonuses from “Tahya Misr” Fund for all the workers in quarantine, fever and chest hospitals and central labs allover Egypt; Economic benefits to include women health care providers

- The Financial Regulatory Authority (FRA) issued a set of resolutions on the activity of microfinance for the benefit of 3.1 million citizens, including:
o Reduce or postpone the installments due from the clients by 50% of the value of each installment for microfinance clients.
o Exempt microfinance clients who make timely payments from the commission of the prepayment of indebtedness or reducing the administrative fees to renew the existing funding; economic opportunities benefiting women in microfinance


(2 April 2020)

- The President instructed to provide additional support to the health sector and enhance the financial conditions of the health workers, doctors and nurses, by increasing the bonuses granted to medical interns during their internships in university hospitals under the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE0) and Scientific Research and Al-Azhar University hospitals, to EGP 2200 per month, instead of EGP 400, as of December 2019 class; economic benefits to include women doctors



(5 April 2020)

- The MoH launched 2 hotlines to provide necessary psychological support to citizens at home; psychological support programs to include women beneficiaries


(6 April 2020)

- The President instructed to provide allowances of 500 EGP for irregular workers who might be impacted by the COVID-19 for 3 consecutive months; economic benefits to include women irregular worker.

- The President instructed to upscale decent housing by building 250,000 new housing unit and another 100,000 housing unit for the people living in unsafe habitat; Social protection intervention to include women beneficiaries


The National Council for Women will continue tracking & monitoring all issued policies & programs that mainstream & respond to the needs of women during this crisis. NCW commits to a strong coordination with all concerned ministries and bodies to support the implementation of those policies as well as suggesting new polices in favor of Egyptian women.
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4/7/2020 1:55:48 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's National Council of Women issues women policy tracker during Covid-19 pandemic ]]>
The National Council for Women announced the issuance of the first edition of the women policy tracker that monitors the policies & measures responding to the needs of women, which were taken by the Egyptian government during the efforts to contain the spread of the covid-19 emerging from 14 March to 6 April, 2020; where the report included an analysis of the existing situation.

Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women, confirmed that this report comes with the aim of monitoring all policies & procedures taken by the government in response to the needs of Egyptian women; designing an easier tool that can be used as reference by decision makers for more collaborative vision on means of moving forward; as well as documenting the coordinated efforts of the government; & reflecting on those policies with supporting programs.

Dr. Maya has said that the government's efforts comes in light with the President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi’s directions during a meeting with a number of Egyptian women celebrating Egyptian women’s day that was held March 22nd this year; to the importance of mustering all the efforts of the government institutions and bodies, to deal decisively and responsibly with the crisis.

NCW President indicated that the Egyptian government has worked since the beginning to take stringent measures and policies to contain and control the spread of the new covid-19 , according to the rate of its rapid spread, taking into consideration the needs of all possible affected segments, especially women. In particular, the government was keen on mainstreaming & integrating egyptian women in all decision making process and implementing programs in order to ensure their protection from all social, economic and psychological repercussions of the emerging virus.

Dr. Morsy added that the NCW has presented a policy paper responding to the proposed needs of women for the government to counter the outbreak of the covid-19; and will work with various government partners to support the development and implementation of mitigation and response policies to ensure the protection of women
and girls.

Below is the full text of the report




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4/7/2020 12:49:47 PM
<![CDATA[LNA kills 41 Turkey-backed mercenaries amid infiltration attempt]]>
The LNA is currently patrolling Libyan territories to unveil terrorist hideouts. The spokesperson stated that three operating rooms have been formed to combat Turkish intervention and terrorism.

"The Libyan Armed Forces call upon the international community to work on halting the transportation of mercenaries into Libya, and in pushing Turkey to withdraw its forces," Mesmary said in a press conference held Sunday.

Mesmary added that General Commander Khalifa Haftar is giving brain-washed Syrian militants in Libya a chance to leave in peace in condition that they give up their arms and fighting.

Mesmary stated that such mercenaries had attempted to target a jet carrying ventilators and medical equipment. Yet, infantry forces deterred the attack causing losses among their ranks as they fled leaving behind the bodies of their partners.

Mesmary affirmed that the LNA respects the truce and that the enemy embodied in the "Turkish occupation" keeps violating the ceasefire. "Libyans are against terrorism, and want to get rid of terrorism," he added.

On April 2, the LNA declared downing an Aero L-39 Albatros jet that belongs to the GNA killing its pilot, Abdel Naby al-Orraiq, and co-pilot, Ibrahim Farag, southern Abou Grein village eastern Misrata.

On April 1, Mesmary declared that a Turkish battleship struck by missiles LNA-controlled Ogilat City located to the West of Tripoli, which is controlled by the Government of National Accord (GNA), hitting a private farm on the outskirts.

It's noteworthy to mention that Turkey is allied with the GNA, which is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations and protected by militias.

A military source told Youm7 that Turkish artillery - based near Al Shater Mosque in Arada neighborhood - strike populated areas in the capital's outskirts controlled by the LNA.

On March 31, the LNA announced the death of a number of Turkish officers and military experts after it had struck radar and missile launching platforms as well as ammunition stores in Misrata.

On March 29, the LNA targeted in Abou Grein five armored vehicles and two tents that belong to the militants, two observatories that contain four armored vehicles and two tents, two buildings that house operating rooms and 13 armored vehicles, and an observatory.

Thereby, the total militants' targets struck by the LNA are 22 armored vehicles, four tents, and two buildings containing operating rooms.

On March 27, the LNA liberated from militias and mercenaries Al Assa, Al Gamil, Riqdalin, and Zelten near the coastal city of GNA-held Zuwara lying western Tripoli. That is after it had repelled the attack launched by the GNA militias against LNA-held Oqba bin Nafea Airbase in Al Watiya area near the capital.

A few days earlier Commander of Sirte Operating Room Salem Deryaq and his assistant Al Qaddafi Al Sadai were killed by a Turkish drone that was launched from Misrata.

Dozens of Syrian mercenaries in Libya killed in 1 week

CAIRO - 28 March 2020: Although the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 151 Turkey-backed militants - fighting in the ranks of Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) have been killed since the beginning of this year, the LNA announced Thursday that the number of Syrian mercenaries who fell over the previous 72 hours is 103.



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4/6/2020 3:26:24 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt's development partners acknowledge New Global Partnerships Narrative, cooperation strategy]]>
They also acknowledge the Government of Egypt's efforts to mitigate the negative consequences of the novel corona virus.

The acknowledgments were delivered during the video conference they attended last week with H.E. the Minister of International Cooperation.

Minister Rania Al-Mashat underscored that the Government of Egypt has been working to protect the population from the virus, provide easier access to credit to help households smooth consumption and liquidity for firms to survive the disruption, and push progress by expediting structural reforms through and beyond COVID-19".

Al-Mashat added, Through our New Global Partnerships Framework and communication framework, the Ministry of International Cooperation aims to ensure that COVID-19 does not derail us from pushing forward with the SDG agenda. It is an innovative means to transparently showcase projects with purpose and their impact on people to boost inclusive growth as a means to promote SDGs and bolster credibility.

Al-Mashat recognized the work that has been done through the past decade between Egypt and its International multilateral and bilateral development partners and praised the value of the international cooperation in supporting the Egyptian economy. She highlighted that the vision of the ministry is to support the development cooperation through multilateral and bilateral partnerships as well as with private sector and civil society to achieve the objectives of the national development agenda Egypt 2030 in line with the UN SDGs.
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Richard Dictus, UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt said, The extremely constructive and forward-looking presentation by minister Al-Mashat confirms the partnership between the Ministry of International Cooperation and International Development Partners, especially at the time of this global pandemic. He added, The United Nations reaffirms its strong commitment to and partnership with the Government of Egypt in its efforts.
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On the other hand, Randa Aboul-Hosn, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt added that, The Ministry presented a coherent and innovative mapping and alignment of development cooperation in Egypt to the Sustainable Development Goals. The triple P is now an important narrative we can all follow.

In the meantime, Marina Wes, Country Director, Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti, Middle East and North Africa, said As we are concluding an inspiring and constructive session, I would like to thank H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat ?for bringing together the Development Partners and showing vision and leadership in critical times. In collaboration with the international development agencies, the World Bank stands ready to support Egypt in its effort to confront the immediate health emergency and mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for the most vulnerable.
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Walid Labadi, IFC Country Manager in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, added, This is a challenging time for the private sector in Egypt, the main driver of economic growth and employment. Lives, businesses, jobs, and livelihoods are at risk, and IFC is working closely with clients and partners in Egypt to help mitigate the already evident impacts of COVID-19 crisis and support businesses as they continue to operate and retain staff.

AfDB welcomes outreach by the Ministry of International Cooperation, Egypt continues to show its resilience in the face of global adversity with the Government taking rapid and solid actions said Malinne Blomberg, Country Manager at African Development Bank Group in Egypt. Now more than ever, leadership is about communication and coordination of partners, and the outreach by the Minister of International Cooperation to the Development Partners is an essential step that helps the AfDB maximise our contribution to Egypts needs, both immediately and longer term. The African Development Bank has just issued a $3 billion social bond to support Coronavirus responses in its member countries, including Egypt.
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The EBRD is working urgently across Egypt to deliver our €1 billion global solidarity package to companies and banks that are suffering from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We already working with existing clients across Egypt to understand their needs and support them with working capital, trade finance as well as taking an enabling view to re-scheduling if existing loans. Said Dr. Heike Harmgart, Managing Director Southern and Eastern Mediterranean in EBRD.
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Alfredo Abad, Head of Cairo Office, EIB praised the new strategy of the ministry confirming the support of the bank to the strategy and the readiness of the bank to assist Egypt in combating the spread of corona virus.
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US has been working with Egypt for more than 40 years; not only on the health sector but also on youth and women empowerment; education said Sherry Carlin, The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director in Egypt. USAID commitment to continue to support Egypt, especially on this urgent matter; COVID-19 and to continue to build on our 40 years partnership.
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Partnerships are at the core of ITFCs strategy to promote greater socio-economic equality, inclusivity and prosperity in OIC member countries. At this moment in time, the COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to an extraordinary situation that calls for global partnerships at the highest level to ensure that the UN SDGs are upheld said hani salem sonbal, ITFC Chief Executive Officer. ITFC is committed to supporting the Government of Egypt in its efforts to meet its SDGs. In 2019, ITFC through provided around US$ 1.1 billion to support the countrys energy and food security. This is in addition to programs and capacity building initiatives to enhance the inclusion of women and empowering youth, we are keen to enhance development cooperation with the Egyptian government in light of the new Governments strategy to develop outreach with international institutions.
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Dina Saleh, Director of the sub-regional office of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) of the United Nations in Egypt and the Middle East region, praised the new strategy of the Ministry of International Cooperation, noting that the Ministry of International Cooperation plays a pivotal and important role in bringing together all development partners and is considered an excellent convenor of donors and have been active to convene all the partners working in IFAD projects to quickly prioritise the needs in the Agriculture sector to protect Smallholder producers from the potential disruptions to food security from the COVID-19.stressing that the International Fund for Agricultural Development is ready to provide all support to the ?Egyptian to ensure reducing the negative impact of the Corona virus on the agricultural sector.
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H.E.Ambassador. Masaki Noki, Japan Ambassador to Cairo mentioned that the Japanese Government supported Egyptian people in many development projects in Education, Culture, Tourism and Antiquities. One of which most important is the Grand Egyptian Museum. The Ambassador acknowledged the new communication strategy of the Ministry which focuses on informing people of development projects and its relation to SDGs.
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H.E.Ambassador Yon Yo Chol, Ambassador of South Korea to Egypt noted that his country is working in development with Egypt since long time. The Korean government financed many projects namely; the Korean Egyptian Technology University, as well as other infrastructure projects like modernizing railway signals for Nagaa Hamadi Luxor line. The ambassador added that Korea is considering other financing for desalination and solid waste management. He also mentioned that Korea is ready to support Egypt in combating the spread of the virus acknowledging the measures that the Egyptian government took in this regard.
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Corinne Henchoz head of Swiss Economic Cooperation acknowledged the new strategy and narrative and also she acknowledged the initiatives taken by the Egyptian Government to mitigate the impact of the virus confirming that Switzerland is ready to help Egypt in combating the virus.]]>
4/6/2020 12:56:37 PM
<![CDATA[Arab League Secretary General sends letter to ICRC chief on coronavirus impact on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails]]>
The AL's General Secretariat in a statement on Monday said that the conditions of nearly 5,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons are "serious" in light of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel.

A large number of the Palestinian prisoners, including elderly, sick and those with low immunity, are the most vulnerable people to the COVID-19, he underlined.

In his letter, Abul Gheit expressed regret that Israel had taken a decision to release some criminal prisoners from its citizens, while excluding Palestinian prisoners. This violates international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory, Abul Gheit made it clear.

As per the convention, an occupying power is prohibited from imposing "collective punishment" on an occupied population and is responsible for their health care.]]>
4/6/2020 12:24:43 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s Sisi, France’s Macron discuss cooperation to fight coronavirus]]>
France has been hit by one of the worst coronavirus outbreaks, as it has reported a total of more than 89,000 cases and over 7,500 deaths.

Sisi and Macron also discussed cooperation at the level of the African continent, based on the outcome of a mini-summit on April 3rd that brought together, via video conferencing, many African leaders including Sisi, as well as Macron. The summit aimed at backing the capabilities of Africa to face the novel virus.

They also reviewed some topics related to the bilateral relations between the two countries and also exchanged views on some regional issues of mutual concern, including developments in Libya.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Sisi showed solidarity with nations battling coronavirus.

“We show solidarity as a government and a nation with all the governments and nations of the world in fighting coronavirus, we are fully prepared to offer support amid these tough times,” read the official post.

“The human values transcend everything else amid hard times, it will be God’s will that this tough time shall pass, we will be victorious and the history will remember Egypt’s greatness and its support for the whole world, as this pandemic takes place to remind us all of the importance of cooperation and unity, call us to come together, and to adopt responsibility, optimism, and patience. May God protect Egypt, its great people, and the peoples of the whole world.”

The Egyptian ministry of health reported Saturday 85 positive cases for coronavirus and 5 deaths, all of them Egyptians, bringing the total number of cases to 1,070. They contracted the virus from previously confirmed cases.

Also, the death toll increased to 71 after 5 new cases died, the ministry said.

The government announced that 25 have recovered from the infection to have the number of those recovered rising to 241. 306 cases changed from positive to negative for coronavirus, including the recovered 241.]]>
4/5/2020 2:12:47 PM
<![CDATA[OIC convenes virtual emergency meeting over COVID-19 Thursday]]>
The virtual meeting is due to be held in tandem with the UAE, the current president of the seventh Muslim Health Ministers Conference, according to a statement published by the website of the OIC on Sunday.

The meeting comes in the light of the unprecedented challenges facing the member states in dealing with the COVID-19, OIC Secretary-General Yousef Al-Othaimeen said, pointing out that committee members will discuss the member states’ efforts to tackle the challenges sparked by the virus.

He further stated that the purpose of the meeting is to share and update information on the novel coronavirus, consult on the pandemic and develop strategies to slow down and contain its spread in the member states.

Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Maldives, Pakistan, Mauritania, Chad, Turkey, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Sudan are the members of the steering committee.

The committee also comprises representatives of the COMSTECH, SESRIC, the IsDB and ISESCO.

Its partners are WHO, UNICEF, UNFPA, the International Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and the GAVI Alliance]]>
4/5/2020 11:29:35 AM
<![CDATA[Prisoner's Club urges release of detained Palestinian children]]>
The club raised alarm over putting two Palestinian children in a quarantine, instead of releasing them, according to a statement issued by the club.

Also, the club appealed to relevant international bodies, atop of which is the UNICEF, to intervene immediately to release the arrested children.]]>
4/5/2020 11:00:33 AM
<![CDATA[???Al-Mashat presents Egypt's New Global Partnerships Narrative aimed at maintaining work towards SDGs ]]>
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This comes after the UN reflected fears that efforts for combating the virus might risk overlooking the SDGs objectives causing negative consequences after the alleviation of the pandemic.
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The presentation took place during the video conference meeting chaired by minister Mashat with more than 100 professionals representing heads of country offices, development professionals from bilateral partners as well as multilateral development organizations to discuss opportunities for advancing and promoting future mutual economic cooperation and consequences of the spread of novel corona virus. ?
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The meeting was attended by representatives of UN agencies, World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Islamic Development Bank Group, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, USAID, Japanese International Cooperation Agency, French Agency for Development, European Investment Bank, German Development Agency along with Ambassadors and heads of economic cooperation in embassies for numerous bilateral development partners.
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During the meeting Al-Mashat unveiled the New Global Partnerships Narrative that will define cooperation between Egypt and the international development community, the P&P&P (People&Projects&Purpose).
The presentation can be found in the following link: ? http://bit.ly/MOICGlobalPartnershipsNarrative

The minister mentioned that discussions during the meetings focused on Egypts efforts for promoting structural reforms and economic stimulation as well as financial inclusion which all serve achieving the SDGs. She highlighted the new vision of the ministry to reshape the strategic communication narrative in a way that clearly defines Egypt development initiatives in collaboration with development partners for both Egyptian people domestically as well as internationally for development partners.



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The new narrative as the minister presented will focus on three pillars which are PEOPLE AT THE CORE, PROJECTS IN ACTION and PURPOSE AS THE DRIVER to highlight the development cooperation to achieve SDGs which is priority on all sectors, the minister confirmed the commitment of the ministry (through the current development portfolio) to achieve these SDGs locally and internationally.
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Through its communication framework, the Ministry of International Cooperation aims to ?transparently showcase projects and their impact on boosting inclusive growth as a means to promote SDGs and bolster credibility, the minister added.
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The minister also mentioned that Egypt has made investment in people a top priority, as improving human capital is integral to the country's overall development. Committed to improving the Egyptian peoples lives, every partnership identifies existing gaps and provides multi - sectoral assistance to millions of beneficiaries through public private partnerships that push Egyptians towards realizing their full potential.
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As for the second pillar, the minister indicated that Projects have been implemented across multiple sectors including in education, transportation, water desalination, renewable energy, entrepreneurship, women empowerment, among others. The several projects completed and the many in progress answer to each of the United Nations 17 SDGs.
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For the third pillar which is purpose as the driver, the minister referred to the partnerships with purpose have been a driver to generate sustained and inclusive growth, stay agile in a rapidly changing world, and deepen ties with our stakeholders. Purpose in our projects serves important strategic roles: defining our playing field through collaboration with our multilateral and bilateral ?partners, and allowing us to shape our growth potential.
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Richard Dictus, UN Resident Coordinator, Egypt commented that The extremely constructive and forward-looking presentation by H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat confirms the partnership between the Ministry of International Cooperation and International Development Partners, especially at the time of this global pandemic. The United Nations reaffirms its strong commitment to and partnership with the Government of Egypt in its efforts.

Commenting on the new narrative; Randa Aboul-Hosn, UNDP Resident Representative in Egypt said that the Ministry presented a coherent and innovative mapping and alignment of development cooperation in Egypt to the Sustainable Development Goals. The triple P is now an important narrative we can all follow.

H.E.Ambassador. Masaki Noki, Japan Ambassador to Cairo mentioned that the Japanese Government supported Egyptian people in many development projects in Education, Culture, Tourism and Antiquities. One of which most important is the Grand Egyptian Museum. The Ambassador acknowledged the new communication strategy of the Ministry which focuses on informing people of development projects and its relation to SDGs.
?
H.E.Ambassador Yon Yo Chol, Ambassador of South Korea to Egypt noted that his country is working in development with Egypt since long time. The Korean government financed many projects namely; the Korean Egyptian Technology University, as well as other infrastructure projects like modernizing railway signals for Nagaa hamadi Luxor line. The ambassador added that Korea is considering other financing for desalination and solid waste management. He also mentioned that Korea is ready to support Egypt in combating the spread of the virus acknowledging the measures that the Egyptian government took in this regard.
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The head of Swiss Economic Cooperation acknowledged the new strategy and narrative and also she acknowledged the initiatives taken by the Egyptian Government to mitigate the impact of the virus confirming that Switzerland is ready to help Egypt in combating the virus.
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The Chief Executive Director of the Islamic Trade Finance Corporation Eng. Hany Sonbol, ensured the commitment of the corporation and the Islamic Development Bank group to continue its development cooperation with Egypt in light of the new strategy of the Ministry and its new narrative.
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Dr. Dina Saleh, Director of the sub-regional office of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) of the United Nations in Egypt and the Middle East region commented that the Ministry of International Cooperation plays a pivotal and important role in bringing together all development partners and is considered an excellent convener of donors and have been active to convene all the partners working in IFAD projects to quickly priorities the needs in the Agriculture sector to protect Smallholder producers from the potential disruptions to food security from the COVID-19, stressing that the International Fund for Agricultural Development is ready to provide all support to the ?Egyptian to ensure reducing the negative impact of the Corona virus on the agricultural sector.





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4/5/2020 11:00:00 AM
<![CDATA[?Al-Mashat discusses with Egypt's development partners advancing mutual cooperation in face of COVID-19]]>
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The meeting was attended by representatives of UN agencies, World Bank Group, International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Islamic Development Bank Group, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, USAID, Japanese International Cooperation Agency, French Agency for Development, European Investment Bank, German Development Agency along with Ambassadors and heads of economic cooperation in embassies for numerous bilateral development partners.
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The meeting which was under the theme Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation was an important call from the Ministry of International Cooperation to bring forward a platform for discussion around immediate COVID-19 crisis response and set an action plan beyond it through a coordinated effort aligning with national priorities. The link to the presentation:

http://bit.ly/MOICxCOVID19xResponseRebuild
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The Minister acknowledged the work that has been done through the past decade between Egypt and its development partners and praised the value of the international cooperation in supporting the Egyptian economy. On another note, and being the highest priority in the current situation, the Minister announced that the Government of Egypt has applied a simplified fast track process with regard to approving international financing for the purpose of combating the COVID-19.




 




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The Minister highlighted in detail the preparedness and governance of Egypts healthcare system to control the outbreak. As the potential risks of COVID-19 continue to rise, efforts have been stepped up to enhance infection prevention, and identify alternative mechanisms for testing patients through the establishment of 27 laboratories across the country and additional 4 university laboratories to be added, scaling up Infection Prevention & Control (IPC) program with WHO to prevent transmission & ensure patients & health workers are protected, expanding capacity to conduct up to 200,000 tests within two weeks, recurring 15-Day sterilization campaign to be carried out in cities and villages to stop the virus spread and setting up eight isolation hospitals with capacity of 2000 beds with 1000 ICU beds and 400 ventilators in addition to setting up field hospitals for the admission of mild and asymptotic cases.
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Efforts of Egypt was acknowledged by the WHO as the Director for communicable diseases in WHOs Regional Office mentioned significant work is being done, especially in the areas of early detection, laboratory testing, isolation, contact tracing and referral of patients.
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The Minister added that in connection to dealing with the closure of schools to mitigate the virus spread, while at the same time continuing learning activities, Egypt launched a new digital library available for free to every Egyptian student with learning material (digital objects) extracted from EKB and sorted out/assembled for G1-G12 students in both Arabic and English. In a parallel action, the Ministry of Education & Technical Education (MOETE) decided to deploy a customized version of the Edmodo Learning Management System at around 55,000 schools and train teachers to create their own virtual classrooms and invite their own students (and possibly their parents as well). The response of the Ministry of Education demonstrates the value of international development cooperation as this swift transfer towards digitalization of education was supported by the World Bank and other development partners through the supporting the Egypt Education Reform Project.
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Regarding the macroeconomic implications, the Minister focused on the potential balance of payments and fiscal pressures that could arise given the global consequences of COVID on supply chains, demand, tourism, and trade. This was followed by a detailed discussion about Egypts macroeconomic policy responses both fiscal and monetary as well as structural reforms that are collectively aimed at flattening the recession curve as mentioned by the World Bank most recently.
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Al-Mashat underscored the various fiscal and monetary policies undertaken to date to help reduce the financial impact on households and the private sector to mitigate the possible slowdown in economic activities. The Minister also pointed to the possible impact of the virus on the SDGs.
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The Minister mentioned that efforts to contain the corona virus crisis have expedited structural reforms related to social protection & social safety nets as well as addressing informality. This has been facilitated also by pushing ahead the financial inclusion & digital reform agenda as demonstrated by the recent directives issued by the Central Bank of Egypt.

The Minister also pointed to some of the measures that have been announced in this regard such as a one-off unemployment benefits of (L.E. 500) offered to informal workers registered at the database of the Ministry of Manpower through post offices. Registration, already, included approx. 1 million individuals working in construction, agriculture, fishing, plumbing etc.

On the social protection front; the Minister highlighted 60,000 households were added to Takaful & Karama Program. An additional 100,000 will be added and FY21, budget will increase to 19.3 Billion EGP compared to 18.5 Billion EGP. The Government also increased payments to women community leaders in rural areas from EGP 350 to EGP 900 per month to ensure gender equity.
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In the meantime, the Central Bank pushed forward digital reform, including exempting all domestic money transfers from fees & commissions, aimed to decrease the use of cash, increasing limits on daily value transacted via mobile wallets to be increased to EGP 30,000 (USD 1,900), issuing near-field communication / contactless pre-paid card, improving merchant acceptance landscape by encouraging QR codes & request-to-pay method and the automatic enrollment for customers to internet banking services.
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The Minister noted that all measures to mitigate the impact of the virus will not and should not derail development efforts from its intended purposes especially achieving SDGs.
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Sherry Carlin, The USAID Mission Director in Egypt pinpointed that US has been working with Egypt for more than 40 years; not only on the health sector but also on youth and women empowerment and Education. She confirmed the USAID commitment to continue to support Egypt, especially on this urgent matter; COVID-19.
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Ms. Marina Wes, World Bank Country Director, Egypt, Yemen & Djibouti ?noted that As we are concluding an inspiring and constructive session, I would like to thank H.E. Dr. Rania Al-Mashat for bringing together the Development Partners and showing vision and leadership in critical times. In collaboration with the international development agencies, the World Bank stands ready to support Egypt in its effort to confront the immediate health emergency and mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for the most vulnerable.
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Mr. Walid Labadi, IFC Country Manager in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, mentioned that: This is a challenging time for the private sector in Egypt, the main driver of economic growth and employment. Lives, businesses, jobs, and livelihoods are at risk. He added that IFC is working closely with clients and partners in Egypt to help mitigate the already evident impacts of COVID-19 crisis and support businesses as they continue to operate and retain staff.
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The meeting was attended by representatives from the World Bank, African Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IFC, Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, French Development Agency, USAID, Japanese International Cooperation Agency, the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), German International Cooperation Agency, KFW, Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development, and from the UN Agencies: The Resident Coordinator, UNDP, WFP, IFAD.
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ILO, FAO, UNIDO, UNWOMEN, UNHABITAT, UNAIDS, UNFPA were also participating as well as Ambassadors of Japan, France, South Korea and representatives from EU, Switzerland, Netherland, Canada, Spain, Sweden and Germany.



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MOIC's presentation

MOIC COVID-19 April 4-page-002

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]]>4/5/2020 9:57:32 AM<![CDATA[Abul Gheit reiterates call for putting end to fighting in Libya]]>
Abul Gheit expressed deep regret over the continuity of clashes between the two warring sides after they broke out in western regions a year ago, on April 4, 2019.

This led to the stalling of peace efforts that were brokered by the UN mission in Libya and left hundreds of innocent civilians dead.

Abul Gheit renewed his call to silence the guns in Arab areas of conflict to help focus national efforts to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic, said a source at the AL General Secretariat.

The AL chief urged the Libyan leadership to uphold the country’s interest, immediately start to reduce escalation and abide by a humanitarian truce that leads to a formal, permanent and comprehensive ceasefire on the basis of the UN mission’s proposal made during negotiations of the Joint Military Commission held in Geneva.]]>
4/4/2020 1:55:05 PM
<![CDATA[House affirms support to state's anti-COVID 19 measures]]>
The speaker, in a press release, said the lawmakers of the parliament highly appreciate and support the state's devoted medical staffers who are at the forefront of the fight against the deadly virus.

Abdel Aal further praised decisions took by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to champion staffers of the health sector.]]>
4/3/2020 5:12:43 PM
<![CDATA[PM: Egypt’s coronavirus figures still within range]]>
This raises the official number announced by the Health Ministry on Wednesday evening by about 71 cases, making it the largest daily toll announced by the northeastern African country so far.

Madbouli did not announce the number of deaths. However, the Egyptian Health Ministry on Wednesday announced six new deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 52. The number has likely increased.

In a press conference, Madbouli said the Health Ministry has provided 1,000 fully equipped vehicles serving as mobile clinics, to test citizens nationwide for the novel virus.

The figures of people infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) in Egypt may increase during the next week, Madbouli noted, but they will still be within the middle safe range, as long as this increase is gradual.

He urged citizens inhabiting densely populated governorates to show further commitment to the preventive measures against the spread of the deadly virus.

Since mid-March, the Egyptian government has taken gradual steps in dealing with the coronavirus spread, starting with suspending schools and universities. It also suspended the international flights to mid-April.

Furthermore, a dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed, while all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, casinos, night clubs, bars, shopping centers (malls), and other local shops shut down completely until April 14, 2020.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi on Tuesday has praised the outcome of the measures taken by the state and called on citizens to stick to them.

"The so-far achieved results of the precautionary measures to confront coronavirus (COVID-19) spread in Egypt are good and reassuring," the president said.

“Therefore, I urge all of you to continue following and implementing these measures in order for all of us to go through this crisis and preserve the safety of our home and people.”]]>
4/2/2020 6:44:34 PM
<![CDATA[In focus: What is the medical liability draft law? ]]>
Three draft laws, submitted by MPs Magdy Morshed, Elizabeth Shaker and Ayman Abul Ela, were referred to the Parliament's Health Affairs Committee.

The draft laws stipulate the establishment of a higher committee to receive complaints and investigate service providers, obligating them to provide compulsory insurance for their employees so that the affected patient can get their financial compensation.

The draft laws also stipulate:

1- The formation of a higher committee for medical liability.

2- Holding doctors accountable in the presence of a large number of doctors in the committee, which receives a report that details whether the mistake committed is a medical error or has come as a result of negligence.

3- Medical service providers shall not be arrested or taken into custody due to acts attributed to them during the performance of their work, except by an order of the public prosecutor.

4- A punishment is not imposed in cases that fall under the umbrella of this law, where a breach of medical responsibility is proven in accordance with the final report of the Medical Liability Reporting Authority, and these cases are only considered for civil compensation.

5- In case the workplace of the doctor violates the medical and professional standards, it will be punished by fine not less than the value of the compensation determined by the court or a fine not less than LE 50,000, whichever is more. If the doctor refrains from testifying before court or hides any details during investigation, the doctor will be punished according to the penal code.
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4/2/2020 2:04:08 PM
<![CDATA[Top EU court says eastern states broke law by refusing to host refugees]]>
The Luxembourg-based Court of Justice of the European Union said in its ruling on the divisive matter that has damaged the bloc’s unity in recent years:

“By refusing to comply with the temporary mechanism for the relocation of applicants for international protection, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have failed to fulfil their obligations under European Union law.”]]>
4/2/2020 10:49:49 AM
<![CDATA[Rouhani: U.S. has lost opportunity to lift Iran sanctions amid coronavirus]]>
On Tuesday, U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the possibility that Washington might consider easing sanctions on Iran and other nations to help fight the epidemic, but gave no concrete sign it plans to do so.

“The United States lost the best opportunity to lift sanctions,” Hassan Rouhani said in a televised cabinet meeting. “It was a great opportunity for Americans to apologize ... and to lift the unjust and unfair sanctions on Iran.”

The coronavirus has killed more than 3,000 people in Iran with confirmed infections close to 48,000, making it the worst-hit country in the Middle East and prompting China and the United Nations to urge the United States to ease sanctions.

“Americans could have used this opportunity and told the Iranian nation that they are not against them,” Rouhani said. “Their hostility (toward Iranians) is obvious.”

Friction between Tehran and Washington has increased since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six nations and re-imposed sanctions, crippling Iran’s economy.

Trump has adopted a “maximum pressure” policy on Iran aimed at persuading Tehran to negotiate a broader deal that further constrains its nuclear program, limits its missile program and curbs its use of proxy forces in Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon.

Washington has offered humanitarian assistance to its longtime foe. But Iran’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has rejected the offer.

Although Iranian authorities have said U.S. sanctions had hindered its efforts to curb the outbreak, Rouhani said :”The sanctions have failed to hamper our efforts to fight against the coronavirus outbreak.”

“We are almost self-sufficient in producing all necessary equipment to fight the coronavirus. We have been much more successful than many other countries in the fight against this disease,” Rouhani said.


Several countries, including the United Arab Emirates, China, Britain, France, Qatar and Turkey, have sent shipments of medical supplies, including gloves and surgical masks, to Iran.

In the first transaction conducted under a trade mechanism set up to barter humanitarian goods and food after Washington’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Germany said on Tuesday that France, Germany and Britain had exported medical goods to Iran.

]]>
4/1/2020 1:28:34 PM
<![CDATA[China reports fewer new coronavirus cases, starts posting asymptomatic cases daily]]>
There were 36 new cases on Tuesday, almost all of them involving travelers arriving from overseas, the National Health Commission said, down from 48 a day earlier, and bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 81,554.

But the tally excludes the 130 new cases involving people who do not exhibit symptoms of the highly contagious disease, statistics from the health authority showed. China began publishing daily data on asymptomatic cases on Wednesday.

Some other countries include asymptomatic cases that test positive for their virus in the overall tally of confirmed cases, as per World Health Organization guidelines.

People have expressed fears on Chinese social media that asymptomatic carriers could be spreading the virus unknowingly, especially as authorities are easing travel restrictions from the epidemic’s hotspots, now that infections have subsided.

WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove told a conference in Geneva last week that in the majority of cases, the main drivers of coronavirus transmission were symptomatic patients, and many of the people listed as “asymptomatic” would go on to develop symptoms a few days after their diagnosis.

But China has now decided that greater screening needed to be devoted to asymptomatic cases and the people with whom they have been in contact.

The National Health Commission reported that there were 1,367 asymptomatic cases under observation as of Tuesday, down from 1,541 on Monday.

Seven deaths from the virus were reported on Tuesday, up from just one the day before. All but one took place in Hubei province, where the epidemic began.

The one reported new case of a local infection on Tuesday was in Guangdong province.

The total number of imported cases stood at 806, but while this category accounts for a small percentage of the overall number of confirmed cases, authorities have barred most foreigners from entering and introduced more rigorous checks on citizens returning from abroad as they fear imported cases could trigger a second wave of infection.
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3/31/2020 10:57:00 AM
<![CDATA[Sudanese PM to visit Cairo, Addis Ababa to resume Renaissance dam talks]]>
In a phone call with US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchen on March 26, 2020, Hamdouk said that the Washington-held meetings on the dam with the Foreign Ministers and Ministers of Water Resources of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia have reached a great achievement, the cabinet said.

The Sudanese Prime Minister also affirmed that the file of the dam is a pressing issue and the three countries should resume the negotiations to reach a final agreement on it.

In a statement by the US Treasury Department, both officials discussed the impact of the coronavirus on the people of Sudan and the strain placed on their health system.

“They discussed the importance of international cooperation. The Secretary and the Prime Minister also reaffirmed their commitment to reach a fair solution on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” the statement read.

Late February 2020, the US, WB-brokered talks between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan reached a deadlock after Ethiopia abstained from attending the meeting.

Ethiopia had announced at that time that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries. The Ethiopian announcement came in response to an American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement among Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.

Since then, Egypt diplomatically has been lobbying against the Ethiopian intransigence concerning the dam issue; Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made European and African tours to discuss the file of the Ethiopian dam with a number of world leaders.

On March 21, 2020, Egyptian Minister of Water Resources and Irrigation Mohamed Abdel-Atti said that Ethiopia aims to impede reaching an agreement on the rules of operating the dam and filling its reservoir with the Nile water.

In an interview with the “DMC Evening” talk show on the DMC channel, the minister added that Egypt has asked Ethiopia to not fill the dam’s reservoir with water during the drought period or to allow small quantities of water to not cause harm to Egypt’s share. However, he added, the Ethiopian side does not want to abide by any commitments, saying “we have given ultimate flexibility.”

The difference between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.
]]>
3/30/2020 8:20:21 PM
<![CDATA[With PM Johnson ill, coronavirus strikes at heart of British politics]]>
It isn’t a huge surprise.

There can be no way to know if they infected each other or caught the illness from another person, or different people. But the three men had met a handful of times in person over the previous 10 days, according to Johnson’s official diary, to formulate Britain’s response to the outbreak.

On Tuesday of last week, when most ministers video-conferenced into a cabinet meeting, Health Secretary Matt Hancock and chief medical officer Chris Whitty sat in the room with Johnson.

Whitty had also stood alongside the prime minister at three of the 11 news conferences on the coronavirus since March 16.

Now the question on the lips of many at Downing Street and beyond is: how many other people did the UK prime minister come into contact with before testing positive?

Asked about whether those who became ill believed they had done so from meeting Johnson, a government source noted that scientists say it takes around five days from transmission to developing symptoms so people who became ill at the same time “almost certainly” did not give it to one another.

Johnson is the first world leader to announce he is sick with COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. But other administrations have faced similar questions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and U.S. President Donald Trump say they have tested negative for coronavirus, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau went into self-isolation earlier this month after his wife tested positive.

Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, has tested positive, as have several members of the U.S. Congress.

For politicians, who can meet hundreds of people every day, the coronavirus crisis requires a balance between being seen to lead their people while also keeping a safe distance.

Johnson’s spokesman, asked repeatedly about the prime minister’s contacts with other people, told reporters on Friday the prime minister had not been in close proximity with anyone “from the moment he had symptoms”.

According to Johnson’s statement, that would mean Thursday of last week. And according to his public agenda, Johnson had scaled back in-person meetings, in accordance with the UK’s wider lockdown rules, from Monday March 23.

FACE-TO-FACE MEETINGS

Yet scientists say the virus’ incubation period is estimated at between one and 14 days, and there have been anecdotal accounts of people spreading the disease without having symptoms.

And despite the scaling back, Johnson still met Whitty in person or via videolink at least eight times in the last two weeks and Hancock around nine, according to his diary, to plot Britain’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Meetings were also held with other staff, according to two sources close to the prime minister. One Downing Street source said that 75 of the 200 staff who usually work at Number 10 — an approximately 100-room town house -– are still working there in separate rather than overlapping shifts to reduce the risk of infection.

Johnson also had regular in-person news conferences with journalists at Downing Street until March 24, when he switched to ones where the journalists attended by video link. Some journalists who attended the in-person conferences have said via social media or have told colleagues that they are now self-isolating.

“Here in Number 10 we have been observing the advice ... we have wherever possible been using video conferencing, you’ll have seen the prime minister ensuring he is a safe distance from colleagues when he is taking part in press conferences,” Johnson’s spokesman said on Friday.

The prime minister also ventured beyond Downing Street last week. On Wednesday, a day before his positive test, Johnson answered questions at a weekly session in parliament’s House of Commons chamber.

In the live video, Johnson is seen speaking with several lawmakers. Minister for Scotland Alister Jack, who sat next to Johnson before the session, said on Saturday he had developed a temperature and a cough and was now working from home in isolation.

Asked whether Jack believed suggestions he may have become ill in parliament that day, the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland declined to comment, saying it had nothing to add to Saturday’s statement.

DISTANCING
At first, Britain’s response to the spread of the virus was not as stringent as in other countries. It was only at the beginning of the week from March 16 that the UK position began changing – and Johnson’s rhythm too.

In addition to more video-conferences, audiences with Queen Elizabeth — usually held weekly – have been held by telephone for the last two weeks, according to Johnson’s spokesman.

Schools across the UK were closed from March 20, and the prime minister announced three days later that all shops – except for the most essential ones – would be closed.

On Friday, just five hours after Johnson said he had tested positive for coronavirus, Whitty wrote on Twitter that “after experiencing symptoms compatible with COVID-19 last night ... I will be self-isolating at home for the next seven days”. He said he would continue to advise the government.

The same day, Hancock said he had also tested positive and was self-isolating at home with mild symptoms. He has since been active on Twitter, but has not commented on his condition.

The health ministry said on Sunday it could offer no update on the conditions of Hancock or Whitty.

Apart from Hancock and Whitty, the other person who has spent the most time working on the British government’s response is the government’s chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance.

Whitty, Johnson and Vallance were seen so often at news conferences together in the second and third weeks of March that they were called the “three amigos” in reference to a 1986 comedy with Steve Martin.

After Johnson made his announcement, Vallance tweeted that he had no symptoms. Vallance could not be reached for comment.

]]>
3/29/2020 12:29:00 PM
<![CDATA[Russia weighs nationwide coronavirus lockdown after Moscow acts]]>
Russia’s official nationwide tally of coronavirus cases rose by 302 on Monday, taking the total to 1,836. Nine people across Russia have died, the authorities say.

Authorities in Moscow have ordered residents to stay at home from Monday, their toughest move yet to slow the spread of the virus after the number of official cases in the Russian capital passed the 1,000 mark.

Mishustin said he thought the measures now needed to be rolled out nationwide.

“I ask the leaders of (Russia’s regions) to pay attention to (Moscow’s) experience and to work out the possibility of introducing such measures in their regions,” he said.

Some regions, like Russia’s Arctic region of Murmansk, which shares a border with Finland and Norway, have already acted, while most others in the world’s largest country by territory have yet to do so.

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said 20% of residents were ignoring his order to self-isolate, but that he hoped an IT system would be operational by the end of the week that would allow authorities to control the movement of people.

Muscovites are only allowed to go out to buy food or medicines at their nearest shop, get urgent medical treatment, walk the dog, or take out the bins, under the new rules.

“This may now seem to some of you like some kind of game, a kind of Hollywood thriller. This is no game...,” Dmitry Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Security Council, said in a video address.

“Unfortunately, what is happening now is a real threat to all of us and to all of human civilization,” said Medvedev, who was prime minister until earlier this year.

Russia has so far got off more lightly than many European countries, but some doctors have voiced scepticism about the accuracy of its figures given what they say has been the patchy nature and quality of testing, allegations that the authorities deny.

According to a survey by the Levada Center, only 16% of Russians fully trust official information about the coronavirus, while 24% said they did not trust it at all.]]>
3/29/2020 12:27:00 PM
<![CDATA[Combat persists in Syria’s Idlib in less than 1 month of truce]]>
As reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the shelling targeted the towns of al-Bara, Sfohen, and Kafr Aweed in Jabal al-Zawiyah in the southern countryside of Idlib.

SOHR indicated that militants struck a building of the Syrian Armed Forces in Kafr al-Batikh killing two soldiers and injuring others on March 27. Also, a soldier was killed by a sniper in Atarib southern Aleppo.

The Syrian Arab Army is bringing reinforcements in Saraqeb, other areas eastern Idlib and near the administrative borders with Aleppo. Iran-backed militias have been deploying near Saraqeb city in the eastern countryside of Idlib, the vicinity of Kafr Nubl city in the southern countryside of the governorate and other positions in Jabal Al-Zawiyah.

On March 24, the Russian Ministry of Defense declared that two Turkish armored vehicles were targeted by militants in Idlib’s de-escalation zone, and that two Turkish soldiers were injured. The militants planted two explosives on the road where a Turkish convoy was passing near Safohene village.

The attack was executed by militants who are not affiliated to Turkey. Those launched seven strikes the day before.

On March 19, the Turkish Ministry of Defense declared that two of its soldiers were killed in Syria without revealing details. However, SOHR unveiled on the same day that the vehicles carrying them were targeted by explosives on the M4 highway connecting Aleppo and Latakia passing through Idlib.

The incident constitutes the first human loss for Turkey since the March 6 truce between its troops and militants on one hand and the Syrian Arab Army on the other hand has gone into effect.

Uncertainty over number of casualties in Idlib's engagements

CAIRO - 29 February 2020: Turkish opposition platforms reported according to military sources that the number of soldiers killed in Syria's Idlib since February 27 recorded 200 while that of the injured is 70-80.




On the other hand, Turkey started last week establishing three new checkpoints to the west of Jisr al-Shughur city in Idlib adding up to 12 existing ones. The new ones are located in the villages of Badama, Najiya, and Al Zainiyah.

For the second time since joint patrols started on March 15, Russia and Turkey had to shrink the patrolled areas due to security fears. Turkey was supposed to patrol six kilometers northern the road, while Russia was due to patrol six meters southern the road.

Militants force Turkey, Russia to shrink patrolled area on day 1

CAIRO - 17 March 2020: Hundreds of Turkey-backed militants blocked sections of the M4 highway connecting Aleppo with Latakia, pushing Turkey and Russia to shrink the area of their joint patrols that started on March 15 since the first day.



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3/28/2020 6:02:44 PM
<![CDATA[Public prosecution: COVID-19 rumor-mongers may be jailed for 5 yrs, fined EGP 20K]]>
In a press statement, the prosecution said that legal action will be taken in conformity with articles no. (80), (102) and (188) of the criminal law.

The prosecution further added that the punishment aims at standing up to rumor-mongers, who seek to disturb public order and stir up panic among citizens.

The prosecution called on citizens to verify the authenticity of news published on social media platforms.]]>
3/28/2020 3:36:24 PM
<![CDATA[Dozens of Syrian mercenaries in Libya killed in 1 week]]>
The breakdown indicated by the LNA is 71 from the Second Corps, and 32 from the Third Corps. Mercenaries affiliated to the Second Corps are 35 from the Sultan Murad Brigade, nine from Al-Moatasim Division, 27 from Al-Hamzat Brigade including leader Abou Hassan al-Hamzawy.

Mercenaries affiliated to the Third Corp are eight from Al Nusra Front, 13 from Afrin-based Al Majd Corps, and 1 from the North Hawks Brigade.

SOHR reported Wednesday that eight Turkey-backed militants - fighting in the ranks of Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) - were killed in clashes with the Libyan National Army (LNA) so that the total figure becomes 151 since the beginning of this year.

The observatory had reported earlier this month that the number of fatalities among Syrian mercenaries in Libya recorded 117.

The clashes took place in Salah El Din district south of Tripoli, Al Ramla near Tripoli airport, Al Hadba neighborhood, Misrata outskirts, and others. The LNA also captured a Syrian militant.

The militants killed belonged to Aleppo-based Al-Moatasim Division, Sultan Murad Brigade, and Al-Hamzat Brigade, Raqqah-based North Hawks Brigade, and Suleiman Shah Brigade operating in Aleppo and Latakia.

SOHR revealed that the bodies of some of those were repatriated to Syria and buried in the areas controlled by armed groups in Aleppo countryside’s Deraa Al Forat district.


The GNA militias launched on Wednesday a failed attack against Oqba Ibn Nafea Airbase in Watiya District western Tripoli calling the operation the Peace Storm, as declared by the LNA Spokesperson Ahmed al-Mesmary. Engagements took place 12 kilometers away from the airbase and the LNA jets struck militias’ locations.

4 Turkish soldiers, chief Syrian mercenary killed in Libya

CAIRO - 23 March 2020: Commander of the Libyan Western Military Zone Mabrouk al-Ghazwy said in a video-taped speech on Sunday that four Turkish soldiers and a Syrian militant commander were killed in the latest clashes southern Tripoli. Those were fighting in the ranks of the militias of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the Libyan capital.




SOHR had reported that the number of Syrian militants who arrived in “Tripoli” until this month had recorded nearly 4,750 while around 1,900 others were receiving training in Turkey. SOHR also revealed that nearly 150 of such mercenaries left Libya for Europe.

The recruitment pool is Afrin, areas under the control of “Euphrates Shield” factions and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (NES). Turkey had targeted recruiting 6,000 mercenaries, and was able to attract more than that number. Yet, recruitment is still ongoing.

Turkey has been backing Tripoli militias after it had signed in December two MoUs with the GNA - which is an interim non-elected UN-recognized government - to achieve cooperation in the sectors of defense and gas drilling in the Mediterranean.
]]>
3/28/2020 1:58:07 PM
<![CDATA[Israeli forces fire at Palestinian farmers in Khan Younis]]>
Moreover, the occupation forces forced them to leave the area, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.

The soldiers stationed behind the border fence east of Khan Younis opened fire at herders east of Abasan town and at farmers east of al-Qarara town.

No injuries were reported.

Soldiers regularly open fire at people near the border fence, including farmers attending to their land, in order to keep them as far from the border as possible. ]]>
3/28/2020 1:34:27 PM
<![CDATA[President of Libyan National Forces Alliance quarantined in Egypt]]>
Jibril’s health is unstable and he is quarantined in a hospital in Cairo as his condition did not allow him to be transported to the isolation hospital in Marsa Matrouh, the official added.

Egypt’s Health Ministry announced Thursday that 39 new cases have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total number of infections in Egypt to 495.

The Egyptian government has taken gradual steps in dealing with the coronavirus spread, starting from banning the study at schools and universities and suspending the international flights to mid-April. A partial curfew was imposed, while all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, casinos, night clubs, bars, shopping centers (malls), and other local shops shut down completely until March 14, 2020.

Meanwhile, all mosques and Islamic places of worship across Egypt were closed for two weeks starting from March 21, 2020, to curb the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to this, the international aviation movement has been suspended for more two weeks until mid-April.

The virus was announced as a pandemic by WHO on March 10, 2020. As yet, the global infected cases of the virus reached 552,589 people and 25,042 deaths were reported, while the recovered cases rose to 128,704.
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3/27/2020 3:39:55 PM
<![CDATA[Trump, Xi speak after US, China trade barbs on coronavirus]]>
In a tweet, the US president described his first interaction with his Chinese counterpart since the outbreak began three months ago as "very good".

"China has been through much [and] has developed a strong understanding of the Virus," Trump added. "We are working closely together. Much respect!"

Chinese state media said that Xi had spoken with Trump "at the invitation of the US side", and offered to "unreservedly share [China’s] experience in prevention and control efforts, and treatment with the World Health Organization and countries including the US".

Over recent days, Trump has stopped referring to the coronavirus as "the Chinese virus", which had angered officials in Beijing and triggered domestic criticism that he was stoking anti-Asian sentiment as the virus spread rapidly across the US.

US officials countered that the designation was fair in light of some Chinese diplomats’ endorsement of unproven conspiracy theories blaming the US military for the outbreak, which began in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December or November.

However, other senior Trump administration officials were continuing to insist that the virus should be referred to as "the Wuhan coronavirus".

The war of words threatened to impede any prospects of meaningful co-operation between the US and China as the pandemic continued to spread rapidly around the world. It also coincided with a charm offensive by Beijing heralding its dispatch of medical supplies and teams to European nations struggling to contain the pandemic.

Trump and Xi spoke just hours after the number of officially confirmed cases in the US exceeded those in China. The Chinese foreign ministry also announced late on Thursday that it would ban almost all foreign nationals from entering the country even if they held valid work and residential permits.

While the number of locally transmitted cases in China has dwindled over recent weeks, the government has been alarmed by a spike in so-called imported cases from people arriving in the world’s most populous nation. Most of the carriers, however, have been Chinese nationals.

China’s aviation regulator also said on Thursday that it would restrict all international airlines still operating flights to and from China to just one weekly service, in a move that will make it even more difficult for expatriate Chinese to return home.

The US has recorded 85,505 coronavirus cases with 1,288 deaths, compared with 81,340 and 3,292 respectively in China. But China’s official case numbers, unlike most other countries’, do not include "asymptomatic" carriers who do not exhibit any symptoms. If such cases were included, it is estimated that China’s official count could be as much as 50 percent higher

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3/27/2020 1:50:22 PM
<![CDATA[World depends on G20 to face coronavirus: King Salman]]>
In his word during a virtual G20 meeting, King Salman said that the world depends on the G20 to face the virus.

"As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges to healthcare systems and the global economy, we convene this extraordinary G20 summit to unite efforts towards a global response, he said on Twitter. ]]>
3/26/2020 4:29:49 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry, foreign ministers assistants discuss developments to combat coronavirus]]>
According to a statement issued by the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Hafez, Shoukry was briefed on the efforts exerted by the Egyptian missions abroad in this regard, especially concerning coordination with the relevant authorities in the countries of accreditation in order to facilitate the return of Egyptians stranded abroad in cooperation with the relevant Egyptian authorities.

The statement added that the Egyptian government is contacting with members of the Egyptian communities to check on them and to provide all means of support and assistance, and monitor the health conditions of citizens who have been infected in other countries.

Hafez added that Minister Shoukry also discussed all the precautionary measures and procedures undertaken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to combat the spread of the virus, in order to ensure the safety of the Ministry's employees and those visiting the premises.

It is worth noting that the Foreign Minister had instructed the heads of the diplomatic missions abroad to convey a message to the members of the Egyptian community in their countries of accreditation regarding the Egyptian state efforts to combat the spread of the virus, and to dedicate means of communication to responding to all inquiries and requests of Egyptian citizens abroad.]]>
3/26/2020 11:47:05 AM
<![CDATA[G20 leaders to convene remotely as coronavirus cases near half a million]]>
G20 finance ministers and central bankers agreed this week to develop an “action plan” to respond to the outbreak, which the International Monetary Fund expects will trigger a global recession, but they offered few details.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will address the leaders to seek support for ramping up funding and production of personal protection equipment for health workers amid a worldwide shortage.

“We have a global responsibility as humanity and especially those countries like the G20...” Tedros told a news conference in Geneva late on Wednesday. “They should be able to support countries all over the world...”

King Salman of Saudi Arabia, which as this year’s G20 chair called for the extraordinary virtual summit, tweeted overnight that its goal was “to unite efforts towards a global response.”

There are growing concerns about protectionist measures being discussed or adopted as countries scramble to respond to the virus. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged G20 leaders to match a pledge by countries like Australia and Canada to keep supply chains open and avoid export controls.

The video-conference scheduled for 1200 GMT also risks complications from an oil price war between two members, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and rising tensions between two others, the United States and China, over the origin of the virus.

In preparatory talks, China and the United States agreed to call a timeout on their coronavirus blame game, the South China Morning Post reported citing diplomatic sources.

But talks among U.N. Security Council nations have stalled over U.S. insistence that any joint statement call attention to the coronavirus’ origins in China, NBC News reported. Outbreaks, which began in central China late last year, have been reported in 196 countries.

“The U.S.-China dynamic is pivotal to successful G20 coordination, never more so than now as countries grapple 24/7 to confront and contain a pandemic we do not yet fully understand,” former acting U.S. Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro said.

Meanwhile, Washington may use the summit to launch a debate about ending an oil price war between Riyadh and Moscow that has pushed crude prices to near 20-year lows as the pandemic destroyed global demand, The Wall Street Journal reported.

]]>
3/26/2020 11:13:36 AM
<![CDATA[Syrian ceasefire critical to combating coronavirus -U.N., Red Cross]]>
Prisoners and millions of displaced people, especially those in rebel-held Idlib in the northwest, are especially vulnerable after nine years of war, they said.

Syrians are "acutely vulnerable to COVID-19," Geir Pedersen, the U.N. special envoy for Syria, said in a statement, and he appealed on humanitarian grounds for "large-scale releases of detainees and abductees."

Fabrizio Carboni, ICRC regional director for the Near and Middle East, echoed the call for a ceasefire.

"Because to some extent we can't fight two battles at the same time," Carboni said in an interview with Reuters. "We can't dedicate time and energy to what the pandemic response requires and at the same time be addressing the emergency needs of people recently displaced or destitute."

Carboni disclosed that the Swiss-based aid agency has asked Syrian authorities to allow it to help with infection prevention measures and to provide hygiene supplies at nine central prisons.

"Now we hope that the authorities will answer positively very soon to our proposal," he said. "We believe that people detained and displaced are even more vulnerable than the general population."

The ICRC, whose largest humanitarian operation worldwide is in Syria, is the only agency allowed into its detention centres - where some experts estimate some 130,000 people are held.

The Assad government announced on Sunday its first coronavirus case after unconfirmed reports suggested the coronavirus had been detected but covered up, a charge officials denied.

"Healthcare facilities have been destroyed or are degraded. There is a shortage of key medical equipment and health professionals," Pedersen said.

The ICRC's Carboni said that while Syrian health officials say the number of cases is quite limited, quick action is needed to halt a spread, including the provision of clean water.

"Even if there are five or 10 cases, our work would still be to focus on making sure that water reaches people because without water you can't wash your hands," he said.

In al-Hasakah, the largest city in the northeast, a pumping station providing water to 800,000 people has been out of operation for three days and needs repair, he said.

"We installed 45 water tanks all around the city and are water trucking until we can fix this pumping station and can have access," Carboni said.

The focus across Syria must be on prevention, he said. "Because when they start having cases, and if it gets out of hand, it's going to be very, very difficult to address, as we can see in many Western countries where they have way more sophisticated health systems," Carboni said.

He also noted the difficulties of putting in place general health guidance for containing the spread of the coronavirus. "The way to address the pandemic is to stay home," Carboni said. "But when you are an IDP (internally displaced person), you don't have a home. How do you do that? Certainly social distancing becomes a luxury."

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3/25/2020 8:05:49 AM
<![CDATA[G20 leaders to speak on Thursday about coronavirus, sources say]]>
G20 finance ministers and central bankers agreed during a separate video conference on Monday to develop an “action plan” to respond to the outbreak, which the International Monetary Fund expects will trigger a global recession. A subsequent statement from the Saudi G20 secretariat offered few details.

The extraordinary leaders’ summit will be complicated by an oil price war between two members, Saudi Arabia and Russia, and rising tensions between two others, the United States and China, over the origin of the virus, which has infected 378,000 people globally and killed more than 16,500.

IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has welcomed the fiscal and monetary steps taken by some countries, but said more would be needed, especially in the fiscal arena.

Agathe Demarais, global forecasting director at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said given monetary policy constraints, the G20 countries’ only option to support growth might be fiscal stimulus, but even that remains in question.

“This is because the introduction of fiscal stimulus measures may raise the risk of a debt crisis once the coronavirus epidemic is over; such a prospect would have a devastating effect on global growth,” she said.

“This is something that G20 leaders will have in mind if they go for stimulus packages.”]]>
3/24/2020 11:24:52 AM
<![CDATA[4 Turkish soldiers, chief Syrian mercenary killed in Libya ]]>
Those were fighting in the ranks of the militias of the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in the Libyan capital. The Libyan National Army (LNA) captured Sirte earlier this year, and has been trying to enter Misrata and Tripoli after encircling them. The GNA is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations.

"Ghazwy clarified that the Turkish soldiers were killed duringLNA'ssiege of Ain Zara district that started on March 17," as reported by Al Arabiya. The Syrian chief militant died as a result of his injury after he had been captured by the LNA.

The mercenary confessed that 10 Turkish soldiers and eight Syrians fled after the ACV-15 armored combat vehicle carrying them was targeted by the LNA on Sunday as it crossed a defensive line to launch an attack.

The squad requested backup from Mitiga Airbase controlled by the GNA militias but it could not reach them due to the siege.

Ghazwy stated that the LNA does not mind handing the bodies to the families through the Libyan Red Crescent.

LNA Spokesperson Ahmed al-Mesmary declared on Sunday on his Facebook page that the militias “are violating the truce in Al-Hayrah district southern Tripoli, and striking the forces concentrations by artillery.”

On Monday, Mesmary announced that the militias are heavily striking Shershara area northern Tarhouna, which lies southeast of Tripoli, by Grad missiles. In parallel, the militias are randomly striking Qasr Bin Ghashir and Wadi al-Rabie neighborhoods eastern Tripoli. The spokesperson added that the militias’ commander threatens to launch more operations against the city.

"A ship called PRAY, raising Sierra Leone's flag, was preparing to leave the Port of Istanbul on Thursday to deliver arms to the GNA militias,"reported the Libyan Observatory newspaper. The owning company changed the ship’s name into ANA after it had been targeted at Tripoli port by the LNA in February. The strike incurred the death of three Turkish officers that were standing nearby. At the time, it raised the flag of Albania.

The ship, accompanied by Turkish frigates, is delivering armored vehicles, and a Hawk Radar system to replace the one that was destroyed in Mitiga Airbase by the LNA.
]]>
3/23/2020 4:54:17 PM
<![CDATA[Rouhani: U.S. should lift sanctions if it wants to help Iran amid coronavirus]]>
“American leaders are lying ... If they want to help Iran, all they need to do is to lift sanctions .... Then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak,” Rouhani said in a televised speech.

Iran is the Middle Eastern nation worst hit by coronavirus, with around 1,700 deaths, over 21,000 infected people and one person dying from the virus every 10 minutes, according to the health ministry.

Washington has offered humanitarian assistance to its longtime foe. But the country’s top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday rejected the offer.

Tensions between the two countries have been running high since 2018, when U.S. President Donald Trump exited Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six world powers and reimposed sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy.

Iranian authorities have blamed U.S. sanctions for hampering its efforts to curb the outbreak and Rouhani has urged Americans to call on their government to lift sanctions as Iran fights the coronavirus.

“U.S. is NOT listening, impeding global fight against #COVID19. The ONLY remedy: DEFY U.S. mass punishment. MORAL & PRAGMATIC imperative,” Tweeted Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Monday.

But the United States has sent Iran a blunt message: the spread of the virus will not save it from U.S. sanctions that are choking off its oil revenues and isolating its economy.

“You have blocked Iran’s oil exports, you have stopped Iran’s banking transactions... Your help offer is the biggest lie in the history,” Rouhani said.]]>
3/23/2020 10:37:56 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt: Ethiopia impedes reaching agreement on Renaissance dam]]>
In an interview with the “DMC Evening” talk show on the DMC channel on Saturday, the minister added that Egypt has asked Ethiopia to not fill the dam’s reservoir with water during the drought period or to allow small quantities of water to not cause harms to Egypt’s share. However, he added, the Ethiopian side does not want to abide by any commitments, saying “we have given ultimate flexibility.”

A project such as the Renaissance Dam has always had problems and it was scheduled to complete its building in 2014, but has not been completed yet.

Abdel-Atti added that Ethiopia tries to impede reaching an agreement on the dam since 2011 as it had done with the three other dams with Kenya, which has been harmed due to the Ethiopian attitude without reaching any deals.

Ethiopia has been advised to conduct some adjustments to the dam construction and that is why its building did not complete on time, said Abdel-Attai adding that they did not update us on the latest development concerning the construction of the dam.

The difference between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.

Late February 2020, Ethiopia had announced that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries. The Ethiopian announcement came in response to an American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement among Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.

On March 1, 2020, Egypt slammed the Ethiopian Government after the latter criticized the final round of U.S.and WB-brokered negotiations on the GERD.

Since then, Egypt diplomatically has been lobbying against the Ethiopian intransigence concerning the dam issue; Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry made European and African tours to discuss the file of the Ethiopian dam with a number of world leaders.
]]>
3/22/2020 7:46:35 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi urges citizens to comply with coronavirus measures, stop overbuying]]>
In a meeting with a number of Egyptian women as Egypt celebrates its own Women’s Day, as well as some of the ministers including Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli and Health Minister Hala Zayed, Sisi asked citizens to stick to instructions and stay at home for two weeks, to overcome the current health crisis and help limit infection.

The president ordered the Ministry of State for Information to raise awareness among people about the coronavirus, including medical instructions.



Sisi said that the authorities, over six years, have been transparent while informing citizens and have disclosed all available information, affirming that some people “always doubt our procedures.”

He affirmed that the state is taking “unprecedented” measures to fight coronavirus and has nothing to hide about the number of those infected with the novel coronavirus.

He referred to the coronavirus cases detected on board the Nile cruise ship in Upper Egypt’s Luxor, saying that authorities have sterilized the ship and tested all persons onboard. The incident took place early in March. Dozens of coronavirus cases on board were confirmed, starting with a Taiwanese-American tourist.

w2

Concerning food and commodity, Sisi said Egypt does not have any shortage in goods currently, urging citizens not to overbuy products as the country already has sufficient reserves of food for at least the next three months.

The president thanked Egyptian youth for the efforts they made to deal with such global crises, which he said has hit 177 countries. He also paid tribute to the medical sector in Egypt, including doctors and nurses, saying that they are “fighting in a battle that is similar to a real war.”



Sisi has earlier ordered allocating LE 100 billion ($6.4 billion), to fund a coronavirus strategy and related precautionary measures.

Nine new coronavirus cases were detected on Saturday, all of them are Egyptians, who were in contact with positive cases, the Health Ministry said.

Two more deaths were confirmed; raising the total number to 10.

The new fatalities were a 68-year-old Egyptian woman and a 75-year-old man. Both of them are from Giza governorate.

Up to 41 coronavirus patients have totally recovered so far, the ministry spokesman said.

In order to curb the spread of the deadly virus, the state decided to close all mosques and Islamic places of worship across Egypt for two weeks starting from March 21, 2020. Also, Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria announced a temporary closure of all churches, and the suspension of all rituals and activities.

In streets, the Egyptian Cabinet ordered the closure of all restaurants, cafes, cafeterias, casinos, night clubs, bars, shopping centers (malls), and other local shops from 7:00 pm (Cairo time) to 6:00 pm across the nation. The decision excludes pharmacies, bakeries, grocery stores, supermarkets, and the delivery service.]]>
3/22/2020 6:10:08 PM
<![CDATA[Academic final exams likely to be postponed as Covid-19 persists]]>
The Supreme Council of Universities said in a Saturday statement that online platforms will continue to provide curricular services for the students without an internet charge.

Universities, schools and kindergartens were closed March 14 for two weeks; it is possible that the suspension will be extended due to coronavirus.

The council thanked the staff at all universities for their rapid support to remote learning, as well as the staff at hospitals of universities. Meanwhile, disinfecting university facilities will continue to be carried out.

The score of the mid-term exam will be added to the final test, will may be postponed and held no earlier than May 30.

Each university will decide for itself the date of the exam of its postgraduate students, given that the period of the suspension is not included in the time frame of finishing the student’s thesis.]]>
3/21/2020 4:38:49 PM
<![CDATA[Niger's president receives message from Sisi on GERD]]>
Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who is on his last African leg, delivered the message during his meeting with Issoufou on the latest developments related to the Ethiopian dam's file, as well as bilateral ties and a host of issues of mutual interest, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez said.

Shoukry conveyed Sisi's greetings to Issoufou, reviewing Egypt's efforts to reach a just and balanced agreement over the past years.

Issoufou, in turn, hailed Egypt's efforts during GERD negotiations.

He asserted the importance of respecting the international law principles, citing that Niger River is an example, as any related project, set to be established, should be agreed by all parties.

The two sides looked forward to boosting bilateral relations in various domains. ]]>
3/21/2020 11:41:56 AM
<![CDATA[Egypt's State Security Prosecution releases 15 detained politicians ]]>
The released detainees were accused of spreading false news and joining a banned group.

Nafaa was detained after he posted a tweet criticizing President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s regime in September 2019.

Former Presidential campaigner and then turned critic Hazem Abdel-Azim has been brought before the state’s security prosecution for accusations of belonging to an outlawed group and disseminating fake news in May 2018.
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3/19/2020 4:37:11 PM
<![CDATA[Work team in each ministry, govt body to follow up sanitization measures: PM]]>
During the meeting, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli decided that a work team will be formed in each ministry or governmental body to make sure that the cleaning and sanitizing measures are thoroughly taken.

Zayed said that the number of coronavirus cases reached 157 among Egyptians, in addition to 53 foreigners until Wednesday.

She also reviewed the measures taken to curb the spread of the virus including the quarantine measures and following up the program of those returning from outside the country.

Zayed also pointed out to the cooperation of the Health Ministry with the Armed Forces to implement a sanitization plan to the hotels in the tourist governorates, in addition to sanitizing ports, airports and transport vehicles to guarantee that the coronavirus does not spread. ]]>
3/19/2020 3:59:44 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry hands over message to Tanzanian president on GERD file]]>
Tanzanian Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi received Sisi's message during talks with Shoukry who is on a tour of some African countries including South Africa, Tanzania and Burundi to hand over messages from President Sisi to their leaders, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez.

Shoukry conveyed the greetings of president Sisi to his Tanzanian counterpart and reviewed during his talks with Tanzanian officials the latest developments in GERD talks by Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopian under the auspices of the United States and the World Bank.

The Tanzanian top diplomat voiced appreciation of Egypt's efforts and the flexibility it has shown during the US-sponsored talks to reach an agreement securing the interests of the three Nile Basin countries.

Shoukry praised the Egyptian-Tanzanian relations, reaffirming Cairo's keenness on supporting Tanzania's development efforts, Hafez concluded.]]>
3/19/2020 3:15:12 PM
<![CDATA[U.S. sanctions Iran, seeks release of Americans amid coronavirus outbreak]]>
Iran is considering freeing some U.S. citizens, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a news conference where he made clear Washington will maintain its maximum-pressure campaign to choke off Tehran's ability to export its oil.

The campaign, instituted after President Donald Trump in 2018 unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal Iran struck with six major powers, aims to force Iran to limit its nuclear, missile and regional activities.

Pompeo on Tuesday said the State Department is blacklisting nine entities based in South Africa, Hong Kong and China, as well as three Iranian individuals, for engaging in "significant transactions" to trade in Iranian petrochemicals.

While he did not name them, Pompeo said the step included blacklisting Iran’s armed forces social security investment company and its director for investing in sanctioned entities.

Separately, the Commerce Department said it will add six people - including five Iranian nuclear scientists - and 18 corporations to the U.S. "Entity List" for aiding Iran’s nuclear program, Pakistan’s unsafeguarded nuclear and missile programs, and Russian military modernization efforts.

Without naming them, the Commerce Department said the move covers one company in Iran, two entities in China, nine in Pakistan, and five in the United Arab Emirates and will constrict the export of certain items to them.

The Entity List names foreign parties that are barred from receiving some or all items subject to U.S. export regulations unless the exporter secures a license, according to the department.

On Monday, sources familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue said the United States was unlikely to ease sanctions on Iran despite an appeal from China that it do so because of the pandemic.

Pompeo urged Iran to free U.S. citizens it has detained as a humanitarian gesture because of coronavirus. Iran has reported 16,169 coronavirus cases and 988 deaths in one of the worst national outbreaks outside of China, where the pandemic originated.

"We are aware that they are thinking about whether to release them or not," Pompeo told reporters. "We are urging them ... to release every American that is being wrongfully held there as a humanitarian gesture, given the risk that is posed."

It is not clear exactly how many Americans Iran may hold, but they include father and son Baquer and Siamak Namazi; Michael White, a Navy veteran; and possibly Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent missing since 2007.

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3/18/2020 7:45:11 AM
<![CDATA[Iraq names new PM as rockets hit base hosting foreign troops]]>
The nomination came as Iraq faced two separate rocket attacks, one near the high-security Green Zone in Baghdad late Tuesday after a dawn attack hit a military base hosting US-led coalition and NATO troops.

In a statement late Tuesday, 54-year-old Zurfi pledged elections within a year of forming his cabinet and vowed to respond to the demands of protesters hitting the streets for months over government graft and inefficiency.

He served multiple terms as governor of the Shiite holy city of Najaf and was elected in the 2018 parliamentary vote under the Nasr coalition, led by ex-PM Haider al-Abadi.

Zurfi once belonged to the Dawa party, an opposition force to dictator Saddam Hussein who was ousted in the 2003 US-led invasion, and has spent years in the United States.

The Iraqi-US dual national would have to renounce his American citizenship to take up the premiership.

He met late Tuesday with outgoing premier Adel Abdel Mahdi, who resigned in December during Iraq's unprecedented wave of anti-government rallies.

Zurfi has 30 days to pull together a cabinet, which would be put to a vote of confidence in parliament.

While he is likely to have the backing of some Shiite parties and the Kurdish and Sunni factions, he was quickly spurned by the powerful Fatah bloc, parliament's second-largest.

"We reject the president's unconstitutional step," said a statement by Fatah, the political arm of the Hashed al-Shaabi military network that includes factions allied with Washington's arch-foe Tehran.

The United States was more upbeat. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iraqis wanted "a government that upholds Iraq's sovereignty, provides basic needs, is free of corruption, and protects their human rights."

If Zurfi "puts these interests first, he will have US and international support," Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

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3/18/2020 7:40:10 AM
<![CDATA[State Information Service's full statement on Guardian, NYTimes correspondents]]>
The statement said that the Guardian reporter's license in Egypt was canceled and that they gave a warning to chief of the New York Times Cairo bureau Declan Walsh.


Guardian reporter's license canceled over false coronavirus figures, apology demanded

CAIRO - 17March 2020: The State Information Service (SIS) has canceled the license of the Guardian reporter and gave a warning to the chief of the New York Times bureau in Cairo over false figures on the coronavirus in Egypt.





And here is the full statement:

Firstly: The General Information Authority, through its role in following up what is published about Egypt in the foreign media, has monitored the release of a press report in the British newspaper The Guardian on Sunday, March 15, which includes incorrect numbers and estimates regarding the cases of Coronavirus in Egypt.

It also monitored a group of tweets published by the reporter of the American newspaper New York Times in Egypt, including the same incorrect and exaggerated numbers that raised a lot of contraversy in Egypt and the whole world following with great concern everything related to this danger that is threatening humanity.

Secondly: With regard to the report and the tweets' content that violates all the recognized journalistic work ethics in Egypt and the world, journalist Diaa Rashwan, head of the State Information Service, summoned on March 16 both the Guardian's and the New York Times's correspondents. The reporters were confronted with their published content that aimed at misleading the readers. They were further confronted with the following:

The correspondents relied on one single source to this important data and information, while the rules of journalism require relying on more than one source to confirm the information before publication. This source is an anonymous Canadian doctor, who said he conducted a study based on arbitrary estimates of international air traffic and passenger numbers, which lead to false conclusions. Also, a WHO statement was issued indicating that this study is based on "speculations", and the organization does not accept accreditation based on speculations.

None of the reporters was interested in citing the opinion of the parties involved in the issue, in accordance with the rules of the press in the whole world, and at the forefront of these parties are the concerned authorities in Egypt, especially the Ministry of Health, and the World Health Organization's Cairo office or main headquaters in Europe.

The fact that the reporters hastily promoted incorrect data relying on an unpublished, unjustified and unrecognized study reveals the bad intention of the reporters to harm the Egyptian interests and undermine the country's stability.

The Egyptian Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization denied in official statements these arbitrary estimates. Moreover, the World Health Organization praised the efforts of the Egyptian state, its cooperation and transparent conduct in its fight against this epidemic. In addition, facts in Egypt are available to hundreds of foreign correspondents, who roam freely all over the country, and can monitor situations and phenomena on the ground.

The head of the State Information Service demanded that the correspondent who can provide information about fatalities that have not been disclosed by the Egyptian state can do that.

Thirdly: In light of the intentional professional abuses committed by the Guardian and the New York Times' correspondants, and given that none of the reporters apologized for their committed violations that had grave repercussions, the State Information Service has decided the following, in accordance with the Egyptian laws and regulations, the international law and the work rules of foreign correspondents in various countries of the world:

Withdrawing the license of the correspondent of the Guardian in Egypt.

The State Information Service requires the British newspaper to publish an apology for this report full of professional errors, according to press norms, or all the legal measures will be taken, including closing and withdrawing the license of the newspaper's office in Egypt.

A warning will be issued to the correspondent of the American newspaper in Egypt that stipulates the necessity of respecting the rules of the journalistic profession in Egypt, which are the rules approved by the newspaper in which he works.

The State Information Service praises the professional performance of many international press institutions that have offices and correspondents in Egypt. The information authority appeals to journalists to adhere to the global principles of the profession and to deal with the current critical situation with transparency and without manipulation. The agency stresses that it will not tolerate such practices from any party.

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3/17/2020 8:39:12 PM
<![CDATA[Guardian reporter’s license canceled over false coronavirus figures, apology demanded ]]>
In a Tuesday statement, SIS demanded an apology from the Guardian for publishing the report that cited a study by a Canadian Medical Doctor claiming that infected people in the country may amount to more than 19,000. The official number stands at 196, with six deaths and 26 recovered cases at the time of writing.

The study was rejected due to lacking evidence, unlike his similar study on Iran, which was published on his account in Google Scholars. His Egypt study is not available online, except for some screenshots of it and his tweet of the figure.

Nevertheless, the Guardian inserted a hyperlink to the doctor’s tweet and the New York Times reporter in Egypt, Declan Walsh, retweeted it. He was summoned by the SIS on Monday, along with the Guardian reporter Ruth Michaelson.

The SIS said the report “stirred controversy in Egypt and the world that is anxiously following up everything related to the danger threatening the entire humanity.”

The two reporters “violated the rules of journalism” adopted in Egypt and worldwide, giving “misleading” information about such a sensitive issue by citing an “obscure” doctor, SIS added.

The sole source of the Guardian report is the study, which the World Health Organization said is based on speculations, which is not accepted by the organization, SIS noted. The WHO has already praised Egypt’s actions and transparency regarding the pandemic.

SIS emphasized that the reporters’ hastily published wrong info with only one obscure source that is not recognized by any prestigious entity and without getting back to the concerned parties, especially the Egyptian Health Ministry and the WHO bureau in Cairo. The service considered these actions as proof of their “ill intentions” towards Egyptian interests and the perception of conditions in the country.

Other than credible sources, licensed journalists are free to roam the country and observe the situation for themselves, SIS continued, inviting journalists to write the names of people infected or died of the virus other than those confined by the government.

The SIS decisions regarding Michaelson and Walsh come after the former’s repeated “intentional offenses” and the latter’s “professional violations” and in compliance with the Egyptian and international law and international codes regulating the work of foreign reporters.

Demanding an apology from the Guardian in a story in the same fashion of the first one, as followed in such cases, the SIS said that otherwise it may close the Guardian’s bureau in Egypt.

On the other hand, SIS applauded the coronavirus coverage of all other international media working in Egypt, acknowledging it did not detect any mischief in that regard except by the two reporters.

SIS called on all media to handle the coverage of the pandemic with professionalism, as many people follow the news anxiously on this danger facing humanity and cannot take any more fear.




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3/17/2020 8:35:33 PM
<![CDATA[Militants force Turkey, Russia to shrink patrolled area on day 1]]>
Turkey was supposed to patrol six kilometers northern the road, while Russia was due to patrol six meters southern the road. For that purpose, the Syrian Arab Army and the Turkish troops were removing sand barriers installed by Turkey to impede the advances of the Syrian Arab Army Turkey in Idlib.

The joint patrols were agreed upon by Russia and Turkey in 2018 but became effective as a result of an agreement between both presidents to achieve a ceasefire that began on March 6.

The Russian Foreign Ministry declared Monday that militants in Idlib violated the ceasefire, and that they were rearming and taking counter-offensive action.

As reported by Sputnik Arabic, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced on Monday the return of 577,000 Syrian refugees that left in July 2018 to Jordan and Lebanon. The number of refugees returning from Jordan is 395,248, while the number of those returning from Lebanon is 182,014.

The ministry pointed out that 15,000 of the internally displaced went back to their permanent residence in 24 hours on Sunday, pointing out that the Syrian Arab Army cleared 2.7 hectares of mines, and detonated 31 explosives without indicating their locations.

Turkish deployments in Syria hike ahead of joint patrol: SOHR

CAIRO - 14 March 2020: The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that a Turkish column composed of 20 vehicles entered Syrian territories via Kafr Lusin Crossing a day before the Russian-Turkish patrol go into effect on Sunday.




Early in February, the Syrian Arab Army started operations to restore the eastern and southern countryside of Idlib, and the Western countryside of Aleppo from militants. The action triggered a direct Turkish military intervention since the outbreak of the Civil War in 2011. The engagements had become very fierce on February 27 before a cautious calm took place gradually.

Uncertainty over number of casualties in Idlib's engagements

CAIRO - 29 February 2020: Turkish opposition platforms reported according to military sources that the number of soldiers killed in Syria's Idlib since February 27 recorded 200 while that of the injured is 70-80.



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3/17/2020 2:54:29 PM
<![CDATA[China says Trump's 'Chinese virus' tweet smears China]]>
Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a daily briefing that the U.S. should first take care of its own matters.]]>
3/17/2020 11:10:08 AM
<![CDATA[NYTimes, Guardian reporters in Cairo sued for publishing misinformation on Covid-19 cases in Egypt]]>
The lawsuit, which was filed by Lawyer Amr Abdel-Salam, called on Attorney General Hamada al-Sawy to prevent both reporters from traveling outside Egypt, accusing them of publishing information aimed at destabilizing the public order.

Walsh tweeted on Monday a study that estimated the number of infections in Egypt as more than 19,000 but later deleted it, while Michaelson reported about the study in her article at the Guardian.

After consulting with the Ministry of Health and Population, the Egyptian cabinet denied on Monday news circulating about the infection of 19,000 citizens with Coronavirus.

The ministry pointed out to an interview WHO Representative in Egypt John Jabbour did with CNN on Sunday whereas he praised Egypt’s handling of the pandemic and its ability to control its spread rate given its possession of one the strongest detection systems in the region.

The number of cases infected with Coronavirus (Covid 2019) in Egypt reached 150, including 80 Egyptian nationals, announced Egyptian Minister of Information Osama Heikal in remarks to the media at the headquarters of the Cabinet downtown Cairo on Monday.

In a press conference at the Cabinet on Monday, Egypt’s Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly announced that Egypt will be suspending aviation movement in all airports starting March 19 until March 31.

He added all hotels in Egypt will launch a wide sterilization campaign during the suspension period. Madbouly explained that this suspension would cost Egypt losses up to LE 2.25 billion in both the tourism and aviation sectors; “However we value the Egyptians' health over anything else,'' Prime Minister said.

Earlier, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi directed to suspend study at schools and universities across the country for two weeks as of Sunday, March 15, as part of the country's comprehensive strategy to combat Coronavirus.

Coronavirus has forced many countries to suspend their flights around the globe after the infected cases reached 174,605 people and 6,685 deaths were reported to date. On March 10, 2020, the virus was announced a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

“WHO is deeply concerned by the alarming levels of the coronavirus spread, severity & inaction, & expects to see the number of cases, deaths & affected countries climb even higher. Therefore, we made the assessment that COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusin in a press conference.
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3/16/2020 8:36:23 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s FM Shoukry to embark in African tour to deliver message from Sisi]]>
According to Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Ahmed Hafez, the tour will include South Africa, Tanzania, DR Congo, South Sudan, Burundi, Niger, and Rwanda.

On March 13, Shoukry handed his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian, a message from President Sisi to French President Emmanuel Macron regarding the latest developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

According to Hafez, handing the message took place during a meeting that took place in Paris.

During the meeting, Shoukry called on France and the EU countries to exert more efforts to push Ethiopia into signing the agreement on filling and operating the dam, with the aim of maintaining security and stability in the Horn of Africa region, the spokesman added.

Nearly week ago, Shoukry embarked on a tour of which he visited number of Arab and European countries to deliver Sisi’s message to several leaders regarding GERD.

On March 11, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa affirmed his country’s solidarity with Egypt to ensure its legitimate Nile water rights, as Egypt and Ethiopia have been in a diplomatic conflict, especially recently, over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

In a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry in Bahrain, King Hamad said he considers Egypt’s national security a main pillar of Arab security, Bahrain News Agency, the state’s agency, reported.

President Sisi also sent a message to Jordanian King Abdullah II on the recent stalemate between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on GERD. The message was delivered by Shoukry.

"King Abdullah II expressed his country’s support to Egypt to preserve its water security," said the spokesman.


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3/16/2020 5:06:27 PM
<![CDATA[LNA spox reveals truce violations by militias backed by Turkey]]>
Mesmary asserted that the Libyan Armed Forces agreed to the truce but would never accept threats by militias. The LNA spokesperson stated that Misrata militias attempts to attack the forces in Al Jufra and Sirte using advanced ammunition and drones supplied by Turkey.

The LNA spokesperson also disclosed an attempt by militias to target Al Jufra Airbase by a Turkish-made drone that was downed by the LNA southern Libya.

Mesmary stated that the Turkish spheres of influence in Libya are Misrata, Tripoli, and Zuwara saying that the LNA has spotted all the locations of Turkish troops in Libya.

The LNA spokesperson accused Turkey of transporting 300-400 mercenaries to Libya weekly by civilian aircrafts and ships that are protected by international laws. A number of those ships carry the flags of certain countries. For instance, a ship carrying mercenaries was raising the flag of Lebanon.

Mesmary declared that the number of Turkish officers on Libyan soil has reached 1,000 while that of mercenaries has recorded 7,500. Mesmary stated that the LNA struck Turkish targets in Mitiga International Airport.

LNA kills 16 Turkish military personnel including 3 commanders

CAIRO - 23 February 2020: Head of the Mobilization Department at the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khaled al-Mahgoub told Russia Today that the number of Turkish military personnel killed in Libya by the Armed Forces is 16 until present, while that of mercenaries brought by the Middle Eastern state is 105.




Mesmary revealed that the LNA has 85,000 soldiers, and that 7,000 were martyred since the launching of Al Karama Flood Operation in April. That is in addition to thousands of injuries.
Mesmary negated that any foreign elements fight in the ranks of LNA.

The LNA spokesperson stated that Tripoli militants are building a base on the borders with Tunisia so they would move there, if defeated. Border Guards. “Tunisian border guards are not in full control. We have reservations about certain border areas,” Mesmary said.

Mesmary revealed there are moves to make Minister of Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fathy Bashagha succeed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

Commenting on the consideration of Ramtane Lamamra, who is Algerian, as special U.N. representative to Libya succeeding Ghassan Salame, the LNA spokesperson declared that the Libyan people vigorously rejects the appointment of an individual who belongs to a neighboring state.
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3/15/2020 6:12:56 PM
<![CDATA[Kuwait: We have good relations with Egypt]]>
"At a press conference on Saturday, Sheikh Al-Sabah said such claims are groundless, saying Kuwait has good relations with Egypt," the Kuwaiti News Agency KUNA reported.



The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health announced that the number of coronavirus cases rose to 112 people after confirming eight new cases on Sunday.


Three days ago, the Kuwaiti authorities suspended the international flights from all over the world to the country in response to the virus outbreak.

Coronavirus has forced many countries to suspend their flights around the globe after the infected cases reached 157,483 people and 5,845 deaths were reported to date. On March 10, 2020, the virus was announced a global pandemic by the World Health Organization.

“WHO is deeply concerned by the alarming levels of the coronavirus spread, severity & inaction, & expects to see the number of cases, deaths & affected countries climb even higher. Therefore, we made the assessment that COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a press conference.
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3/15/2020 4:15:32 PM
<![CDATA[Sudan to be mediator in Egypt/Ethiopia talks over GERD: Daglo]]>
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi discussed the developments of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) with Daglo on Sunday.

The meeting held in Cairo covered the outcomes of the negotiations that took place in rounds in Washington, and the agreement signed by Egypt with initial letters.

President Sisi highlighted Egypt's support to Sudan during the current critical transitional phase pointing out that Egypt’s policies have always been backing Sudan.

On his side, Daglo praised the Egyptian honest and diligent support aimed for the preservation of the safety and stability of Sudan in a pivotal phase of its history.

The meeting was attended by Egypt’s Chief Intelligence Abas Kamel, as announced by Presidency Spokesperson Bassam Rady on social media.

Daglo arrived in Cairo on Saturday in a two-day state visit upon an invitation by President Sisi.

The head of the sovereignty council of Sudan, General Abdel Fatah al Burhan, and his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, separately met on March 9 the Egyptian chief of General Intelligence, Abbas Kamel, Sudan state media reported.

Accompanied by a high-profile security delegation, Abbas arrived Monday in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum to convey a message of solidarity from the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi following a foiled attempt on prime minister Abdalla Hamdok’s life.

The officials discussed regional and international topics of common interest, plans to boost cooperation in different fields.

According to Egyptian state media, Sisi's message expressed solidarity and support for the Sudanese state following the terrorist life attempt on the government's premier.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Hafez, expressed his disappointment on March 8 over the Sudanese Foreign Ministry’s statement that voiced reservations regarding a draft resolution issued by the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers on Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam.

Hafez pointed out in a press statement that Egypt was keen to inform the Sudanese representative at the Arab League about the draft resolution since March 1st, adding that Sudan had confirmed then receiving the draft resolution, however, did not share any comments with the Egyptian authorities.

Hafez added that the Egyptian delegation removed Sudan from the draft resolution as per the Sudanese authorities’ desire. The spokesperson said that the amendments suggested later by Sudan seek to weaken the draft resolution.

Hafez said that the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers’ meeting only supported the Egyptian water rights in accordance with the International law principles and called for signing the already-brokered agreement in US Washington.
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3/15/2020 4:07:02 PM
<![CDATA[Mohamed Asaad won the award for investigative journalism in the Mustafa and Ali Amin Awards]]>
Colleague Mohamed Asaad received the award after a series of investigations done by him on the standard specification for the powder of fire extinguishers in Egypt, which proved to be invalid and violated all international standards, and the risk it poses to the health of citizens, which was confirmed by the Supreme Administrative Court of the State Council after the publication of the investigation, the court confirmed the validity of everything that was included in the investigation and stated that the Standards and Quality Authority issued the standard to allow the production of multiple fire extinguishers in violation of all international and European standards, though its application would cause severe damage to users, in addition to proving their conformity with the specifications of countries which is not true, and the use of dry chemical powder extinguishers to combat 5 different types of fires, including metal fires, unparalleled in the approved scientific and technological sources, and are not produced by international companies considered specialized in fire extinguishers.

The standard has caused Egypt to become the only country that witnesses the production of fire extinguishers to deal with all types of fires, including metal fires, and the latter has warned all global parties of the danger of using them with fires of other groups, because they cause fires to explode and widen rather than extinguish them, and injure humans , causes blindness, skin erosion, respiratory destruction, and release of lethal phosphine gas.]]>
3/15/2020 3:51:28 PM
<![CDATA[Sudanese Sovereign Council 1st deputy meets Sisi in Cairo]]>
Daglo arrived in Cairo on Saturday in a two-day state visit upon an invitation by President Sisi.

The head of the sovereignty council of Sudan, General Abdel Fatah al Burhan, and his deputy Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, separately met on March 9 the Egyptian chief of General Intelligence, Abbas Kamel, Sudan state media reported.

Accompanied by a high-profile security delegation, Abbas arrived Monday in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum to convey a message of solidarity from the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi following a foiled attempt on prime minister Abdalla Hamdok’s life.

The officials discussed regional and international topics of common interest, plans to boost cooperation in different fields.

According to Egyptian state media, Sisi's message expressed solidarity and support for the Sudanese state following the terrorist life attempt on the government's premier.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Hafez, expressed his disappointment on March 8 over the Sudanese Foreign Ministry’s statement that voiced reservations regarding a draft resolution issued by the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers on Ethiopia’s Renaissance Dam.

Hafez pointed out in a press statement that Egypt was keen to inform the Sudanese representative at the Arab League about the draft resolution since March 1st, adding that Sudan had confirmed then receiving the draft resolution, however, did not share any comments with the Egyptian authorities.

Hafez added that the Egyptian delegation removed Sudan from the draft resolution as per the Sudanese authorities’ desire. The spokesperson said that the amendments suggested later by Sudan seek to weaken the draft resolution.

Hafez said that the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers’ meeting only supported the Egyptian water rights in accordance with the International law principles and called for signing the already-brokered agreement in US Washington.
]]>
3/15/2020 1:09:17 PM
<![CDATA[Lockdowns, self-isolation and entry bans imposed to fight global coronavirus spread]]>
Panic buying in Australia, the United States and Britain saw leaders appeal for calm over the virus that has infected over 138,000 people globally and killed more than 5,000.

Several countries imposed bans on mass gathering, shuttered sporting, cultural and religious events, while medical experts urged people to practice “social distancing” to curb the spread.

All of Pope Francis’ Easter services next month will be held without the faithful attending, the Vatican said on Sunday, in a step believed to be unprecedented in modern times.

Trump tests negative for coronavirus, extends travel ban to Britain, Ireland
American Airlines cutting international flights by 75% amid demand collapse
The services, four days of major events from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, usually draw tens of thousands of people to sites in Rome and in the Vatican.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said from midnight Sunday international travelers arriving in the country would need to isolate themselves for 14 days, and foreign cruise ships would be banned for 30 days, given a rise in imported cases.

“What we’ve seen in recent weeks, is more countries having issues with the virus and that means the source of some of those transmissions are coming from more and more countries,” Morrison told a news conference.

Australia’s latest restrictions mirror those announced by neighboring New Zealand on Saturday. Australia has recorded more than 250 coronavirus cases and three deaths.

TRAVEL BANS, AIRLINE CUTBACKS
U.S. President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday. The United States has recorded more than 2,000 cases and 50 deaths, but has been criticized for slow testing.

Travel bans and a plunge in global air travel saw further airline cut backs, with American Airlines Inc planning to cut 75% of international flights through May 6 and ground nearly all its widebody fleet.

The dramatic announcement by the largest U.S. airline came hours after the White House said the United States would widen new travel restrictions on Europeans to include travelers in the United Kingdom and Ireland, starting Monday night.

Washington has already imposed flight restrictions on China.

China tightened checks on international travelers arriving at Beijing airport on Sunday, after the number of imported new coronavirus infections surpassed locally transmitted cases for a second day in a row.

Anyone arriving to Beijing from abroad will be transferred directly to a central quarantine facility for 14 days for observation starting March 16, a city government official said.

China, where the epidemic began in December, appears to now face a greater threat of new infections from outside its borders as it continues to slow the spread of the virus domestically.

China has reported 80,984 cases and 3,203 deaths, according to a Reuters tally, of which 66,911 have recovered in mainland China, which has imposed draconian containment policies, locking down several major cities.

LOCKDOWNS, STAY HOME
Spain put its 47 million inhabitants under partial lockdown on Saturday as part of a 15-day state of emergency to combat the epidemic in Europe’s second worst-affected country after Italy.

Spain had 193 coronavirus deaths and 6,250 cases, public broadcaster TVE said on Saturday, up from 120 deaths reported on Friday.

France will shut shops, restaurants and entertainment facilities from Sunday with its 67 million people were told to stay home after confirmed infections doubled in 72 hours.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the government had no other option after the public health authority said 91 people had died in France and almost 4,500 were now infected.

“We must absolutely limit our movements,” he said.

Britain is preparing to ban mass gatherings, while isolating people aged over 70 for up to four months is part of its action plan to tackle coronavirus which will be implemented in the coming weeks, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday.

Argentina banned entry to non-residents who have traveled to a country highly affected by coronavirus in the last 14 days, the government officially announced late on Saturday.

The ban will last 30 days. Argentina has 45 cases of coronavirus, the health ministry said, up from 21 on March 12.

Panama said flights arriving from Europe and Asia would be temporarily suspended, with the exception of flights that transport doctors, medical equipment or other humanitarian aid.

Colombia will expel four Europeans for violating compulsory quarantine protocols, just hours after it closed its border with Venezuela, the government said on Saturday.

ANTI-TERRORISM TRACKING TO FIGHT VIRUS

Israel will use anti-terrorism tracking technology and partially shutdown its economy to minimize transmission risks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday.

Cyber tech monitoring would be deployed to locate people who have been in contact with those carrying the virus, subject to cabinet approval, Netanyahu told a news conference in Jerusalem.

Starting Sunday, South Korea began to subject visitors from France, Germany, Britain, Spain and the Netherlands to stricter border checks, after imposing similar rules for China, Italy and Iran which have major outbreaks.

Visitors from those countries now need to download an app which will report whether they have symptoms. South Korea has been testing hundreds of thousands of people and tracking potential carriers using cell phone and satellite technology.

]]>
3/15/2020 12:31:40 PM
<![CDATA[Maps of militia-cleared areas in Libya revealed]]>
Mesmary highlighted capturing a border zone that was used by terrorists to smuggle arms into Egypt. That is the Musaed border crossing located in Derna governorate, which supported the Islamic State (IS) when it first appeared in 2014, and where 240 assassinations of high-ranking military personnel took place.



Another terrorist stronghold was Benghazi where militants used to receive training, and where 720 assassinations of military, civilian, and political figures were carried out. After it was freed, Benghazi became the headquarters of the Libyan House of Representatives and the army's General Command.

Mesmary pointed out that the LNA liberated large oil fields as well as Sirte's Bin Jawad, Al Jufra and the airbase it houses. In January, the Libyan Armed Forces entered Sirte clearing the city from militants.

Prisoners conscripted to fight in Tripoli militias ranks: LNA

CAIRO - 2 March 2020: The Libyan National Army (LNA) released a statement on Monday accusing Osama al-Juwaily, commander of the militias operating western Tripoli, of conscripting prisoners and convicts in criminal cases to fight the Libyan Armed Forces.



Earlier this year, the LNA closed oil ports and fields whose revenues were used by Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) to finance the militias protecting it.

The GNA is an interim non-elected government that is recognized by the United Nations.
The Libyan National Oil Corporation declared on Thursday that crude oil production declined to 97,508 bpd on March 11, and that losses since January 17 marking the beginning of the shutdown recorded over $3 billion.

Head of Mobilization Department at the LNA Khaled al-Mahgoub told Al Arabiya that engagements between the Libyan Armed Forces and militias broke out on March 13 in Al Aziziyah and Al Haira district near Al Gheryan city southern Tripoli.

Mahgoub added that the LNA caused human losses among the militias and destroyed a number of military vehicles as the GNA forces attempted to attack concentrations of the Libyan Armed Forces.

On the same day, the Libyan Air Force struck sites of GNA militias in Abou Grain eastern Misrata destroying an air defense system carried by Turkish-made vehicles, armored vehicles, and other vehicles carrying ammunition.

That is one day after hitting air defense missile stations eastern Misrata aborting a possible attack against LNA concentrations.
]]>
3/14/2020 8:44:01 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish deployments in Syria hike ahead of joint patrol: SOHR]]>
As such, the numbers of Turkish military vehicles that entered Idlib's de-escalation zone since March 6 ceasefire and since February 2 are 920 and 4,350, respectively. Of those, 60 arrived on March 13.

Those include tanks, personnel carriers, armored vehicles, mobile bulletproof guard booths and military radars. The number of Turkish soldiers who have been deployed in Idlib and Aleppo since February 2 to date surpass 9,350.

March 13

SOHR observed that the Syrian Arab Army struck Kansafra town having a Turkish checkpoint in Jabal Al Zawiyah from its positions in the southern countryside of Idlib.

The Syrian Armed Forces removed the sand barriers set up by Turkish troops to block their advance on the M5 highway connecting Damascus with Aleppo, and the M4 highway connecting Aleppo and Latakia from the areas they control in the coastal governorate.

Turkish troops also removed the sand barriers near their checkpoint in Maar Hattat on the M5.

Turkey will patrol six kilometers northern the M4 while Russia will patrol six kilometers southern the highway. The patrolled area stretches from Tarnabah village, west of Saraqeb, to Ain Hoor in Latakia countryside.

March 12

SOHR monitored that an artillery shelling was launched by the Syrian Arab Army in Al Jub Al Ahmar against "Kabana frontlines in Latakia countryside, as well as the roads leading to the frontline in the same countryside." Yet, no casualties were reported.

The Syrian Armed Forces captured areas in Maarrat Mukhas and Al-Burayj near Kafr Nubl without facing any resistance as militants had fled. On March 7, the forces entered those areas but withdrew because of shelling by armed groups.

The Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that two militants of militias backed by Turkey were killed and eight others were injured by a car bomb in Tal Half village, located in the countryside of Ras Al Ain northwestern Hasakah.

As indicated by the agency, a number of vehicles moved the bodies and the injured to Turkish territories.

On the other hand, unknown fighter jets hit sites of the Syrian Arab Army southern Bou Kamal district in the countryside of Deir Al Zour on the borders with Iraq causing only material losses.

Also, 18 elements of Iran-backed militias were killed by airstrikes eastern Syria.

March 11

The Syrian Arab Army fired several rockets targeting points in Al-Sarmaniyah town in Sahl Al-Ghab in the north-western countryside of Hama, according to SOHR.

March 10

RT Arabic reported on March 10 that Turkey withdrew all heavy equipment from its 12 checkpoints in Syria.

The Russian Ministry of Defense negated a statement by Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan about the destruction of eight Pantsir missile systems in Idlib describing the declaration as "exaggerated."

On March 8, Erdogan announced the killing of 59 Turkish soldiers in Idlib since the launching of Spring Shield Operation against the Syrian Arab Army on March 1.




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3/14/2020 3:53:55 PM
<![CDATA[Deputy chief of Sudan’s ruling council visits Egypt]]>
During his visit, Hamidati will discuss bilateral relations and ways of strengthening cooperation between the two countries in various fields, as well as issues of mutual concern, the statement added.

On March 9, 2020, head of the sovereignty council of Sudan, General Abdel Fatah al Burhan, and his deputy Hamidati, separately met with Egyptian chief of General Intelligence in Khartoum, Abbas Kamel, Sudan state media reported.

Kamel conveyed a message of solidarity from the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi following a foiled attempt on prime minister Abdalla Hamdok’s life. Five days ago, Hamdok survived an assassination attempt in Khartoum.]]>
3/14/2020 1:44:11 PM
<![CDATA[Russia bans Upper House lawmakers from travelling abroad]]>
According to Matvienko, visits by foreign delegations from countries deemed “dangerous” in terms of the coronavirus outbreak have also been suspended, Sputnik news agency reported.

The Speaker went on to say that there is no need for panic over the viral infection as the authorities are not concealing any information about the disease and the government's measures to counter its spread are effective and sufficient. Nevertheless, Matvienko noted that the danger of the new coronavirus should not be underestimated. ]]>
3/14/2020 12:07:17 PM
<![CDATA[FM Shoukry hands his French counterpart message from Sisi on GERD ]]>
According to Foreign Ministry’s Spokesman Ahmed Hafez, handing the message took place during a meeting that took place in Paris.

During the meeting, Shoukry called on France and the EU countries to exert more efforts to push Ethiopia into signing the agreement on filling and operating the dam, with the aim of maintaining security and stability in the Horn of Africa region, the spokesman added.

The two sides discussed ways of fostering bilateral cooperation in different fields, as well as regional and international issues of common concern, the spokesman noted.

The top Egyptian diplomat lauded the distinguished level of cooperation between Cairo and Paris in various areas, asserting that Egypt looks forward to promoting strategic ties with France.

The pair agreed on the importance of continuing coordination and consultation in the fight against terrorism, especially in the light of Egypt's great efforts in this regard.

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Egypt is rely on the support of international partners, including France to join international efforts to confront terrorism and stand against countries that sponsor and finance foreign terrorists, the spokesman quoted Shoukry as saying.

The two foreign ministers exchanged views on means of settling crises in the Middle East, notably the Libyan one.

Concerning the Libyan file, the two ministers agreed on the significance of keeping bilateral coordination to resolve the Libyan conflict through promoting the comprehensive political solution, combating terrorism and rejecting foreign interference in the North African country.

With regard to the Syrian crisis, Shoukry and Le Drian asserted their commitment to the political settlement in Syria, while preserving the country's unity and territorial integrity.

For his part, the French foreign minister expressed his appreciation of the key and central role played by Egypt to strengthen regional stability, underlining the need to elevate the distinct relations between the two countries to higher levels during the coming period.

Nearly week ago, Shoukry embarked on a tour of which he visited number of Arab and European countries to deliver Sisi’s message to several leaders regarding GERD.

On March 11, Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa affirmed his country’s solidarity with Egypt to ensure its legitimate Nile water rights, as Egypt and Ethiopia have been in a diplomatic conflict, especially recently, over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

In a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Shoukry in Bahrain, King Hamad said he considers Egypt’s national security a main pillar of Arab security, Bahrain News Agency, the state’s agency, reported.

President Sisi also sent a message to Jordanian King Abdullah II on the recent stalemate between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on GERD. The message was delivered by Shoukry.

"King Abdullah II expressed his country’s support to Egypt to preserve its water security," said the spokesman.

March 5, the Arab League Council voiced rejection of any infringement of Egypt’s historical rights to the waters of the River Nile.

This came at the end of the 153rd session of the Arab League Council, as it reaffirmed that Egypt’s water security is an integral part of Arab national security.

It issued a decision on the controversial Ethiopian dam, vowing support to Egypt’s historical rights to the river which provides it with over 90 percent of its water supply.

The council asserted that Ethiopia should comply with the principles of international law.]]>
3/13/2020 8:36:08 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian amb. hands Lebanese president message from Sisi]]>
During the meeting, Aoun and Allawi reviewed the situation in Lebanon and developments in the region, the Presidency said, without disclosing further details.

Late in January, Allawi held a meeting with Lebanon’s Prime Minister Hassan Diab, during which they discussed developments and some issues related to bilateral issues between the two countries, the Egyptian state’s news agency MENA reported.

Allawi reviewed with the prime minister, during the meeting, the activities of the Egyptian medical center, which has been established in Beirut two weeks earlier. The ambassador noted that the center receives about 500 people daily, who receive medical service free of charge, within the framework of Egyptian state’s keenness to support the Lebanese people, especially during the current economic situation in the sisterly country.

Lebanon has been hit by massive demonstrations against the political regime and banking sector. The country suffers its worst economic crisis in decades.

Concerning economy, banks have imposed tight restrictions on dollar withdrawals and transfers abroad, in a bid to tackle the severe liquidity crisis.

Diab took post as prime minister in December last year, succeeding popular Saad al-Hariri who has served since 2016. Saad is the son of the assassinated Prime Minister Rafic al-Hariri who died in 2005.]]>
3/13/2020 5:18:29 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt, France confer on cooperation in military, civil fields]]>
Thales is one of the international companies operating in the field of communications and electronics.

The meeting comes within the framework of a series of meetings between Egypt and France to follow up the developments of mutual cooperation in the different military and civil fields in addition to exchanging points of view on transferring expertise and localizing modern technology in the different domains, Assar said.

Meanwhile, Caine said that Thales Group is keen on promoting partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Military Production, asserting France's interest in cooperating with Egypt in the different military and civil fields including air defense systems, land stations controlling satellites and communication devices. ]]>
3/12/2020 1:36:36 PM
<![CDATA[Iran says it has asked IMF for $5 billion emergency funding to fight coronavirus]]>
The IMF managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, “has stated that countries affected by #COVID19 will be supported via Rapid Financial Instrument. Our Central Bank requested access to this facility immediately”, Zarif said.

Iran’s Central Bank chief Abdolnaser Hemmati wrote on his Instagram page that “in a letter addressed to the head of IMF, I have requested five billion U.S. dollar from the RFI emergency fund to help our fight against the coronavirus”.]]>
3/12/2020 11:37:23 AM
<![CDATA[Bahraini king voices solidarity with Egypt in preserving water rights]]>
This comes days after an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesperson expressed his disappointment over the Sudanese Foreign Ministry’s statement that voiced reservations regarding a draft resolution issued by the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers on GERD.

In a meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Bahrain, King Hamad said he considers Egypt’s national security a main pillar of Arab security, Bahrain News Agency, the state’s agency, reported.

King Hamad praised Egypt’s historic and leading role in protecting Arab national security as well as the North African country’s keenness to secure the Arab national interests, unify neighboring Arab states and strengthen peace and stability in the region.

In this regard, the Bahraini king affirmed his country’s support to the United States’ efforts to reach an agreement between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia in terms of filling and operating the Ethiopian dam.

Shoukry handed King Hamad a written message from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, which highlighted the special relations with Bahrain and the regional and international updates as well as issues of mutual concern.

Shoury, during the meeting, hailed the efforts made by the Bahraini king to develop ties with Egypt and affirmed appreciation to the Arab stances of Bahrain toward Egypt and the Bahraini role in joint Arab work.

Earlier in March, President Sisi sent a message to Jordanian King Abdullah II on the recent stalemate between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on GERD, said the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman in a statement.

The message was delivered by Shoukry, who embarked on a tour to some Arab countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman Sultanate.

"King Abdullah II expressed his country’s support to Egypt to preserve its water security," said the spokesman.

Egypt calls Ethiopian response to AL, inappropriate, undiplomatic

CAIRO – 7 March 2020: The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Friday in which it rejected the Ethiopian foreign ministry’s statement on the Arab League stance on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) altogether.


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3/11/2020 9:09:58 PM
<![CDATA[Arab League plays up media role in boosting Arab-African ties]]>
Addressing the seventh international media forum for African media men, director of the AL media department Nasima Sharit pressed for the need to activate the media role to allow members of societies to reach understandings and hone the skills of the media to prepare generations able to deal with all communication channels.

For his part, Awani Qandeel, head of African Union for Media, called for presenting sound media reports to the Africans with highlighting the role of the media in confronting terrorism and drying up its resources.]]>
3/11/2020 3:50:04 PM
<![CDATA[Sultan of Oman receives message from Sisi on Ethiopian dam talks]]>
Shoukry handed over the message at a meeting with the Sultan of Oman during his current visit to Oman, said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Hafez.

Shoukry conveyed the greetings of President Sisi to the Sultan of Oman and his hope for more cooperation between the two countries, added the spokesman.

Also, Shoukry conveyed an invitation from President Sisi to Sultan Haytham to visit Egypt in the nearest opportunity, the spokesman pointed out.

The Sultan of Oman confirmed his country's stance supporting Egypt regarding the Ethiopian dam talks, added the spokesman. ]]>
3/11/2020 12:29:24 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt calls for appointing new UN envoy to Libya]]>
Shoukry's remarks came during a phone call with Guterres to discuss the latest developments in the Libyan crisis, and ways to concert efforts to restore security and stability in the country, especially in light of Salameh's resignation.

According to a statement issued on Tuesday by the Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez, the two sides stressed the need to promptly appoint a new UN envoy that would be accepted by all Libyan parties.

The two sides also tackled ways to boost coordination between Egypt and the United Nations regarding the developments of various international and regional issues.

Shoukry asserted Egypt's support for the United Nations' efforts to address many issues of concern to the international community at the political, security and development levels.

For his part, Guterres expressed appreciation for the important role Egypt plays in the region, noting that he looks forward to deepening the coordination and consultation with Egypt during the coming period.

On March 2, Ghassan Salameh announced that he had asked Guterres to exempt him from his post as a UN special envoy to Libya, explaining that this decision was due to health problems and that he was unable to continue with "this pace of tension."
]]>
3/10/2020 2:15:14 PM
<![CDATA[OSCE voices concern over detention of Turkish journalists]]>
OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Desir, has denounced the detention of journalists in Turkey.

On Wednesday, Odatv news website Director Bar?? Terko?lu and reporter Hülya K?l?n? were detained over a news report in which they disclosed the identity of an intelligence officer who was killed in Libya.

OSCE warned that arresting journalists for their work seriously threatens media freedom and their ability to report on issues of public interest. ]]>
3/10/2020 12:10:26 PM
<![CDATA[Egypt’s human rights delegation takes part in 43rd Session of HRC]]>
The Egyptian human rights mission participated in a session tackled the human rights situations in South Sudan and Iran. The session has been attended by representatives from the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran.

Egypt’s participation would last until March 14, said head of the National Society for Rights and Freedoms Walid Farouk in the statement.

At the session, Chief of the UN Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan (UNCHRSS) Yasmin Sooka warned against a fragile peace in the African country, tweeting “UNCHRSS is concerned the international community may be lulled into believing the conflict is fully over, now there is unity government in SS [South Sudan]. Reality more complex - fragile peace at national level morphed into localized ethnic conflicts.”


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3/9/2020 5:41:02 PM
<![CDATA[Turkish expansionist designs in Libya revealed]]>
Ankara's economic ambitions in Libya are flagrantly announced by the Turkish officials and reported by the official media, which is controlled by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party.

Anadolu news agency said that Ankara is set to acquire a large part of the expected investments in Libya, especially in the reconstruction field, with a value of up to $120 billion.

According to Anadolu,Chairman of the Turkey-Libya Council of the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) Morteza Kernville said that an agreement will soon be concluded between the governments of Ankara and Tripoli in the commercial affairs;the agreement is expected to solve the commercial problems between the two parties.

Kernville stressed the availability of business opportunities in Libya, and urged Turkish investors to seize these opportunities. He added, "During the reconstruction process, homes, public buildings, and infrastructure will be built in Libya."]]>
3/9/2020 1:00:00 PM
<![CDATA[Shoukry confers with Kuwaiti premier on boosting joint cooperation]]>
The meeting, held at Bayan Palace, covered a set of issues of mutual concern, current challenges as well as the latest developments on the regional and international arenas.

Earlier in the day, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry delivered a message from President Abdel Fattah El Sisi to Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al Ahmad al Jaber al Sabah on the latest developments of the negotiations on Renaissance Dam.

In statements, Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Ahmed Hafez said Shoukry expressed Egypt's appreciation to the Kuwaiti stance which emerged during the recent ministerial meeting of the Arab League in which it supported an Arab decision siding with Egypt in the issue of Renaissance Dam.

Shoukry expressed the Egyptian government and people's appreciation to the Kuwaiti emir and people, saying Egypt lauds strong relations binding his country with Kuwait, Hafez said.

The Kuwait emir said his country sides with Egypt on the Ethiopian dam file to preserve its water rights and security, Hafez added.]]>
3/9/2020 11:56:08 AM
<![CDATA[Turkish role western Syria no longer desired by West: Writer]]>
Strikes by militants backed by Turkey, which still sends troops to Syrian territories, persist against the Syrian Arab Army showing signs of continued fighting and fierce battles to come.

Writer and International Affairs Journalist at Al Ahram Ihab Omar explains to Egypt Today the aspects of the situation in Syria and speculations on its evolution.

Factors behind advances of the Syrian Arab Army

“Despite European and U.S. media support to Turkey, Russian-Western understandings took place behind the scenes. Based on those understandings, spheres of influence have been divided between Russia and the West until present. Also based on those understandings, the expansive Turkish role western Syria is no longer desired by the West. In spite of Western statements backing Turkey, Europe and the United States have agreed with Russia to dismantle Turkish influence western Syria, precisely in Idlib, and the western and middle sections of Aleppo,” Omar says.

“In light of the aforementioned, the Syrian Arab Army fully equipped by Russia, backed by Iranian militias and Russian Air Force as well as Russian military consultants running operations rooms, was able to achieve success in Idlib and that success is expected to persist in the upcoming period,” the writer adds.

Will the Syrian Arab Army hold out?

“Unfortunately, that matter is bound to international adaptations. It is true that there is Russian-Western consensus over eliminating the Turkish role western Syria but what if [Turkish President Recep Tayip] Erdogan makes a concession pertinent to Turkish sovereignty like a military base for Russia or advantages to Europe for it to import Russian gas through Turkey,” the international affairs journalist suggests.

“I estimate that the Syrian Arab Army will restore control over Idlib entirely this year, and that Erdogan’s maneuvers will fail as the West and Russia have gained enough from Turkish concessions,” Omar says.

The fate of armed groups

“Erdogan attempts to export the militants of Idlib and Aleppo to Libya; however, I estimate that southern Turkey is the prime destination of those terrorists. There is a Turkish branch of the Islamic State (IS) that came into existence there since 2015 and that will become active soon in light of the fleeing of Idlib militants,” the writer highlights.

The stance of the international community

“The United States and France want to end the sphere of influence of political Islam in Syria, particularly Idlib. There is consensus among Trump and Macron over that matter. That is why France and the United States direct the international community into ignoring what is happening in Idlib and letting the Syrian Armed Forces finish its Turkish counterpart on Syrian soil,” Omar says.

What will Turkey do about its defeat western Syria?

“Like it did about its defeat eastern Syria and northern Iraq, and after the success of the June 30 Revolution in Egypt in 2013 and the failure of its role in Yemen. Nothing but more funny statements by Erdogan,” the international affairs journalist says.

As to how realistic Turkish threats are, the writer points out, “Turkey will not be able to escalate unless it gets U.S. military support, and that is very unlikely.”

Impact on the buffer zone Turkey aims for

Turkey has been attempting since last year to create a buffer zone on Turkish and northeastern Syrian borders where one million refugees will be brought from Turkish cities to dwell in that area.

Whether the fighting in the west will have its toll on the plan or not, Omar says, “there is a Western consensus over the accomplishment of that project to inhibit the inflow of refugees to Europe.”

The fate of Eastern Syria

“The Russian-Western understandings over eastern and western Syria after the clearance of Turkish influence in Idlib are fixed. The east belongs to the United States and the west belongs to Russia, while a Turkish pocket in the northeast is allowed. That is the buffer zone,” the writer explains.

The fate of Syrian refugees in Turkey

“The Turkish society has concerns over Syrian refugees, and Turkish authorities have started to harass them. That makes it clear that Erdogan uses refugees to blackmail Europe or create a Syrian lobby in Europe that serves the agendas of Turkey and political Islam. Once the door of Europe was slammed shut in the face of Syrian refugees, their working conditions in Turkey have become miserable,” Omar clarifies.

“I estimate that Turkey will make large numbers of refugees return to Syria within a couple of years,” international affairs aspect speculates.

Impact on Libya

“Erdogan is trying in vain to make up for his political, regional and military losses in Syria, Iraq and Yemen by intervening in Libya. Yet, that intervention is very late as international parties have already drawn up the plan leaving no room for Turkey,” the writer suggests.

“Now, we see Turkish soldiers and Turkey-backed mercenaries falling in Libya. In Summer, the Libyan National Army (LNA) will take over Tripoli and end Libyan division while Turkey will stand helpless,” Omar estimates.
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3/8/2020 6:00:02 PM
<![CDATA[Sisi sends King Abdullah II message on Ethiopia’s dam]]>
The message was delivered by Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, who embarked on a tour to some Arab countries, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman Sultanate.

Shoukry voiced Egypt’s gratitude to the Hashemite Kingdom for its support to Egypt regarding the file of the Renaissance Dam during the 153rd session of the Arab Council for Foreign Ministers on March 4, 2020.

"King Abdullah II expressed his country’s support to Egypt to preserve its water security," Hafez added, noting that the Egyptian foreign minister and King Abdullah discussed the bilateral relations and issues of mutual concern.

“The meeting affirmed that Egypt and Jordan will continue high-level coordination and consultation, in light of their distinguished and fraternal ties. His Majesty asked to convey his greetings to President Sisi. The meeting tackled a number of regional issues and files, especially the Palestinian cause, and the overall regional situation,” Hafez said.

During the Arab meeting, the foreign ministers rejected violating the Egyptian and Sudanese historic rights of the Nile Water, saying that Egyptian and Sudanese water security is an integral part of the Arab national security.

The foreign ministers affirmed their rejection of the Ethiopian move of filling the dam’s reservoir without reaching a final agreement with Egypt and Sudan.

Ethiopia had announced that it would continue to build the Renaissance Dam and fill the reservoir, regardless of the interests of the other countries.

The Ethiopian announcement came in response to the American statement, which emphasized that the final trial and the filling of the Renaissance Dam's reservoir should not be carried out without reaching a joint agreement among Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan.

On March 1, 2020, Egypt slammed the Ethiopian Government after the latter criticized the final round of U.S.and WB-brokered negotiations on the GERD.

In a joint statement by the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation, the Egyptian government expressed unease over a statement issued by the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Irrigation and Energy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, in which Ethiopia announced that it will fill the GERD’s reservoir, despite the U.S. warning against taking action without an agreement with the downstream countries.

The difference between the three Nile basin countries dates back to May 2011 when Ethiopia started building the dam; Egypt voiced concern over its water share [55.5 billion cubic meters]. Three years later, a series of tripartite talks between the two countries along with Sudan began to reach an agreement while Ethiopia continued the dam construction.

In 2015, the three countries signed the Declaration of Principles, per which the downstream countries [Egypt and Sudan] should not be negatively affected by the construction of the dam. Since then, the talks have been resumed, but In October 2019 blamed Addis Ababa for hindering a final agreement concerning a technical problem, calling for activating the Article No. 10 of the Declaration of Principles, which stipulates that if the three countries could not find a solution to these differences, they have to ask for mediation.

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3/8/2020 3:47:51 PM
<![CDATA[Parliament initially approves bill on amending anti-money laundering law]]>
On February 25, Abdel Aal referred the bill to the parliament's legislative and constitutional committee.

The bill comes within a framework of Egypt's membership in the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF). ]]>
3/8/2020 3:20:07 PM
<![CDATA[Egyptian human rights defenders to attend adoption of UPR recommendations ]]>
The session, running from Feb. 24-March 20, will witness in the second week of March the adoption of the third Universal Periodic Review recommendations to Egypt that were outlined in November.

Egypt revived 327 recommendations, of which it noted 132 and supported the rest. The noted recommendations involve the signing of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The supported recommendations include education, economy, women and children.

Egypt’s delegation include Saeed Abdel Hafez, head of the Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, Rabaha Fathy, head of the Women for Human Rights Association, and Aida Nour el-Din, head of the Women and Development Association.
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3/8/2020 2:26:23 PM