<![CDATA[ Policy Analysis ]]> http://en.theinternational.club/2 <![CDATA[ Withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria is proving easier said than done ]]> Sat, 09 Feb 2019 16:14:57 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/500 By: Liz Sly, U.S. newspaper of The Washington Post

President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria has triggered a scramble among international powers and local forces to figure out how to fill the potentially destabilizing vacuum the Americans will leave behind.

But as the diplomacy drags on, it is becoming clear that there is no readily apparent arrangement that will satisfy the competing concerns and agendas of all the parties involved — and that none seems likely to emerge soon.

Turkey, Russia, the United States’ Syrian Kurdish allies and the Syrian government all have a strategic interest in any arrangement for the future of northern Syria, yet most of their demands are diametrically opposed. That they are not all talking to one another only compounds the difficulty of reaching a solution.

Turkey considers the Kurdish fighters to be a terrorist force and wants to create a Turkish-controlled buffer zone to keep them away from its border. The United States’ Kurdish allies, who fear persecution at Turkish hands, want the Turks kept out.

The Trump administration wants to satisfy both sides, making good on its contradictory promises to protect its Kurdish allies and to give Turkey a stake in the area.

The Kurds would prefer a return of Syrian government authority in the area they control. But one of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s closest allies is Iran, and the Trump administration objects to any plan that allows the Iranians to maintain — much less extend — their influence in Syria.

The various positions are “irreconcilable,” said Aaron Stein, director of the Middle East program at the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute. “They are massive issues. The U.S. is throwing a lot at this, but they are just irreconcilable.”

The Pentagon still has not announced a date for the withdrawal, but the question of how and when it will happen is gaining urgency as the Islamic State’s once vast “caliphate” dwindles. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by U.S. airstrikes, have the group’s holdouts pinned down in one last village in the southeastern Syrian desert.

After initially announcing in December that U.S. troops would be pulled out right away, Trump said they would remain until the last pocket of Islamic State territory had been liberated — and that could come as early as next week, he said Wednesday. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the U.S. military is eyeing an April deadline for the troops to leave.

U.S. officials say they are committed to negotiating a handover agreement, but they also stress that U.S. troops will pull out regardless.

 “We are withdrawing. There should be no doubt to that,” said a senior U.S. official. That raises the prospect of a no-deal withdrawal that could plunge the region into chaos and, potentially, conflict as the competing powers pile in to stake their claims. Turkey is threatening to invade the area if its demands are not met. The Syrian government has deployed troops to the south of the region, and the Islamic State is already trying to regroup in areas from which it has been expelled. A power vacuum or new conflict could help the Islamic State make a comeback, military officials say.

To avert such an outcome, intensive diplomacy is underway between the United States and Turkey, primarily with the aim of fulfilling Trump’s promise to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a December telephone conversation that the area of northeastern Syria where U.S. troops are deployed is “yours.” James Jeffrey, the U.S. envoy to the anti-Islamic State coalition, has been traveling to Turkey, and Turkish officials have visited Washington for talks.

The emphasis of these discussions is on meeting Turkish demands for what both sides are terming a “safe” zone in Syria along the Turkish border. But the talks have revealed only that the United States and Turkey have vastly differing interpretations of what counts as “safe.”

 “The United States wants a safe zone to protect Kurds from the Turkish army, and for Turkey, it is the exact opposite,” said Nihat Ali Ozcan, a military analyst with the Tepav think tank in Ankara. “How can two countries cooperate when their goals are that much opposed?”

Washington is meanwhile also exploring the possibility of maintaining overall American control without U.S. troops on the ground, U.S. officials say. Under that scenario, small contingents of British and French troops, who are already operating alongside Americans, would remain in the area with the SDF and perhaps also with private U.S. military contractors and U.N. observers, while the United States provides air cover.

That is the outcome the Kurds say they would like most. But otherwise, they have stated a clear preference for a return of Syrian government authority instead of any arrangement that gives Turkey a role.

It is not clear, however, whether Damascus is prepared to make the kind of concessions the Kurds are seeking to guarantee the autonomy they have secured recently with the support of U.S. troops.

During a Jan. 2 Cabinet meeting, President Trump said his decision to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal had significantly weakened Iran. (The Washington Post)

In January, the Kurds asked Russia to mediate between them and the Syrian government. The Kurds have demands that include allowing them to maintain their control over local government and security forces. A delegation from the Syrian Democratic Council, a coalition including Kurds and local Arabs, visited Damascus to present those demands.

But there has been no response, either from the Syrians or the Russians, said Salih Muslim, a senior official with the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the main Kurdish political organization.

"The matter is very complicated,” he said. “Everybody is waiting to see what steps the other side is going to take. And we are waiting for everybody.”

Russia, as Assad’s most powerful ally, also favors restoring Syrian government control and has proposed reviving the 1998 Adana agreement between Turkey and Syria under which Damascus would be responsible for keeping militant Kurds away from the Turkish border. The agreement committed Syria to preventing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its affiliates from using Syrian territory as a springboard for attacks against Turkey and forced PKK fighters based in Syria to take refuge at their headquarters in northern Iraq’s Qandil Mountains.

Some of those fighters are now in action alongside U.S. troops in the PKK-affiliated People’s Protection Units (YPG), the main component of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Turkey, however, is wary of having Syrian government forces return to its border after eight years of war, without a broader settlement to the Syrian conflict. The war, which has seen the Syrian government regain control over large areas of territory once in opposition hands, has turned Assad and Erdogan into bitter foes because of Turkey’s support for the rebels seeking Assad’s demise.

 “This will not help,” said Burhanettin Duran, who heads the SETA think tank in Ankara. Cutting a deal with Assad that neglects an overall solution to the war “will just empower him and make him very happy,” he said. “But it won’t solve the problem, and the future of Syria will be unstable, uncertain, and the way will be open to conflict including the return of” the Islamic State.

Turkey also opposes the Kurds’ preference for some form of no-fly zone in northern Syria, which Ankara fears would only facilitate the further evolution of the Kurdish autonomous region taking shape under U.S. tutelage.

"If this means a new kind of northern Iraq on our borders, Turkey will not accept that,” said Duran, referring to the semiautonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq that emerged from the no-fly zone imposed there by the United States in the 1990s.

Turkey’s preference remains, he said, that a buffer zone along the border be controlled by the Turkish military and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels. But that approach does not satisfy the United States’ concerns for the safety of its Kurdish allies or Russia’s desire to restore Syrian government control.

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<![CDATA[ How Russia is growing its strategic influence in Africa ]]> Sat, 09 Feb 2019 14:38:31 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/499 By: Theo Neethling

Professor and Head: Political Studies and Governance in the Humanities Faculty, University of the Free State

Much has been made about China’s role and profile in Africa and the factors underlying its activities on the continent. Less debated is the spread and depth of Russia’s contemporary presence and profile in Africa.

There was a strong Russian influence in Africa during the heyday of the Soviet Union. The post-independence governments of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Somalia, Ethiopia, Uganda and Benin at some point all received diplomatic or military support from the Soviet Union.

But this began to change after the superpower started to collapse in December 1991. More than a quarter of a century later Russia’s President Vladimir Putin seems to have new aspirations in Africa. This is in line with his desire to restore Russia to great power status.

Putin places a high premium on geopolitical relations and the pursuit of Russian assertiveness in the global arena. This includes reestablishing Russia’s sphere of influence, which extends to the African continent.

Like Beijing, Moscow’s method of trade and investment in Africa is without the prescriptions or conditionalities of actors like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

Russia is gradually increasing its influence in Africa through strategic investment in energy and minerals. It’s also using military muscle and soft power.

Increasingly, the pressing question is: is the relationship between China and Africa as good for Africa as it is for China? The same question applies to Russia-Africa relations.

Energy and minerals

Interaction between Russia and Africa has grown exponentially this century, with trade and investment growing by 185% between 2005 and 2015.

Economically, much of Russia’s focus in Africa centres on energy. Key Russian investments in Africa are in the oil, gas and nuclear power sectors.

The fact that 620 million people in Africa don’t have electricity provides Russia’s nuclear power industry with potential markets. Several Russian companies, such as Gazprom, Lukoil, Rostec and Rosatom are active in Africa. Most activity is in Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Nigeria and Uganda. In Egypt, negotiations have already been finalised with Moscow for the building of the country’s first nuclear plant .

These companies are mostly state-run, with investments often linked to military and diplomatic interests.

Moscow’s second area of interest is Africa’s mineral riches. This is particularly evident in Zimbabwe, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Namibia and the Central African Republic.

In Zimbabwe, Russia is developing one of the world’s largest deposits of platinum group metals.

Russia has also been reestablishing links with Angola, where Alrosa, the Russian giant, mines diamonds. Discussions between Russia and Angola have also focused on hydrocarbon production.Uranium in Namibia is another example.

Russia’s current controversial involvement in the Central African Republic (CAR) began in 2017, when a team of Russian military instructors and 170 “civilian advisers” were sent by Moscow to Bangui to train the country’s army and presidential guard. Shortly after that, nine weapons shipments arrived in the CAR.

Interest in the country has focused on exploring its natural resources on a concession basis. The murder of three Russian journalists in a remote area of the country last year focused the world’s attention on what looked like a Kremlin drive for influence and resources.

Military influence and diplomacy

Russia is the second largest exporter of arms globally, and a major supplier to African states. Over the past two decades it has pursued military ties with various African countries, such as Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Military ties are linked to bilateral military agreements as well as providing boots on the ground in UN peacekeeping operations. Combined, China and Russia outnumber the other permanent members of the UN Security Council in contributing troop to UN peacekeeping efforts.

Russia has also been actively supporting Zimbabwe. Shortly after it was reported in 2018 that China had placed new generation surface-to-air missiles in Zimbabwe, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that his country was pursuing military cooperation.

Significantly, Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said that his country may need Russia’s help with the modernisation of its defence force during a recent visit to Moscow.

Russia, Africa and the future

Both Russia and China are keen to play a future role in Africa. The difference between these two major powers is that China forms part of the Asian regional economy. This will surpass North America and Europe combined, in terms of global power - based on GDP, population size, military spending and technological investment.

China and India have sustained impressive economic growth over many years. And, their enormous populations make them two world powers of extraordinary importance. Growth prospects for the Russian economy, on the other hand, remain modest - between 1.5% and 1.8% a year for 2018-2010, against the current global average rate of 3.5% a year.

Still, Russia remains a major power in global politics. For African leaders, the key word is agency and the question is how to play the renewed Russian attention to their countries’ advantage, and not to fall victim to the contemporary “geopolitical chess” game played by the major powers on the continent.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt’s Sisi takes over African Union presidency on Sunday ]]> Sat, 09 Feb 2019 14:07:40 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/498 President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will arrive in Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Saturday to attend the 32nd ordinary session of the African Union (AU) Assembly, during which Egypt will take over chairmanship of the AU.

In preparation for the AU summit, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that Egypt looks forward to work with it’s fellow African nations during it’s presidency of the union during 2019.

Shoukry reviewed the priorities of the Egyptian presidency, which include economic integration, regional integration, economic and social development, peace and security, cultural and civilization bridges between African peoples and cooperation with international partners.

The theme for the AU’s 32nd ordinary session is “Migration and Displacement in Africa: Addressing the underlying causes through innovative risk financing mechanisms Background.”

African countries attach particular importance to this crisis in light of the armed conflicts and disasters in the continent which have displaced over 2.7 million Africans, in addition to the movement of terrorist organizations to certain African countries after losing their grip on Iraq, Syria and Libya which would drive large numbers of Africans to seek illegal immigration in European countries, or even join these terrorist organizations.

Secretary-General of the Arab League (AL) Ahmed Abul-Gheit will also deliver a speech at the opening session of the AU Summit, in which he will renew the AL’s commitment to continue its strategic cooperation with the AU and ways to strengthen Arab-African action to address common crises and challenges.

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<![CDATA[ As Government Shutdown Persists, Americans Feel the Bite ]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2019 13:59:57 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/497 By: Jim Tankersley, Matthew Goldstein and Glenn Thrush, The newyork Times

The impact of a partial government shutdown began to ripple across the U.S. economy as it stretched into Day 17, with mortgage applications delayed, public companies unable to get approval to raise capital and thousands of Secret Service agents expected to show up for work without pay.

President Trump and congressional Democrats have made little progress in negotiations to end a shutdown that has affected about 800,000 federal workers, many of whom will miss their first paycheck this week, and who owe a combined $249 million in monthly mortgage payments, according to the online real estate firm Zillow.

The shutdown shows no sign of ending soon, with Mr. Trump announcing Monday that he would address the nation on Tuesday evening from the Oval Office to discuss what he called the crisis at the southern border, and the White House saying that he would travel to the border this week as part of his effort to persuade Americans of the need for a wall — the sticking point in negotiations with Democrats.

The standoff is beginning to inflict pain on Americans, whose lives are affected, in one way or another, by the federal government. It is already the second-longest shutdown in history, behind the one that started in December 1995 and lasted 21 days.

On Monday, the Trump administration moved to soften some of the blow — and prevent taxpayer outrage — by directing the Internal Revenue Service to issue tax refunds during the shutdown, reversing previous policy. While the decision will allow taxpayers to get their money, the I.R.S. workers being called back from furlough to process those refunds will not be paid until the shutdown ends.


The effects of a prolonged shutdown have some Wall Street economists predicting a hit to the United States economy. Bank of America Merrill Lynch economists said Monday that it had pushed them to downgrade their estimates for economic growth at the end of 2018 by a 10th of a percent.

The ramifications of a prolonged shutdown are beginning to unnerve those both inside and outside the federal government. Some private companies and charities that serve public employees are searching for ways to cushion the impact.

The effects extend from the president’s inner circle, to Wall Street to farm country.

Virtually every employee with the Secret Service involved in investigations, security and the protective division, which protects Mr. Trump and dozens of other current and former government officials and their families, is required to work during the shutdown. And 6,000 of the organization’s roughly 7,000 employees will not be paid.

The same is true at the Securities and Exchange Commission, which has come to a standstill with “only an extremely limited number of staff members available to respond to emergency situations,” according to a shutdown plan posted on the commission’s website.

As the effect moves well beyond the nation’s capital, craft brewers cannot get approval from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for new beer labels. And the Commerce Department has stopped processing requests from auto suppliers and other manufacturing companies seeking an exemption from Mr. Trump’s metal tariffs, leaving them uncertain over the price they will need to pay for key materials this year.

Farmers who planned to apply for subsidies to help mitigate the effect of Mr. Trump’s trade war must wait to get paid until the Agriculture Department’s Farm Service Agency offices reopen. And in neighborhoods across the country, as many as 39,000 federally backed mortgage applications may have already been delayed because of reduced staffing in federal agencies, according to Zillow estimates.

The tax refund decision flies in the face of previous shutdown plans — and interpretations of federal law — when the I.R.S. was prohibited from dispensing tax refunds.

The earliest I.R.S. statistics from 2018 show that 18 million individual tax returns had been filed by Feb. 2. By that point, the I.R.S. had issued more than six million refunds, totaling $12.6 billion — an average refund of $2,035. The agency issued more than $324 billion in refunds for all of last year.

Several nonprofit organizations, including the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, are trying to aid Department of Homeland Security workers who need immediate help with a limited pool of cash and other resources, an officer with the group’s charitable foundation said. The Navy Federal Credit Union is offering no-interest loans to service members who face the prospect of missed paychecks. USAA, though, has drawn criticism from members of the Coast Guard for offering similar loans that charge interest.

Secret Service agents are growing increasingly anxious and angry about the shutdown, according to several current and former agents. The Secret Service protects 42 people associated with the Trump White House, 11 more than were given details during the Obama administration. In August 2017, the agency’s new director, Randolph D. Alles, told an interviewer that the sprawling Trump entourage was putting unprecedented strains on his agents, in terms of staffing and budgeting.

 “They are asking you to put your life on the line and not paying you — it’s ridiculous,” said Donald Mihalek, 49, a 20-year Secret Service veteran whose own retirement paperwork has yet to be processed because of the shutdown.

 “Morale is a serious issue,” said Mr. Mihalek, who served on the presidential detail during George W. Bush’s and Barack Obama’s administrations. “This is an incredibly stressful job that requires your full attention, and if you are standing there thinking about your mortgage, or your credit card bills, or the fact that you are burning through your savings, you are distracted, you not able to give 100 percent.”

Financial enforcement is also suffering. The S.E.C. has about 4,400 full-time employees and during the shutdown is operating with just a few hundred — most of those tasked “to protect life or property.”

The constrained operations means pending investigations in securities violations have ground to a halt, and there is no one reviewing applications for company stock offerings to raise cash or consider merger and acquisition filings.

Defense and corporate lawyers said meetings with potential witnesses in pending investigations have been canceled, and some companies seeking to raise cash through a stock offering are having to bide their time. Staff lawyers at the S.E.C. are largely prohibited from responding to emails seeking information or guidance.

In the past, the S.E.C. had managed to keep operating during government shutdowns by shifting around money in its budget. But the commission, which has been operating under a hiring freeze for more than a year, is not able to do that this time.

 “When I was there, we always had money to be able to operate for a certain period of time,” said Andrew M. Calamari, a lawyer with Finn Dixon & Herling in Connecticut, who stepped down as the director of the S.E.C.’s New York office in October 2017. “I was there for 17 years, and in my time, we had several shutdowns, and in each case, we continued to operate.”

The S.E.C. said in a statement that staff “continues to monitor the asset management space, track market activity and watch for systems issues or other events that could disrupt the fair and orderly operation of the securities markets.”

The agency also said it had advised financial filers to request expedited action before the shutdown.

But corporate America will now have to wait for the government to reopen in order to move ahead with things like initial public offerings and pending corporate mergers that need approvals from regulators.

 “I have a client in registration right now for an M.&A. deal, and nothing is going on,” said Marc Leaf, a partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath in New York who used to work for the S.E.C. as an adviser to a commissioner.

Mr. Leaf also said so-called secondary stock offerings — which companies often rely on to raise cash — are paused. A dearth of those deals could create financial hardships for midsize public companies that have fewer financial resources to draw upon.

 “If this it is not solved and goes on for weeks, there will be companies who are really slowed down in the public offering process,” Mr. Leaf said. “There is a lot of basic blocking and tackling that can’t get done, and that will impact a number of issuers.”

Deutsche Bank economists warned on Monday that the shutdown could also affect the Federal Reserve’s interest rate decisions by delaying the release of key economic data, like new home sales and durable goods orders. That delay “would significantly impair” economic forecasters’ ability to gauge growth, the economists wrote, and cloud decision-making for Fed officials who have emphasized “data dependence” in their policy decisions.

The biggest and most far-reaching effect of the shutdown looms on Feb. 1. Trump administration officials say that funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, which provides food benefits for about 40 million people, will run out of cash by the end of the month. The Agriculture Department has not made it clear how long it will be able to fund the program, which costs about $4.7 billion a month, but estimates by anti-hunger groups put the department’s reserves at $3 billion to $5 billion, meaning funding is more likely to completely run out in February or March.

Other food assistance programs are facing a more immediate cash crunch. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC, has already been cut off, with state funds filling the gap as the shutdown drags on. WIC provides aid to an additional seven million low-income Americans who are considered to be at “nutritional risk.”

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<![CDATA[ Assad receives an Arab NGO delegation ]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2019 13:39:34 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/496 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad received on Monday the delegation of the Arab Lawyers Union (ALU) affirming the importance of the role of popular unions and organizations in preserving Arab societies and raising awareness in light of conspiracies and dangers threatening their existence.

Assad highlighted as the main threat attempts to erase the national identity, and sense of belonging among the Arab peoples to weaken them, and undermine their faith in their causes and abilities to defend their rights.

Discussions in the meeting covered the status of different Arab countries, and possible ways out of issues and crises in the Arab world. The Syrian president pointed out that the first step to resolve problems is dialogue and transparency as the lack of those concepts led to the accumulation of issues over the years.

Assad stated that problems suffered by Arab states are the same in nature but differ in form and image.

The ALU founded in 1944 is an Arab non-governmental organization headquartered in Cairo, and is formed of the Arab countries’ lawyers syndicates. The delegation was headed by ALU’s Secretary General Nasser Hamoud Al Kraween.


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<![CDATA[ Egypt rejoices at opening Middle East's largest cathedral ]]> Tue, 08 Jan 2019 13:30:35 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/495 The world turned on Sunday to watch the Egyptian and Palestinian presidents inaugurating the "largest church in the Middle East" along with a huge and spacious mosque in Egypt's New Administrative Capital.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi along with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who has recently been keen to attend such touching occasions, inaugurated al-Fattah al-Alim Mosque and the Cathedral of Milad al-Masih (Nativity) which reportedly accommodates eight thousand people.

In a recorded message, Pope Francis of the Vatican congratulated Egypt on the opening of the cathedral, thanking President Sisi and the Egyptian government for accomplishing such historic work.

"I offer a special tribute to my dear brother, His Holiness Pope Twadrous II, and to the Coptic Orthodox Church, which knows how to give a true testimony of faith and love in times of crisis," Pope Francis said.

Before the celebration, which coincided with the eve of Coptic Christmas, US President Donald Trump said he is excited to see the inauguration of the Church of Nativity, praising his Egyptian counterpart for the step.

During his speech, President Sisi honored the Egyptian victims who were killed in terrorist and other hostile attacks. "I am not speaking about the army, the police, the civilians, or our Christian brothers, but all Egyptians."

Sisi welcomed Palestine's Abbas and the Arab delegates who participated in this historic moment.

"This moment is important in the history of Egypt, because two years ago in [Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox] Cathedral in [Cairo's} Abbassia, I told the Pope (Tawadros II) that next year we will celebrate in the new cathedral. We [already] celebrated the first phase and today we celebrate in full," Sisi stated.

The President, during his speech, said that he refuses to use the term "sectarian strife" when talking about Egypt, explaining that this is not the situation, and that all Egyptians are unified "We will not allow anyone to [negatively] impact us," Sisi stated.

"We need to be aware that the strife will not end, but [we have to adopt] vigilance and awareness," Sisi stated, adding that Egypt is building 14 cities and embedding mosques and churches inside them.

"Here I quote from the words of His Holiness Pope [Tawadros II] in 2013 after the attacks on churches; the Holy Father responded: a homeland without churches is better than churches without a homeland," Sisi stated.

For his part, Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Egypt's top Islamic institution Al-Azhar expressed his happiness at the opening of mosque and the church, adding that he considers it "an exceptional event that has never happened before in the history of Christianity and Islam."

"The Islamic state is a legal guarantor of the churches of the Christians and the synagogues of the Jews. The Sharia obligates the Muslims to protect mosques and churches equally," al-Tayeb said.

Standing Pope Tawadros II of Alexandria and Patriarch of St. Mark Diocese thanked President Sisi for delivering on his promise that Sisi gave in January 2017, to build the mosque and the cathedral. "This was impossible because they are huge buildings and [needed to be] built in this short time," Pope Tawadros stated.

"We see and care about bread as food for the bodies, but souls also find their food in these spiritual and religious institutions," he added.

The Pope affirmed that these huge buildings were "established by the money and donations of Egyptians," adding that the President was the first to donate.

"As an Egyptian citizen I stand in this holy mosque (Al-Fatah al-Alim) and rejoice with all my beloved brothers at this happy occasion, which is recorded in the history of Egypt," the Pope stated.

By yesterday's opening, the New Administrative Capital is considered as having the largest mosque and church in Egypt, according to Chairman of the Armed Forces Engineering Authority Kamel al-Wazir. Wazir also explained that the cathedral covers a total of 63,000 square meters with a hosting capacity of 8,200 persons.

The New Administrative Capital is planned to include 21 residential districts, educational institutions, hospitals, 40,000 hotel rooms, a theme park, solar plants and a new international airport.


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<![CDATA[ Egypt Tops 2019 travel rankings ]]> Sun, 06 Jan 2019 13:57:53 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/494 Egypt has long been known for being a top holiday destination, a fact that has been further supported by articles in CNN Travel, the Independent, The Sun, and the Vancouver Sun in 2019. All four news sites have ranked Egypt as a top holiday destination during 2019.

CNN Travel

On January 4, 2019, CNN Travel published their annual list of top destinations for the year, placing Egypt in Second place, after Christchurch, New Zealand. Despite the recent terrorist attack, CNN explains, 2019 will be different.  “So what's different in 2019?” writes CNN.

 “Well, while the sand has been settling on deserted classic monuments, Egyptologists have been brushing it gently aside elsewhere to discover a litany of exciting finds, many of which are now being opened to the public,” answers CNN.

As for the safety concerns, CNN writes, “And while safety concerns persist, hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx, the Valley of the Kings take place without incident each year. Likewise, Egypt's main Red Sea resorts are considered safe.” Positively, CNN expects Egypt to receive many more tourists in the run up to its 2020 opening of its Grand Egyptian Museum.

The Independent

Cairo tops the British Independent’s top ten cities to visit in 2019. Egypt has lots of treasures that are world admired such as the Greatest Egyptian Museum that cost $ 1 billion, pointed out the Independent. The Journal further stated that the museum will attach the whole set of Tutankhauman Tomb for the first time.

Cairo is rich with the fabulous Nile cruises and incredible destinations that you have to see. Matera, the Italian city, ranked second in Independent’s list, which described it as the capital of European culture. Perth, the Australian city, ranked third, while Lyon, the French city, came in fourth and Chengdu, in China, came fifth.

The Sun

BRITS have shunned Benidorm in favour of alternative destinations such as … Egypt this year,” wrote British news site “The Sun” on January 4, 2019. The Sun cites Hosbec’s statistics that show that hotels have seen an eight percent fall in British tourists. Instead of heading to Spain, more Brits are not heading towards Egypt and Turkey due to them being cheaper.  “Last year, around 319,000 British nationals visited Egypt,” writes The Sun.

Vancouver Sun

 “King Tutankhamun’s complete museum collection — among 100,000 artifacts in total and some of which have never been seen in public — are housed in the newly opened, $1 billion Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) that overlooks the pyramids of Giza, in greater Cairo,” writes Canada’s Vancouver Sun.

Ranked third on its list, Egypt is actually number one, according to the news site, for tourists who are interested in art, history and ancient life. “If art, history and the grand scope of ancient life is your balm, this is your happy place,” the news site writes in reference to Egypt.

 “Egypt has had its share of travel warnings in the past since the Arab Spring of 2011, but like any metropolis, it is safe as long as you are aware and avoid areas that are off limits, such as the Sinai Peninsula, and don’t wander off into the desert unaccompanied. The GEM is the largest museum in the world dedicated to one civilization. King Tutankhamun’s sandals, more than 3,500 years old, have been restored using special processed developed specifically for this task.”

Egypt’s strategy to attract more tourists

In an interview with Manus Cranny and Tracy Alloway on “Bloomberg Daybreak: Middle East” on November 8, Mashat revealed that Egypt has witnessed a “steep rebound” in the tourism industry, citing the significant increase in the influx of tourists.

Mashat spoke of tourism’s future, its prospects and the work that the government is doing to get the industry back on its feet. She also revealed, “At the end of this month in Parliament, I will be announcing E-Trip: Egypt Reform Program”

Shortly after, Mashat revealed the E-Trip at a Luncheon at the American Chamber of Commerce. The five-pillar strategy is designed to reform and regulate the industry, as well as to ensure its sustainability.

The five pillars start of at an area that has been criticized over and over again by Egyptians and experts, as well as the minister herself: Administrative and legislative reform. Earlier this year, while speaking to more than 10 experts about the problem in the industry, they had all agreed that there is a problem with professionalism and that most workers are not trained well enough to deal with tourists.

Chairman and CEO of Emeco Travel, former head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation and former Chairman of Tourism Chambers Elhamy El-Zayat explains that one of the top priorities in the tourism sector for the next period is training. El-Zayat adds that because there is no language-proficiency requirement for most hospitality-degree admissions, graduates are often left with poor English skills.

He adds that funds do exist to train people working in the sector, indicating that money for training has been allocated ever since former Minister of Tourism Fouad Sultan (1985-1993) was in office. To reach a higher level of service and communicate better with tourists, El-Zayat, Counsellor to the Minister of Tourism Walid El-Batouty and Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Promotion Board (ETPB) Hisham el-Demery all call for training.

 “We need to make sure that people have a good time. Traveling is an experience. You have to make sure that when tourists come, they will find good English, service and information. It is the guide’s role to show the best of Egypt,” says El-Batouty. “Tour guides are in a great position to generate more business for themselves and for the country by showing the best of Egypt. A guide makes it or breaks it.”

In addition to language and technical abilities, Magdy Saleh, the head of the Egyptian Federation of Chambers of Tourism in Hurghada says there’s a need to improve the organization of services offered to tourists. He explains, for instance, that the crowds of taxi drivers at Cairo International Airport’s arrival halls is a chaotic scene for someone stepping out of the airport to be greeted by flocks of drivers shouting randomly at him. “There is need for a policy to organise taxis at the airport better,” he adds. Similarly, Demery would love to see “a global awareness campaign on how to treat tourists.”

Consequently, the minister has taken a positive step forward and moved towards giving people vocational training, educating them to enable them to deal with tourists well, and teaching them proper etiquette for dealing with visitors. The ministry will look to hire more high-quality professionals who are able to manage work. Moreover, vocational training will be given to those who work in the industry.

The second pillar is one that has also been on the forefront of people’s minds over the past two years: Rebranding Egypt. All experts unanimously said that there is an urgent need to maximise the types of tourism programs for an uptick in tourist inflows to occur. “We need to introduce new types of tourism including medical, the Holy Family and MICE [meeting, incentive, conference and events],” Demery told us.

Similarly, Saleh calls for an increase in religious events and festivals to attract tourists. “We have forgotten that Egypt is the land of religions,” he says. “Between Mount Moses, the Holy Family tour, and many other heavenly locations in Egypt, Egypt has the potential to rebrand itself from being [solely] a beach-and-monument destination.”

Batouty explains that we need new ideas, and we need to be updated to revive the tourism sectors, citing two new initiatives that have attracted many guests so far. Run by Art D’Egypte’s founder Nadine Abdel Ghaffar, the first initiative is “Eternal Light. Something Old, Something New,” which took place at the Egyptian Museum, and managed to gain much interest. The exhibition displayed 16 artworks of Egypt’s most prominent contemporary artists, creating a wonderful contrast against the timeless backdrop of arte facts in the museum. Displayed pieces were influenced by ancient Egypt’s art and artists, like Mohamed Abla.

Through social media platforms and social media influencers and bloggers, international tourism campaigns and travel Expos, the tourism is working to rebrand the tourism industry in Egypt as a “responsible choice for eco-friendly tourists” and one that “economically empowers women,” revealed the Tourism Minister.

The third pillar is concerned with fining new markets and diversifying the base from which tourists come to visit Egypt, in addition to beefing up cooperations, focused on tourism, with countries that are considered well-established markets.

The fourth pillar concerns upgrading the hospitability infrastructure. To do so, the Tourism Ministry has decided to launch a private equity find. This fund will also be used to upgrade hotels and resorts that have gone out of style or need to be revamped; an issue that experts we spoke to also brought up.

Concerning this pillar, experts had previously told us that to ensure that the sector keeps growing and accommodate the expected increase in tourist inflows, El-Zayat believes that investors should be allowed to take loans from Egyptian banks. The fact that the door was shut in recent years, he explains, led many investors to downsize their businesses, leaving many unemployed. To maintain the growing tourism sector, investors should be able to rely on banks when needed, El-Zayat suggests.

Calls of increased high-quality investments also came from El-Batouty, who indicates that good investments always make money for Egypt, as well as for the investor. El-Batouty gave Cosmos, an Egypt-based travel company that partners with Viking USA, as a successful model that played a role in tourists’ return to Egypt by providing high-quality services, portraying a positive image of tourism in Egypt.

The fifth, and final pillar, concerns an upgrade to the legislative framework that governs the industry as of right now. This is something that has been on Mashat’s mind for a while: During her first meeting with investors in the tourism sector, Rania El-Mashat, the new minister of tourism, has indicated that she is set on building a newer administrative framework for the sector to allow processes to go smoother and quicker. El-Mashat said that she intends to build a system that would move the sector forward, leading it to be a case study for the international community to take lessons from.


Building on this, Demery told us that there are many great ideas and that people are energetic and enthusiastic to implement them, but to do that, bureaucracy needs to be addressed and the processes need to be upgraded. To keep up with the digital world today, one needs to take actions quicker and keep up with trends, he says, and so we need to be constantly updating our systems to keep up with international trends and needs.

Having spoken to sources who called the industry highly bureaucratic, advising that less bureaucracy would help the industry flourish, it sure is a relief to see the fifth pillar of the strategic plan aim to remove bureaucracy and better the legislative framework. The new framework will be an update to a framework that has not been updated in about 40 years, and will see the ministry itself propose ideas for legislative changes.

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<![CDATA[ Report: Brotherhood-Linked Group Killed Egyptians in 2017 ]]> Sat, 08 Dec 2018 15:26:13 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/493 By Steve Emerson, newsmax

A violent Brotherhood-affiliated group, the Hasm Movement, carried out several deadly attacks contributing to an overall increase in terrorism plaguing Egypt last year, according to the 2018 Global Terrorism Index report.

Deaths from terrorist attacks more than doubled in Egypt in 2017, as coded by the Global Terrorism Database (GTD). Wilayat Sinai, th Is's Sinai Peninsula affiliate, remains Egypt's deadliest group. Wilayat Sinai launched the deadliest attack in Egypt's history when 311 people were killed in November 2017 in a coordinated assault on the al-Rawda mosque.

IS in Egypt, which operates in the country's mainland and was responsible for 98 deaths in 2017, is the country's second-deadliest terror group. But beyond the IS affiliates, the next most lethal Egyptian terrorist group is the Brotherhood (MB) affiliate Hasm Movement. Hasm carried out seven attacks in 2017, resulting in 14 deaths.

While less lethal than IS affiliates in the country, the Hasm Movement is relatively nascent, only emerging in 2016.

In June 2017, it detonated an "anti-vehicle explosive device" in Cairo "which led to the destruction to the military vehicle and the killing of two officers," according to a Hasm Movement statement released shortly after that attack.

Intelligence collected last year by Egypt's interior ministry suggested that the Muslim Brotherhood is establishing "terrorist entities," including the Hasm Movement and others, to carry out attacks in an attempt to conceal the Brotherhood's responsibility.

In May, Najah Ibrahim, a former leader of the terrorist organization Gamma'a Islamiya, revealed that these terrorist offshoots consist of Brotherhood youth seeking to escalate violence against the Egyptian regime. Ibrahim told al-Hayat news that some Brotherhood leaders encouraged the terrorist groups to commit violence, according to an IPT translation.

Brotherhood figures also engage in violent incitement and encourage others to conduct terrorist attacks. In April 2017, a senior Muslim Brotherhood member, 'Izz Al-Din Dwedar, called for an "intifada" targeting Egyptian embassies around the world in protest of death sentences handed to members of the Brotherhood in Egypt at the time.

The terrorist group continues to pose a threat to Egyptian national security. Egyptian authorities foiled an alleged Hasm plot to attack during Egypt's presidential elections in March. The U.S. designated Hasm and Liwa al Thawra, another Brotherhood-linked group, as terrorist organizations in January.


Steven Emerson is executive director of The Investigative Project on Terrorism. He was a correspondent for CNN and a senior editor at U.S. News and World Report.



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<![CDATA[ Sisi to participate in 'African young entrepreneurs' session ]]> Sat, 08 Dec 2018 14:20:10 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/492 President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is set to participate on Saturday in a session on the "young entrepreneurs in Africa", a preparatory session that will be held ahead of the official opening of the forum, slated for Sunday in Sharm el Sheikh.

According to a statement issued by the Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi that today's session is aimed at supporting the potentials of the African youths in entrepreneurship and innovation domains.

President Sisi will deliver a speech on Egypt's vision towards backing and empowering the youth, the spokesman added.

The Rwandan president, chairperson of the African Union Commission and the secretary general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) will also take part in today's session along with senior African businessmen and heads of major companies operating in Africa, Radi noted.  

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<![CDATA[ African Leaders, Billionaires Converge In Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt For Business Forum ]]> Sat, 08 Dec 2018 14:12:01 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/491 By: Mfonobong Nsehe,U.S magazine of  Forbes

The 2018 Business for Africa forum kicks off in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt today. This year’s event will feature three programmes: events focusing on issues such as Infrastructure, Finance and Energy; a Young Entrepreneurs Day; and a high-powered meeting of influential African women who will discuss Women Empowering Africa. It will conclude with a Gala Dinner recognizing some outstanding African women and also celebrating Africa’s creative industries.

The two-day event will also feature a Presidential panel and high-level discussions. As Egypt looks to take over the chair of the African Union in 2019, President Abel Fattah Al Sisi will host two Roundtable discussions to help shape the African sector private sector agenda for the upcoming year as well as look to strengthen cross-border collaboration and investments. At least 5 African Heads of State and Government are attending the event, including President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt, Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Faure Gnassingbé of Togo, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, and Paul Kagame of Rwanda among others.

Some of the African business leaders expected to speak at the event include Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, Algeria’s richest man Issad Rebrab, Malagasy tycoon Ylias Akbaraly and Nigerian cement mogul Abdulsamad Rabiu.

Now in its third year, the 2018 Business for Africa forum is a platform for business owners to nurture new partnerships and meet investors. The forum will provide business owners with an opportunity to engage with African political leaders and policy makers on new ideas to improve business environment across the continent. There will also be a series of events for entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to investors from within and outside Africa. More than 1,500 delegates from more than 40 countries are expected to attend the event.

The event is organized by Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Regional Investment Agency (RIA).

The Africa 2018 Business Forum will under the high patronage of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 8th and 9th of December 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).

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<![CDATA[ African Leaders, Billionaires Converge In Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt For Business Forum ]]> Sat, 08 Dec 2018 14:12:01 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/490 By: Mfonobong Nsehe,U.S magazine of  Forbes

The 2018 Business for Africa forum kicks off in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt today. This year’s event will feature three programmes: events focusing on issues such as Infrastructure, Finance and Energy; a Young Entrepreneurs Day; and a high-powered meeting of influential African women who will discuss Women Empowering Africa. It will conclude with a Gala Dinner recognizing some outstanding African women and also celebrating Africa’s creative industries.

The two-day event will also feature a Presidential panel and high-level discussions. As Egypt looks to take over the chair of the African Union in 2019, President Abel Fattah Al Sisi will host two Roundtable discussions to help shape the African sector private sector agenda for the upcoming year as well as look to strengthen cross-border collaboration and investments. At least 5 African Heads of State and Government are attending the event, including President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt, Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Faure Gnassingbé of Togo, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, and Paul Kagame of Rwanda among others.

Some of the African business leaders expected to speak at the event include Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, Algeria’s richest man Issad Rebrab, Malagasy tycoon Ylias Akbaraly and Nigerian cement mogul Abdulsamad Rabiu.

Now in its third year, the 2018 Business for Africa forum is a platform for business owners to nurture new partnerships and meet investors. The forum will provide business owners with an opportunity to engage with African political leaders and policy makers on new ideas to improve business environment across the continent. There will also be a series of events for entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to investors from within and outside Africa. More than 1,500 delegates from more than 40 countries are expected to attend the event.

The event is organized by Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Regional Investment Agency (RIA).

The Africa 2018 Business Forum will under the high patronage of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 8th and 9th of December 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).

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<![CDATA[ African Leaders, Billionaires Converge In Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt For Business Forum ]]> Sat, 08 Dec 2018 14:12:00 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/489 By: Mfonobong Nsehe,U.S magazine of  Forbes

The 2018 Business for Africa forum kicks off in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt today. This year’s event will feature three programmes: events focusing on issues such as Infrastructure, Finance and Energy; a Young Entrepreneurs Day; and a high-powered meeting of influential African women who will discuss Women Empowering Africa. It will conclude with a Gala Dinner recognizing some outstanding African women and also celebrating Africa’s creative industries.

The two-day event will also feature a Presidential panel and high-level discussions. As Egypt looks to take over the chair of the African Union in 2019, President Abel Fattah Al Sisi will host two Roundtable discussions to help shape the African sector private sector agenda for the upcoming year as well as look to strengthen cross-border collaboration and investments. At least 5 African Heads of State and Government are attending the event, including President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of Egypt, Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, Faure Gnassingbé of Togo, Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, and Paul Kagame of Rwanda among others.

Some of the African business leaders expected to speak at the event include Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, Algeria’s richest man Issad Rebrab, Malagasy tycoon Ylias Akbaraly and Nigerian cement mogul Abdulsamad Rabiu.

Now in its third year, the 2018 Business for Africa forum is a platform for business owners to nurture new partnerships and meet investors. The forum will provide business owners with an opportunity to engage with African political leaders and policy makers on new ideas to improve business environment across the continent. There will also be a series of events for entrepreneurs to pitch their businesses to investors from within and outside Africa. More than 1,500 delegates from more than 40 countries are expected to attend the event.

The event is organized by Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation and by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Regional Investment Agency (RIA).

The Africa 2018 Business Forum will under the high patronage of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 8th and 9th of December 2018 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).

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<![CDATA[ EDEX reveals Egypt’s value in the region, U.S charge d’Affaires ]]> Tue, 04 Dec 2018 13:54:52 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/488  The US mission to Egypt was keen to participate in the first International Egypt Defense Expo (EDEX) on Monday. The mission congratulated Egypt on its first military event where over forty American companies were given a warm welcome.

Many of the US exhibitors were represented by senior officials who came from the companies’ headquarters to participate in the event. American companies offer the most technologically advanced defense solutions in the world.

The official U.S. delegation attending EDEX includes U.S. Embassy Cairo Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Goldberger, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Defense Exports and Cooperation Ann Cataldo, Defense Security Cooperation Agency Principal Director Michele Hizon, Director of the Department of Commerce’s Advocacy Center Stephen Renna, and Senior U.S. Defense Official in Egypt Major General Ralph Groover.

"We are proud to have strong American participation in this event and will continue to work with the Egyptian government and U.S. companies to see that Egypt has the tools it needs to ensure its security”, said Chargé d’Affaires Thomas Goldberger in press statements.

Goldberger added that EDEX reveals Egypt’s value in Africa, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean sea, along with Egypt’s strong partnership with the US.

Goldberger said that more than forty American company participate in the event to showcase the most recent military weapons, represented by senior officials.

Goldberger asserted the strong ties between Cairo and Washington adding that the US government is seeking to broaden its cooperation with the Egyptian army.

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<![CDATA[ U.S., China agree trade war ceasefire after Trump, Xi summit ]]> Sun, 02 Dec 2018 14:52:04 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/487 China and the United States agreed to a ceasefire in their bitter trade war on Saturday after high-stakes talks in Argentina between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, including no escalated tariffs on Jan. 1.

Trump will leave tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports at 10 percent at the beginning of the new year, agreeing to not raise them to 25 percent “at this time”, the White House said in a statement.

“China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial, amount of agricultural, energy, industrial, and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries,” it said.

“China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.”.. The two leaders also agreed to immediately start talks on structural changes with respect to forced technology transfers, intellectual property protection, non-tariff barriers, cyber intrusions and cyber theft, services and agriculture, the White House said.

Both countries agreed they will try to have this “transaction” completed within the next 90 days, but if this does not happen then the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent, it added.

The Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, said the negotiations were conducted in a “friendly and candid atmosphere”.

“The two presidents agreed that the two sides can and must get bilateral relations right,” Wang told reporters, adding they agreed to further exchanges at appropriate times.

“Discussion on economic and trade issues was very positive and constructive. The two heads of state reached consensus to halt the mutual increase of new tariffs,” Wang said.

“China is willing to increase imports in accordance with the needs of its domestic market and the people’s needs, including marketable products from the United States, to gradually ease the imbalance in two-way trade.”

“The two sides agreed to mutually open their markets, and as China advances a new round of reforms, the United States’ legitimate concerns can be progressively resolved.”

The two sides would “step up negotiations” toward full elimination of all additional tariffs, Wang said. The announcements came after Trump and Xi sat down with their aides for a working dinner at the end of a two-day gathering of world leaders in Buenos Aires, their dispute having unnerved global financial markets and weighed on the world economy.

After the 2-1/2 hour meeting, White House chief economist Larry Kudlow told reporters the talks went “very well,” but offered no specifics as he boarded Air Force One headed home to Washington with Trump.

China’s goal was to persuade Trump to abandon plans to raise tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods to 25 percent in January, from 10 percent at present. Trump had threatened to do that, and possibly add tariffs on $267 billion of imports, if there was no progress in the talks.

With the United States and China clashing over commerce, financial markets will take their lead from the results of the talks, widely seen as the most important meeting of U.S. and Chinese leaders in years.

The encounter came shortly after the Group of 20 industrialized nations backed an overhaul of the World Trade Organization (WTO), which regulates international trade disputes, marking a victory for Trump, a sharp critic of the organization.

Trump told Xi at the start of their meeting he hoped they would achieve “something great” on trade for both countries. He struck a positive note as he sat across from Xi, despite the U.S. president’s earlier threats to impose new tariffs on Chinese imports as early as the next year.

He suggested that the “incredible relationship” he and Xi had established would be “the very primary reason” they could make progress on trade.

Xi told Trump that only through cooperation could the United States and China serve the interest of peace and prosperity. Washington and Beijing have also increasingly been at odds over security in the Asia-Pacific region.

At the same time, Trump again raised with Xi his concern about the synthetic opioid fentanyl being sent from China to the United States, urging the Chinese leader to place it in a “restricted category” of drugs that would criminalize it.

The White House said Xi, “in a wonderful humanitarian gesture”, had agreed to designate fentanyl a controlled substance.

Xi also said that he was open to approving the previously unapproved Qualcomm-NXP deal should it again be presented to him, the White House added.

“This was an amazing and productive meeting with unlimited possibilities for both the United States and China. It is my great honor to be working with President Xi,” Trump said in the statement.

Earlier on Saturday, the leaders of the world’s top economies called for WTO reform in their final summit statement. Officials expressed relief that agreement on the communique was reached after negotiators worked through the night to overcome differences over language on climate change.

The final text recognized trade as an important engine of global growth but made only a passing reference to “the current trade issues” after the U.S. delegation won a battle to keep any mention of protectionism out of the statement.

Trump has long railed against China’s trade surplus with the United States, and Washington accuses Beijing of not playing fairly on trade. China calls the United States protectionist and has resisted what it views as attempts to intimidate it.

The two countries are also at odds over China’s extensive claims in the South China Sea and U.S. warship movements through the highly sensitive Taiwan Strait.

In addition to tariffs on Chinese goods, Trump has imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports into the United States this year. Numerous countries have filed litigation at the WTO to contest the levies.

The United States is unhappy with what it says is the WTO’s failure to hold China to account for not opening up its economy as envisioned when China joined the body in 2001. The European Union is also pushing for sweeping changes to how the WTO operates.

G20 delegates said negotiations on the summit statement proceeded more smoothly than at a meeting of Asia-Pacific leaders two weeks ago, where disagreement on protectionism and unfair trading practices prevented a consensus.

European officials said a reference to refugees and migration - a sensitive issue for Trump’s administration - was excised to ensure consensus.

On climate change, the United States once again marked its differences with the rest of the G20 by reiterating in the statement its decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and its commitment to using all kinds of energy sources. The other members of the group reaffirmed their commitment to implement the Paris deal and tackle climate change.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde said high levels of debt accumulated by emerging market nations was a pressing concern.

U.S. officials said a call by G20 leaders for the IMF and World Bank to improve monitoring debt levels was aimed at ensuring that developing economies did not become to heavily indebted to China in return for infrastructure projects.

U.S. officials have warned about China’s increasing influence across swaths of the developing world, including Latin America. G20 summit host Argentina is expected to sign a series of deals with China on Sunday during a one-day state visit by Xi.

Apart from trade and climate change, Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian vessels drew condemnation from other G20 members.

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<![CDATA[ France ready for state of emergency - minister ]]> Sun, 02 Dec 2018 14:33:51 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/486 French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said he is ready to explore all possibilities, including declaring a state of emergency.

"I have no taboo, I'm ready to explore all possibilities," said Castaner in statements to France 24 Channel.

The state of emergency was called for Saturday night by the Alliance police union and suggested by the union of police commissioners (NPC).

The minister compared the perpetrators of violence that occurred Saturday in the capital to "factious, seditious". "We identified about 3,000 people who were in Paris and committed degradations, "which actually made it much more difficult for law enforcement to intervene," the minister said.

"All the means of the police, gendarmerie, civil protection were mobilized today" in Paris and regions, said Christophe Castaner, noting that 4,600 police and gendarmes were mobilized in the capital.

This is the third straight weekend of clashes in Paris involving activists dressed in the fluorescent yellow vests of a new protest movement and the worst urban violence since at least 2005.

The scene contrasted sharply with other protests in France, where demonstrations and road blockades elsewhere were largely peaceful Saturday.

The violence is Macron’s biggest challenge so far as president that erupted following fuel tax rises. France’s failure to quell the anger has led to copycat yellow jacket movements in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

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<![CDATA[ Egyptian, French navies carry out joint-military exercise at Red Sea bas ]]> Sun, 02 Dec 2018 14:26:25 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/485 The Egyptian and French navies conducted an exercise at the Red Sea base, with the French vessel, Courbet, taking part. A group of Egyptian and French vessels participated in an extensive training aiming to boost cooperation between both armed forces, master the latest systems and techniques of naval warfare as well as maximize the mutual benefits for the armies of both countries.

The training includes the implementation of many activities such as the use of modern tactics to counter threats against maritime security, fight terrorism and protect vital targets against non-traditional security threats.

The joint naval exercise also comprises advanced training on formations for sailing during day and night, while demonstrating the ability of participating naval units to take positions with a high degree of accuracy and speed.

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<![CDATA[ Trump proposes ‘worldwide network’ to counter CNN overseas ]]> Wed, 28 Nov 2018 14:54:23 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/484 US President Donald Trump is raising the possibility of starting “our own Worldwide Network” to counter news spread internationally by CNN. Trump said via Twitter on Monday that CNN “has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair and false way. Something has to be done.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what he meant. The US government already operates Voice of America, which last year reached some 275 million people worldwide with news reports from the United States available on television, radio, online and social media.

CNN had no immediate comment about the new criticism by the president. The president has frequently criticized CNN and its reporters. His administration recently backed down from its effort to ban reporter Jim Acosta from the White House.

It wasn’t known why he was focusing on CNN’s worldwide reach. CNN International is the most widely distributed television news network overseas, with BBC World News second.

Trump said he wanted a worldwide network “to show the World the way we really are. GREAT!”

The president’s favorite news network, Fox News Channel, is available in nearly 100 countries, although not distributed as widely as CNN. The president has complained about being in hotel rooms abroad and having no alternative to CNN.

Voice of America, which began operating during World War II, is also determined to show the United States as it really is, but not through the prism of any particular political leader.

The agency’s charter, signed into law in 1976, says VOA “will represent America, not any single segment of American society, and will therefore present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and  institutions.” Voice of America had no comment on the president’s tweet.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt launches first international oil and gas exploration bid in ]]> Wed, 28 Nov 2018 14:44:54 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/483 Egypt will launch the first international tender for oil and gas exploration in the Red Sea next month, a petroleum official has said. The government is now conducting a seismic study off the country's eastern coast to identify areas of prospective resources, Mohamed Abdel-Azim, head of the state-owned South Valley Egyptian Petroleum Holding Company, was quoted as saying by state news agency MENA.

The company has been working with US firm Schlumberger to carry out 2D seismic surveys of more than 10,000 square kilometres in Egypt's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Red Sea, he added.

A maritime demarcation accord signed with Saudi Arabia in 2016 has allowed the country to embark on oil and gas exploration for the first time in the Red Sea. Petroleum Minister Tarek El-Molla said the region, except for the Gulf of Suez, had remained "untouched" by exploration.

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<![CDATA[ Brexit deal: which obstacles await May in parliament? ]]> Mon, 26 Nov 2018 15:06:47 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/482 If Theresa May is to get her Brexit deal through parliament, these are the groups she will have to convince:

Diehard Brexiter Conservative MPs

They were always going to be the trickiest group to pick off, and amid significantly varying estimates of their numbers – anything from fewer than 40 to 80-plus – May knew some rebellion was inevitable over any deal she was likely to bring back.

The trick was always going to be to reduce the size of the rebellion, and hope MPs from other parties could fill the gap.

May’s task has been made all the trickier since the European Research Group (ERG) of strongly pro-Brexit Tory MPs moved from campaigning against her Brexit plans to actively seeking to depose her as prime minister.

Led by Jacob Rees-Mogg, the ERG has urged Tory MPs to send letters of no confidence in May in sufficient quantities to trigger a leadership challenge and, they hope, replace her with a more Brexit-committed prime minister.

The bad news for May is that if an MP has called publicly for you to go it is hard to see any realistic tweak to the Brexit plan that would get them back on side.

The much better news for her is that the attempted coup has revealed how relatively weak the ERG is, the attempt fizzling out when not enough MPs heeded its call to reach the 48 letters needed.

That arguably takes May back to where she was at the start – having to factor in a relatively small if influential group of irreconcilables into her Commons mathematics.

Other Tory MPs

It is arguably a bit misleading to lump together all the non-ERGers, as their Brexit sympathies range from the broadly supportive, to diehard remainers such as Anna Soubry, who would most likely oppose any departure deal.

As such, May has to once again present her Brexit plans as different things to different people, playing off each group’s aspirations and fears as best she can. A big part of this is likely to be based on using the vagueness of the political declaration on a future trading relationship as something on to which people can project their own ideas as to how it might play out.

For the more centrist Tories, May’s pitch will be her standard one: this is the only deal in town; it delivers the basics of what leavers voted for; block it and you risk all manner of chaos, from a leadership challenge to a general election or a no-deal departure.

When addressing her remain-minded MPs, May will seek to play up the softer elements of the deal, such as continued alignment with the EU, as well as raise fears over what she will pitch as the alternative: no deal.

She could face an obstacle in this respect if some remainer Tories decide they might welcome the chaos of a rejected deal, seeing it as a way to potentially bring about a second referendum.


May and her negotiators have spent many hours, days and weeks over the past year and a half trying to placate the party she relies on for her majority. But it appears to have been to no avail. The DUP’s position has been hardening from the moment the 585-page withdrawal agreement, containing the Irish backstop, dropped this month.

The DUP leader, Arlene Foster, said explicitly on Saturday that her party intended to vote against the deal, not just abstain.

Tory whips will no doubt stress the limited, “de-dramatised” nature of border checks and insist Stormont, as and when it gets up and running, will have some say in how EU rules are implemented in Northern Ireland if the backstop is invoked.

Downing Street’s strongest argument is that both sides have committed to pressing ahead with trade talks in the new year in the hope the backstop will never be needed; but the DUP does not appear to be in the mood to be persuaded. Its 10 MPs seem to be beyond May’s reach.

Labour MPs

Earlier in the autumn, Conservative whips were confident May’s deal would scrape through parliament with the help of a dozen or more Labour rebels – perhaps up to 30.

As well as a small core of openly pro-Brexit MPs, such as Kate Hoey and Graham Stringer, they hoped a swath of others from leave constituencies would back the deal rather than appear to be “blocking Brexit”; and a third group of centrists would support the government, rather than risk the economic disruption of no deal.

However, the newly rehabilitated cabinet minister Amber Rudd said last week she did not believe parliament would allow no deal to happen and Labour plans to table amendments to the meaningful vote to make it impossible.

Taking it off the table would give wavering MPs a free pass, without the fear of unleashing chaos; and many of those centrists that Tory whips were targeting are now shooting for a second referendum.

Perhaps more importantly, some of those Labour MPs who had been most wary of rejecting the prime minister’s deal, including Wigan’s Lisa Nandy and Gareth Snell in Stoke Central, have now suggested they will not vote for it.

Nandy highlighted the vague nature of the 26-page political declaration; other MPs in leave seats say they are hearing on the doorstep that even Brexit voters are not enthusiastic. Even Hoey appears likely to join Labour in the no lobby.

The public

As with her own MPs, May has to accept any PR pitch is to an extent a damage-limitation exercise, with significant percentages of the population never likely to be reconciled to her plans, not least the 700,000 or so people who marched in favour of a second referendum.

The government is certainly thinking hard about how to put out the message that May’s deal is both inevitable and the only grown-up conclusion to 29 months of post-referendum arguments.

This month a leaked memo supposedly setting out a sales pitch to the nation – dismissed as unofficial by Downing Street – laid out a schedule in which business leaders and foreign dignitaries were teed up to endorse May’s proposals.

As with all the PM’s current Brexit sales pitches, the tone looks likely to be somewhat less elegiac than the sunlight uplands of unfettered prosperity set out by some leave campaigners, with the main message likely to be: this deal isn’t too bad, let’s get it over with.

To an extent, this sense of ennui might be May’s greatest asset in selling her plan to the nation.

Speaking on Sunday, her foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, spoke of what he said were a significant group in Brexit Britain: those he termed the “Bobs” – people “bored of Brexit”. These are the people who might just accept May’s proposal because it finally brings the process to an end.

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<![CDATA[ Palestinian factions praise Egyptian efforts to achieve partnership ]]> Mon, 26 Nov 2018 14:19:49 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/481 National and Islamic Forces' Commission in Gaza Strip welcomed the Egyptian efforts to achieve a national partnership among all Palestinian factions.

The commission called for the continuation of the Egyptian side's endeavors to end the intra-Palestinian rift and fulfill the Palestinian reconciliation.

The Palestinian commission urged Cairo to host a meeting for all the concerned parties so as to directly implement the necessary mechanisms to achieve unity and partnership.

During a meeting on Nov. 25, the commission discussed challenges faced by the Palestinian issue, most notably the so-called Deal of the Century and the importance of restoring national unity and resisting the Israeli settlement.

Palestinians have no options, but uniting together against one enemy and restoring national unity.

On Sept. 26, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi received Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at his residence in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session.

Sisi stressed the importance of resuming the negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis to reach a just and comprehensive resolution based on a two-state solution in accordance with the international treaties, presidential spokesman Ambassador Bassam Radi stated.

On the other hand, Netanyahu praised Egypt’s role and efforts in fighting terrorism in the Middle East. Netanyahu wrote on his Twitter account that his talks with Sisi focused on “regional developments”. He did not add any details.

Cairo is continuing its strenuous efforts with Palestinian officials to reach a number of understandings regarding the reconciliation process between Fatah and Hamas, a reliable source affirmed in August.

The efforts, according to the source, are aiming to stand on a united national Palestinian vision that provides a suitable and decent life for Palestinians.

Moreover, the source stressed the importance of coordinating with the international community to provide the necessary support for the establishment of development projects that will provide a safe environment for Palestinians and guarantee continuous development in Palestine.

In Oct. 2017, the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah signed a preliminary reconciliation deal in Cairo in the presence of Egyptian intelligence officials.

The source also pointed out that as an outcome to the understandings reached between Hamas and Fatah, Cairo will be witnessing a series of meetings between Egyptian, Fatah and Hamas officials in order to reach a national consensus regarding all the debatable issues for the sake of Palestinians.

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<![CDATA[ World Youth Forum: A Reflection of Egypt’s Strong Diplomacy ]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 13:06:37 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/480 By: Abraham Telar Kuc, modern diplomacy  

It was my pleasure to join and met with  more than five thousand youth leaders from around the globe, thousands of Egyptian youth and hundreds of world leaders, UN, regional,  international affiliated bodies and governments officials, academia, innovators, entrepreneurs, experts,  journalists, public figures  and other influential people including ministers from Egypt and other foreign nations, ambassadors and some  heads of states  who gather at the “World Youth Forum 2018” held in Sharm El-Sheikh city,  Sinai Peninsula, Arab Republic of Egypt from the 3rd to the 6th of November 2018; for the second year the Egyptian government and youth succeed to organize the most successful and one of the world largest international youth conventions hosted and funded by a single country.

Under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah Saeed Hussein El-Sisi the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt and the next coming chairperson of African  Union; the second edition of the World Youth Forum was held under three important themes (Peace, Development and Creativity), were the world youth, experts, policy and decision makers use the forum as a common world platform to discuss and tackle topics, share their experiences, exchange diverse  views and invert new ideas related to building and sustaining peace, the role of world leaders in achieving peace, cooperation and partnership between nations, Euro-Mediterranean collaboration , fighting and countering ideological extremism and terrorism, humanitarian efforts and responsibilities, rebuilding societies and states in post conflict, energy providing, water security and climate change.

A part from the sideline MAAS summit or Model of Arab and African Summit where youth participants from 67African and Arab nations representing their countries; the world biggest youth gathering also discussed and debated throughout its panel sessions on issues of development, the 2063 African development agenda, enhancing cooperation opportunities between countries, employment opportunities, issues related to women empowerment and how to reduce the gender gap and inequality in the labor market, the rights, empowerment and integration of people with disabilities, role of volunteerism work in societies, building future leaders, role of innovators and  entrepreneurs in global economic growth, the role of arts and cinema in shaping communities, creativity, e-sports and games, the effects of social media, digital technology and citizenship.

The Egyptian visionary president, innovative government, friendly people and its active youth did not only succeed in organizing the biggest international youth convention; but they manage creatively and diplomatically to influence the thinking of the forum foreign attendees, where the organizers introduced “The Seven Pillars of the Egyptian Identity” which is a book written by Dr. Milad Hanna who is an Egyptian author also, the book descript the influential diversity of Egyptian nation and how Egypt manage throughout the different eras  to be a linking point between different world civilizations. And the seven pillars are the Pharaonic pillar, the Greco-Roman pillar, the Coptic Pillar, the Islamic Pillar, the Arabian pillar, the Mediterranean Pillar and the African pillar, in this book the late Egyptian author came through different reasons of why Egypt belong to all this pillars and the connection between the Egyptian and other world most influential civilizations, religious, languages and geopolitical regions.

During the regime of late President Gamal Abdel Nassir Egypt use to be strong and influential country specially in  Islamic, Arabian, African and other third world regions as its political and diplomatic strongest circle, but decades of negligence and ignorance has changed the geopolitical and diplomatic influence role of Egypt specially in the African continent and Asia;  starting with the regime of late President Anwar El-Sadat and continued during the regimes of  President Hosni Mubark and President Mohamed Morsi whom give up and turn their back to Africa and the third world only to focus their foreign relations to North Africa, Middle East, Arabian, US, Europe and Islamic regions.

The coming of President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi to the power in Egypt was a major turning point for the Egyptian foreign policy to regain its political and diplomatic influence in the global arena, African continent, Islamic world, Arabian region, Asia and in the Mediterranean basin countries as it used to be for many centuries; a  country call itself (the mother of the world or umm al-donya-مصر أم الدنيا in Arabic) Egypt under the leadership of President El-Sisi, is increasingly regaining its world political and diplomatic influence once again.

Through their new foreign policy goals and soft diplomacy strategy, president El-Sisi and his government are repositioning and marketing Egypt regionally and internationally as a strong economy, trade and investment destination, commercial partner, cultural and religious linking point, tourism attraction,  educational and learning hub; Apart from organizing a lots of regional and international conferences and other influential gatherings, Egypt’s El-Sisi is hosting thousands of foreign students on his  government scholarships, fellowship and private sponsoring from different countries around the world, visited by millions of tourists and adding to all this the success of Egypt to bring together world youth to its Annual World Youth Forum an initiative which recognize and proof Egypt’s influential and strong diplomacy.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt to construct fourth generation cities ]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 12:41:17 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/479 By: patrick mulyungi, construction review online

Egypt is set to construct 20 new cities of the fourth generation in bid to  improve life quality, increase residential area and absorb population surge in the most populous Arab country.

Egyptian Prime Minister Mostapha Madbouly, confirmed the reports and said that the county’s new Urban Communities Authority of the Ministry of Housing will build the cities in a total area 243,600 hectares and is expected to  accommodate about 30 million people.

These new cities will be located in the provinces of Cairo, Giza, Qalyubia, Matrouh, Daqahliya, Beheira, Port Said, North Sinai, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, Qena, Luxor and Aswan, while the largest such city is the New Administrative Capital, east of the capital Cairo.

Cairo-based planning expert, Saif al-Ddin Farag, said that the fourth generation cities are integrated cities in terms of availability of services and the use of advanced technologies in infrastructure and facilities.

 “The establishment of 20 fourth-generation cities is a good start. Egypt certainly needs to build these cities, using the latest technologies to provide a better life to Egyptians in addition to providing millions of jobs, as only 7% of Egypt’s territory is currently occupied. The establishment of the new cities will attract and redistribute people across the country,” said Saif al-Ddin Farag.

Egypt’s population

The new cities will house a new Administrative Capital, distinctive residential plots of land, integrated urban projects and malls, residential projects, integrated urban communities, wholesale market, dry port and a city for craftsmen, social housing units, service projects, seawater, desalination planet, industrial zone and logistics areas.

Egypt currently has a population of more than 100 million, making it the 13th most populated country in the world. Only seven percent of Egypt’s urban territory is currently fit for occupancy. This has led to high population density, especially in provinces such as Cairo, Alexandria and Giza. As a result, New Urban Communities Authority aims to increase this percentage to 14 by the year 2050 .

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<![CDATA[ Egypt reforms encourage US energy investment: US official ]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 12:18:34 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/478 Egypt’s reforms and discoveries encourage private US energy companies to invest there, Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Energy Resources at the US Department of State Francis R. Fannon said.

He added that around three companies have never abandoned its investment in Egypt for many years.

Fannon said that gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean have attracted wide international interest, especially in light of the Eastern Mediterranean countries led by Egypt planning to establish an energy export center, which will strongly benefit European partners, adding that he expects wider energy discoveries in the region.

Fannon, who is visiting Egypt as a final destination in a regional tour that includes Israel, Cyprus and Egypt, told reporters on Tuesday that the US maintains an impartial stance from conflicting parties in the energy field in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

Cooperation creates opportunities for all conflicting parties to be winners, which is what Washington supports, Fannon said.

According to Fannon, Egypt is at the start of it’s journey as it targets renewable energy to cover 20 percent of its energy production by 2022, aiming to rise to 27 percent by 2025.

The International Renewable Energy Agency believes that Egypt can get 50 percent of its energy needs through renewable energy, which provides a large opportunity for US companies to invest in this field in Egypt, Fannon said.

The Egyptian government has a clear program of action to attract investors, which contributed to encouraging US companies to invest in Egypt again, Fannon explained, praising Egypt’s actions such as the cancellation of energy subsidies, paying debts owed to foreign energy companies and liberalizing the regulations related to the work of gas companies in Egypt. He pointed out that despite the difficulty of these decisions, they were vital to attract more investment.

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<![CDATA[ French President Macron to visit Egypt in 2019 ]]> Wed, 21 Nov 2018 12:04:19 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/477 All the French agencies are largely preparing for French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Egypt by the beginning of 2019, French Ambassador Stephane Roumtier said in a statement on Nov. 19.

The visit will include holding discussions on the economic affairs, the possibility of having new investments, and will tackle international and regional affairs, Roumtier declared during his participation in Egypt-France Health Forum.

Moreover, the French ambassador denied any sort of competition between France and Italy regarding the Libyan crisis, stressing the importance of Egypt’s role in unifying the Libyan Army, supporting the Libyan presidential election and drafting a new constitution.

 “France has a lot to give to Egypt in the healthcare and treatment sector and we are ready to receive new missions to train them and raise their qualifications,” Roumtier affirmed.

He added that: “France and Egypt have the political will to improve the bilateral relations, which fulfills the mutual interests of the two countries.”

In October 2017, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi visited Paris and discussed with Macron joint efforts to combat terrorism, the Middle East peace process and the situation in Libya.

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<![CDATA[ UN urges action at biodiversity conference in Egypt ]]> Mon, 19 Nov 2018 13:23:48 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/476 Attendees at the UN Biodiversity Conference COP 14 in Sharm El-Sheikh discussed on Sunday progress on the implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as major issues including synthetic biology and the use of living modified organisms and gene drives.

The global meeting officially opened in the Egyptian Red Sea resort city on Saturday, following four days of African ministerial meetings in the run-up.

National governments and regional and international organizations discussed on Sunday progress on the convention's Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its 20 Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Participating countries gave updates on progress at the national level, with many developing counties calling for strong resource mobilization, including financial support, capacity building and technology transfer.

On digital sequence information (DSI), the EU on Sunday noted that public and open-access databases are an important form of benefit-sharing. The World Health Organization stressed that pathogen-related DSI as a global public health good, and urged its rapid and broad sharing.

Many called for capacity building on contained use of Living Modified Organisms and strengthening research infrastructure under the UN's 2003 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

They also urged utilzing the protocol's mechanism of Biosafety Clearing-House (BCH) for exchange of experiences.

CBD Alliance, a network of civil society group concerned with the Convention on Biological Diversity, said that the "use of digital sequence information without benefit sharing is inequitable and a long term threat to this very convention."

It demanded "a full stop to any release of the genetic extermination technology called gene drives and the strengthening of prior and informed consent related to this new and dangerous technology.”

Countries also discussed the convention's supplementary agreement Nagoya Protocol on genetic resources, with many welcoming the proposal to synchronise national reporting under the convention and its protocols.

This year, national governments and regional and international organizations hope to renew support for achieving agreed-upon global biodiversity targets for 2020 and to ramp up support for an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Executive Secretary of the UN Convention of Biodiversity Cristiana Palmer has urged the international community to immediately work together to conserve global biodiversity.

"If we do not act we soon may reach tipping points that may cause irreversible destruction to nature and ultimately humankind," Palmer said on Saturday.

While the conference marks 25 years since the convention came into force, Palmer said that successes achieved ever since have not been sufficient to halt biodiversity loss, highlighting the urgency to choose a path of conservation, restoration and transformation.

Reports suggest that biodiversity around the world is being degraded or lost due to a myriad of pressures including unsustainable use of resources, climate change, and habitat stress, as well as air, land and water pollution.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), world biodiversity has declined by almost one third in the past 35 years, mainly due to habitat loss and wildlife trade.

Egypt will be in charge of the convention for the next two years, following Mexico which held the presidency from 2016 to 2018.

"Nature and humanity are not separate entities, and Africa is leading the way on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework," said Egypt's Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad, who chairs the conference.

During the conference, which runs through November 29, governments are expected to present their plans to streamline biodiversity and nature into the decision-making of the major economic sectors of mining and energy, infrastructure, processing and manufacturing and health.

Over 8,000 delegates from around 200 countries are expected to attend the two-week global gathering. Attends include delegates from the convention's 196 parties as well as representatives of civil society, the private sector, sub-national governments and indigenous people.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt enjoys decent economic performance: German Ambassador in Cairo ]]> Mon, 19 Nov 2018 12:52:47 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/475 Egypt enjoys a good and decent economic performance amidst the crisis witnessed by the emerging markets, German Ambassador in Cairo Julius Georg Luy said.

During a seminar organized by the German-Arab chamber for industry and commerce, Georg Luy lauded, in particular, the Egyptian banking sector's approach in tackling the crisis, as it had a plenty of liquidity and strong infrastructures.

The ambassador urged the policymakers to support financing schemes for small and medium caps, which seen as the real driver for growth in the coming period, and revitalize laws encouraging the private sector and creating jobs.

Egypt is interested in boosting its ties and investments with Germany, which encouraged a giant company as Lufthansa to increase its flight to Egypt by 40 percent, the ambassador said.

Trade exchange between Berlin and Cairo hit six billion Euros through 1000 projects, he added.

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<![CDATA[ UK prepares report revealing danger of Brotherhood’s activities ]]> Mon, 19 Nov 2018 12:37:51 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/474 The UK government prepared a report on the status of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Party within the British community and the danger of their activities, Member of Parliament Tarek al-Kholy said.

Kholy pointed out that that France and Germany are also reviewing the Brotherhood's status, adding that the world is recognising Egypt’s role more and more and its active efforts in protecting the region from the MB’s danger.

Kholy assured Egypt’s support to political diversity, stressing that the Brotherhood was akin to a thorn in Egypt’s development before it was plucked.

Since June 2013, the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group targeted the Egyptian Christian community with a number of orchestrated assaults with the ultimate goal of creating an internal religious conflict between Egyptians.

The group’s leaders incited their followers, or sent their operatives, to persecute people in their homes, shops, schools, and even within the sacred confines of churches throughout the country.

According to statistics, since the beginning of the Muslim Brotherhood's full-scale campaign of terror against civilians, some 42 churches and Christian properties were attacked across Egypt, leaving tens of Egyptian Christians killed or injured and destroying dozens of churches and other valuable buildings.

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<![CDATA[ Khalid Al-hail and Khashoggi fate ]]> Sat, 17 Nov 2018 14:09:29 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/473 By; mohamed Al-motasem

"There is a plot for a man to tell, we have information." Qatari opposition leader Mona al-Sulaiti said, before the strange disappearance of Qatari most prominent opposition member, Khaled Al-hail. It is sure that Al-hail has the information, as he confirmed at his official website of the social networking site "Twitter" that he was bargained by the Qatari regime to release his kidnapped wife for apology, adding that his son is still kidnapped by the Qatari regime. he concluded with the phrase "the voice of right is annoying."

He certainly understands that he opposes a regime that has armies of terrorists around the world, and hundreds of mercenaries, whether killers or media whose mission is to hide the features of crime and turn the world opinion to talk about other crimes .. They pay Well .. pay for those who think .. Maybe this is what things are going according to what they want .. The Qatari regime does not make an effort in thinking or planning .. He wants something and pays to those who think and pay to those who plan and turn all the threads.

Hours before the disappearance of Al-Hail, he had launched a fierce attack on the Qatari regime and wrote: " There is no new in the speech of scarecrow, we have been accustomed to  drumming, shouting and wailing, there are no solutions, there are no practical signs that Tamim could save the remainder of the remnants of his rule." This was the last final tweet  written by Al-Hail And then disappeared completely.

London is the preferred place for the men of Qatar and its individuals.. The intelligence service Qatar has the most important contacts with the Muslim Brotherhood,and extremists.. In London, Al-Hail disappeared, no one knows how,  Information available from the Qatari opposition that  he was lured into the Qatari embassy in London.

The Qatari opposition, Muna al-Sulaiti, repeated her talk with the media interveiwer, DR Mohamed al-Baz on the TV channel of Al Mehwar, and said that before disappearance of Al-Hail, she got information confirms that there is a plot  was being fabricated for the man .

No one knows the plot, but we knew its results, when Al-Hail  disappeared.  some are sying that he was killed inside the embassy, in the same way that Gamal Khashqati was  killed. I rule out that assumption, as Qatar is more professional  . It has an army of bombers and theoreticians and houses of expertise who provide logistical support and ideas that distance it from the arrows.

It is evident that more than a month and a half ago, no one knew the details, contrary to what had happened with Khashoggi, whose fate was revealed immediately after his death through tweet  by  his fiancé Khadija. Some say that Al-Hail was taken to Qatar to face trial.

opponents say that the man was executed without trial.. Whatever speculation we have a person was full of hearing and sight disappeared from the end of September, we have a person whose fate is not known so far, we have a person posed a direct threat to the Emir of Qatar and his regime, a person whose news suddenly stopped, his acquaintances and persons close to him, said that they received threat of Killing him.

We have a person whose state likens Gamal Khashoggi, who disappeard in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. A person who was doing headache more than Khashoggi.. Aperson who owns documents ans information. the most critical is that, he has a tongue speaks and opposed the regime who doesn't acknowledge the opposition, this is the most serious.. Khashoggi came into the cosulate, and came out after he had been killed and  was cut into parts. that Al-Hail came into the embassy, and no one knows whether he came out in parts, or was dissolved by acids.  

We hope all information is wrong

we hope all of them are speculations

We hope man is healthy

We hope that, because we don't want that he could have faced the same fate of Khashoggi


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<![CDATA[ IMF report expects increase in private investment in Egypt ]]> Wed, 14 Nov 2018 15:14:14 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/472 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects an increase in private investment in Egypt due to improved confidence. In its Regional Economic Outlook: Middle East and Central Asia November 2018, the IMF said this surge reflects base effects from receding macroeconomic imbalances during 2016–17 and an improved business environment.

According to the report, the Egyptian economy is expected to grow during this year to reach 5.3 percent then 5.5 percent in 2019 up from 4.2 percent in 2017.

The report expected the average annual inflation rates in Egypt to record 13.9 percent in 2018 down from 29.5 percent in 2017 before further declining to 12.6 percent in 2019.

Moreover, tourist arrivals have risen steadily following improvements in security, a weaker exchange rate, and a resumption of direct flights from Russia. More broadly, growth in Europe has supported an increase in exports across the region.

Monetary authorities in Egypt have largely maintained a neutral or tightening monetary policy stance that remains broadly appropriate, the IMF acknowledged, noting, however, they will need to remain vigilant against a rise in inflation and stand ready to anchor inflation expectations should second-round effects from higher energy and food prices materialize.

With new laws on bankruptcy and insolvency, Egypt has sought to facilitate the restructuring of failing firms, the report said. Egypt is also taking steps to make it easier to improve access to industrial land for business and will sell minority shares in five state firms this year to reduce the role of the state in the economy.

The IMF report also touched upon what it called frameworks to combat corruption and enhance transparency and accountability of state-owned enterprises, while increasing competition by enacting regulations to standardize the public procurement process and strengthening the competition authority.

A large section of the economy in the region is dominated by a low productivity informal sector, with the formal sector accounting for only a third of employment in the region, the report stated.

Businesses with five or fewer employees dominate the private sector in Egypt with 60 percent. Some countries, including Egypt, have made important progress in reducing subsidies, especially fuel subsides, and, consequently, in improving their fiscal resilience, the IMF said.

In parallel, to enhance the equity of reform and support growth, some countries, including Egypt, have coupled subsidy reforms with strengthening targeted social safety nets, it added.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt's Cabinet approves establishing permanent human rights committee ]]> Wed, 14 Nov 2018 15:01:13 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/471 The Egyptian Cabinet headed by Mostafa Madbouli approved on Tuesday, Nov. 13 during the weekly meeting of the Cabinet establishing a permanent supreme committee for human rights.

The council aims to respond to claims issued against the Egyptian state concerning human rights issues. Egypt has witnessed over the past five years accusations of human rights abuses, which were slammed by the foreign minister.

The committee is responsible for developing a national strategy for human rights and plans to execute this strategy. The committee will also prepare Egypt’s report presented to the Universal Periodic Review of the UN member states, and will follow up the implementation of the recommendations accepted by Egypt.

During the Cabinet's meeting, Prime Minister Madbouli asserted that Egypt's presidency of the African Union (AU) in 2019 represents a golden opportunity for supporting and consolidating the Egyptian role at the African level.

Madbouli asserted the great interest that the political leadership attaches to the African continent, citing the recommendations and decisions issued by the World Youth Forum which was held recently in Sharm el-Skeikh.

He pointed out that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi ordered taking all the measures needed for launching a presidential leadership program for African youth, noting that the government is currently preparing several programs and events that will push forward cooperation with the African countries.

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<![CDATA[ Two Muslim Women Are Headed to Congress. Will They Be Heard? ]]> Tue, 13 Nov 2018 14:34:43 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/470 By Rafia Zakaria ,U.S. magazine of Foreign Policy

The first time a veil was worn on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, the wearer was not, as one would expect, a Muslim woman. Instead, it was a woman named Carolyn Maloney, a Democratic representative from New York. In October 2001, as the ruins of the Twin Towers were still smoldering, Maloney put on a blue burqa, the kind worn by women in Afghanistan, as part of a theatrical appeal to get representatives to vote for a war against the Taliban. “The veil is so thick, it is difficult to breathe,” Maloney declared as part of her plea for war against the Taliban whom she—incorrectly—blamed for the 9/11 attacks.

In January 2019, Ilhan Omar, the congresswoman-elect from Minnesota’s 5th District—who wears a headscarf—will become the first veiled woman to serve in Congress. Much has changed in the past 17 years. The myth of saving Afghan women by bombing their country into oblivion has shown itself to be a devastating proposition. The Taliban are still around, and there is talk of making peace with them as the United States wearies of trying and failing to produce some sort of victory. Maloney is also around, winning her 14th term in last week’s midterm elections, even as Omar won her first. Nor will Omar be the lone Muslim: Joining her will be Rashida Tlaib, a longtime activist of Palestinian descent, who was elected in Michigan’s 13th District.

Maloney, Omar, and Tlaib represent divergent views of feminism. Maloney’s brand is American feminist exceptionalism, in which American women—intrepid and veil-free—are beacons of freedom with a duty to evangelize their particular brand of empowerment, even if it means using bombs.

If Maloney’s is the feminism from above, bestowed on black and brown women by white ones, the progressivism of Omar and Tlaib represents feminism from below.

For both, their experience as community organizers reflects a faith in grassroots work. Theirs is a feminism of choice rather than one erected on glib pronunciations on who is or isn’t free or paternalistic exhortations of what poor immigrants or struggling blue-collar women must do to join the ranks of the elite white feminists who normally dictate U.S. feminist discourse. And because their backgrounds—Somali and Palestinian—have been shaped by long histories of failed foreign interventions, Omar and Tlaib are unlikely to ever to see the liberation of women, Afghan or otherwise, as an argument for war. Yet all three are Democrats—a fact that raises the question of which brand of feminism will ultimately define the future of the Democratic Party.

In the wider world, the elections of Omar and Tlaib have led to much gushing and rejoicing. Compared to President Donald Trump’s rage-fueled rallies, the stories of Omar, who lived in a refugee camp and knew no English when she arrived on U.S. shores at 12, and Tlaib, who grew up partly on welfare as one of 14 siblings, provided some solace. Even if the United States has a president whose cultish following relishes his denunciations of all Muslims as terrorists—in a speech hours before the 2016 presidential election, Trump insisted that Somali refugees were a disaster for Minnesota and that many were joining the Islamic State—here, it seemed, was evidence that the country was not so bad after all. If women like Omar and Tlaib can succeed, then perhaps the United States could be saved.

Beyond the haze of victory lie tremendous challenges. A Pew survey found that attacks against Muslims in 2016 surpassed the previous high in 2001. Half of U.S. Muslims said they felt that it has become more difficult to be Muslim in America than it used to be; three out of four said there was a lot of discrimination against Muslims in the United States, a view that was reiterated by nearly 70 percent of the general public. It wasn’t just discrimination: Many American Muslims reported that they had faced intimidation and threats of bodily harm and seen mosques and other properties vandalized.

The election of two Muslim women won’t necessarily make things better for them. One of the most recent attacks against a veiled Muslim woman took place in Dearborn, Michigan, which is Tlaib’s constituency. The incident, caught on a closed-circuit camera, shows a woman in a headscarf and a long black robe approach the desk at a hospital’s emergency room. Within five seconds, a man approaches from behind her and repeatedly strikes her head with his fist.

The attack is just one of many perpetrated by white men, which add to the general fear that pervades the very Muslim-American communities that the two women will represent. It will be difficult to highlight such crimes and protect these communities within a political milieu where Islamophobia has become a fixture in public discourse.

Defending Muslim-Americans from a perch on Capitol Hill will be a challenge—but reforming the community from the inside, particularly where the rights of Muslim women are concerned, will be just as hard.

Communities that feel besieged tend to turn inward, so much so that they become uninterested in internal reform. Since 2005, when the Muslim scholar Amina Wadud led a mixed-gender congregation in prayer, an act that initiated a campaign for equal rights within worship and mosque spaces, Muslim feminists have worked hard to push for greater rights. Twitter hashtags and online discussion forums have emerged to advocate for women to be admitted in the central worship spaces of mosques instead of being relegated to side entrances. Young Muslim feminists are eager to use the victories of Tlaib and Omar to push equality within the faith. But progress may be slow, and managing their expectations will likely be difficult.

Then there is the matter of what these victories, particularly that of the headscarf-wearing Omar, will mean beyond U.S. borders. In May, while Omar was fighting a competitive primary election, France’s equality minister denounced the decision of a French student leader to appear in a documentary wearing a hijab as “promotion of political Islam.” The headscarf is banned in French schools and official government buildings, but university students such as the one in question are permitted to wear it. Similarly, in the United Kingdom, there are many Muslim members of parliament, but none who wear the hijab.

For the moment, the divergent visions of feminism espoused by the 14-term Maloney and her new veil-wearing and pro-Palestinian party colleagues will all coexist uneasily in the House of Representatives in January.

After all, it is one thing to use the victories of Muslim-American women as a salve on the gaping wounds of division and derision that have riven the country; it is quite another to allow them to dictate the contours of American feminism or U.S. policy abroad.

The Islamophobia of the American left may pale before the loud and flagrant hatred of the Republican Party under Trump, but it still exists.

It is often manifested in the pointed but pernicious sidelining of Muslim women, who are refused anything more than the few moments allotted to duplicitous salutes to diversity.

Reducing Omar and Tlaib to tokens of America’s enduring diversity would be a waste of both their talents and their ability to do the actual work of political and feminist transformation.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt working on 4-year plan to increase growth rate: Planning minister ]]> Tue, 13 Nov 2018 13:42:45 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/469 The Egyptian government is working on a medium-term sustainable development plan from 2018 until 2022 to boost growth in Egypt, according to the planning minister.

The plan is meant to increase the growth rate to 5.8 percent in 2018/19 and up to 8 percent in 2021/22, Minister Hala El-Saeed said during the inauguration of a workshop on SMEs on Monday.

Mechanisms of implementation have already been outlined, with a focus on promising sectors that could contribute the most to economic growth, El-Saeed explained.

She touch upon a plan of action meant to upgrade those promising sectors in coordination with all ministries and parties concerned and in partnership with the business sector.

She made it clear that her ministry is particularly concerned with SMEs to help maintain positive economic growth, which is the direct result of Egypt's economic reform programme that started in November 2016.

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<![CDATA[ Midterm elections: Democrats projected to win control of House, but Senate remains in GOP hands ]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2018 12:33:30 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/468 Democrats claimed control of the House late Tuesday and picked up some governorships, but Republicans were poised to expand their majority in the Senate, delivering a split verdict in the first national referendum on Donald Trump’s presidency.

The most expensive and consequential midterm elections in modern times came to a dramatic finish that underscored the nation’s deep polarization, but fell short of delivering a sweeping repudiation of Trump that Democrats had hoped would put an exclamation point on the “resistance” movement.

Trump’s racially charged warnings about illegal immigrants and demonization of Democrats appeared to mobilize enough Republican voters to withstand the “blue wave” the party once feared.

The president helped Republicans win hotly contested Senate races in Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, and proclaimed the election’s outcome a “tremendous success.” Republicans held their grip throughout the South and in rural and exurban areas.

But Democrats — propelled by a rejection of Trumpism in the nation’s suburbs, and from women and minority voters especially — notched victories in areas that just two years ago helped send Trump to the White House.

Democrats performed well across much of the upper Midwest and even in ruby-red Kansas, where Laura Kelly was elected governor over the president’s handpicked candidate, Kris Kobach. In Wisconsin, Democrat Tony Evers bested Gov. Scott Walker, once a Republican star who ran for president in 2016. Walker survived a hard-fought recall vote in 2012, and was reelected in 2014, only to be denied a third term by the state schools superintendent.

Incumbent Republicans fell in an array of suburban House districts, including the one held by House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions in the Dallas area. And in West Virginia — where Trump is wildly popular and campaigned heavily for Republicans — the reelection of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III delivered a personal blow to the president.

Returns early Wednesday showed Democrats poised to pick up more than the 23 House seats they needed to gain a foothold in Congress from which to counter Trump. With power in Washington divided, House Democrats are likely to try to block the president’s agenda and use their subpoena power to investigate him and his administration.

 “Thanks to you, tomorrow will be a new day in America,” said House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), who is poised to reclaim the speaker’s gavel she lost eight years ago.

The Democratic victory, she said, “is about restoring the Constitution’s checks and balances to the Trump administration,” and a check on Senate Republicans.

The party’s new House majority was propelled by a record number of women candidates. Women currently hold 84 House seats, but that share is projected to expand to 100 or more when all results are tallied. Across the country, 277 women were on the ballot Tuesday for Congress and governorships, an unprecedented number that included 210 House candidates.

But Democrats were disappointed elsewhere. Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Claire McCaskill of Missouri were defeated, while Sen. Bill Nelson’s reelection in Florida appeared in doubt. Republican Marsha Blackburn won the open Senate seat in Tennessee, which Democrats had hoped would slide into their column.

Democrats did notch a victory in Nevada, where Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen unseated Republican Dean Heller. The governor’s mansion in Nevada will also change hands, as Democrat Steve Sisolak prevailed over Republican Adam Laxalt and is set to replace the term-limited Brian Sandoval.

Competitive Senate races in Arizona and Montana were too close to call. Two of the liberal movement’s greatest hopes, Democrats Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum, struggled to overcome some of the most overt racial attacks since the civil rights era and make history as the first black governors in Georgia and Florida, respectively.

Gillum conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis, a Trump ally, while the Georgia race was too close to call. Early Wednesday morning, Abrams told supporters she would not concede to Republican Brian Kemp and warned that their right to vote was on the line.

 “In a civilized nation, the machinery of democracy should work for everyone, everywhere,” Abrams said, alluding to complaints about ballot access and election fairness that have marked her divisive contest with Kemp, who oversees elections as Georgia’s secretary of state. “I'm not going to name names, but some have worked hard to take our voices away.”

Another Democratic star, Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, lost his spirited challenge to Sen. Ted Cruz (R) despite raising record sums of money and attracting grass-roots support throughout the country.

 “All the money in the world was no match for the good people of Texas and the hardworking men and women across our state,” Cruz said in his victory speech.

Midterm elections traditionally are referendums on the party in power, but Trump sought to ensure that this one would be a referendum on his presidency. He told crowds to vote as if he were atop the ballot, warning that his agenda and political movement were at risk, and he made himself the central force with an overwhelming cascade of speeches, media interviews and tweets.

The president returned to his 2016 campaign playbook, delivering fiery speeches that drew massive and enthusiastic crowds but contained a breathtaking barrage of falsehoods, invective and demagoguery. Describing himself in the closing weeks as a “nationalist,” Trump made a caravan of Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States a dominant theme.

The Senate results underscored just how much the Republican Party has morphed into the party of Trump. The incoming freshman class of Republicans is made up largely of Trump allies — including Mike Braun in Indiana, Josh Hawley in Missouri and Kevin Cramer in North Dakota — who campaigned effectively as rubber stamps for the president’s agenda and owe their new jobs, at least in part, to his energetic campaigning on their behalf.

An exception is Mitt Romney, who handily won his race for the open Senate seat in Utah, marking a return to the national stage for the party’s 2012 presidential nominee who in 2016 denounced Trump as a “con man” and a “fraud.” Following the death of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and the retirements of Sens. Jeff Flake (Ariz.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.), Romney is poised to become the leading GOP counterweight to Trump on Capitol Hill, if he chooses to stand up to the president.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, becomes the first politician in 173 years to serve as governor of one state and then represent another in the Senate. The last to accomplish the feat was Sam Houston, who was Tennessee governor before being elected to the Senate from Texas.

Tuesday’s results were set to transform the House, not only in partisan makeup but also in gender, age and ethnicity. The night marked a series of firsts. Ilhan Omar in Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib in Michigan will become the first Muslim women in the House. Sharice Davids in Kansas and Deb Haaland in New Mexico will become the first Native American women in the chamber. And Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 29-year-old from New York, became the youngest woman elected to Congress.

They were part of a wave of female candidates on the Democratic side, including Jennifer Wexton, who easily unseated Rep. Barbara Comstock (R) in a closely watched race in Northern Virginia, and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who narrowly defeated Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R) in South Florida.

 “This resistance began with women and it is being led by women tonight,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who easily won reelection and is widely expected to run for president in 2020.

Democrat Jared Polis in Colorado became the first openly gay man elected governor, while Democrat Janet Mills became the first female governor of Maine and Republican Kristi L. Noem will be the first female governor of South Dakota.

Rep. Mia Love, who was the sole black Republican woman in Congress, was trailing in Utah to Democrat Ben McAdams. Republicans were hoping that Young Kim, a Korean American woman, would win her California race to give the party some additional diversity.

Republican-held districts that Hillary Clinton carried in 2016 provided the backbone of the Democratic efforts to win the House majority. Democratic challengers triumphed in a number of suburban areas, defeating Republican Reps. Mike Coffman in suburban Denver, Kevin Yoder in the Kansas City area and David Brat in the Richmond suburbs, among others.

But the Democratic momentum was not strong enough to carry some prized recruits over the finish line. Former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath, who attracted significant outside funding, lost to Rep. Andy Barr (R) in Kentucky.

The midterm elections had the energy of a presidential contest in their closing days, with Trump making himself the central figure and hoping to buck the historical trend of major losses for the president’s party in the first midterm vote.

In an all-out push to preserve Republican congressional majorities, Trump dashed from one red state to the next, urging his legions of supporters that he calls “the silent majority” to rush to the polls as if he were on the ballot.

In some ways, the outcome was eerily similar to that of 2016, with late polls overestimating the Democratic advantage in enthusiasm and Republicans showing unanticipated resilience thanks in part to Trump’s incendiary rhetoric and focus on nativist themes.

Racial tensions that had been simmering beneath the surface for years came to a boil in the final weeks of the campaign. Robo-calls in Georgia featured a voice impersonating Oprah Winfrey and calling Abrams “a poor man’s Aunt Jemima.” In Florida, robo-calls mimicked Gillum as jungle sounds and chimpanzee noises were heard in the background.

Trump called Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, “not equipped” and Abrams, a leader in the state legislature, “not qualified” to be governors. And Monday, all the major television networks rejected a Trump campaign advertisement about immigration, calling it offensive.

The racial overtones put that explosive form of politics on the ballot, with major stakes for Republicans. The party of Lincoln is now overwhelmingly white, while Democrats have a much more multiethnic coalition that represents the direction the country’s demographics are heading.

Trump closed the campaign on an exceptionally dark note, stoking long-standing national divides on race and culture and painting an apocalyptic and misleading vision of America under Democratic control as he barnstormed key Senate battlegrounds.

Rather than center his closing argument on the country’s robust economic growth, Trump elected to highlight divisive nativist themes in a strategic gamble to energize his conservative base voters.

Because of geographic fate, Democrats always faced an uphill climb in winning the two seats they needed to reclaim the Senate majority. A third of the nation’s senators were up for reelection, including 10 Democratic incumbents running in states that Trump carried in 2016, many of them overwhelmingly. This year’s map gave Republicans the clear advantage of running in conservative states where they had won for decades.

An outlier was Manchin, who secured reelection in West Virginia, which Trump won by 42 percentage points in 2016. He was helped by the independent profile he had cultivated back home, having previously served as governor and sometimes crossing the aisle to vote with Republicans. Manchin was the lone Democrat to vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh last month.

 “We made history tonight,” Manchin said with a hoarse voice as he declared victory. “Nobody in the United States has ever won in a state that the president in the previous election won by 42 points in the opposite party. Never happened, never happened.”

In Ohio, another state Trump carried two years ago, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) cruised to reelection and cast his victory as a road map for Democrats to reclaim the industrial Midwest, though Republican Mike DeWine won the governorship there.

In two other Midwestern states that Trump won — Wisconsin and Michigan — Democrats were faring better than they did in 2016. In Wisconsin, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) was reelected. And in Michigan, Sen. Debbie Stabenow won reelection and Democrat Gretchen Whitmer was elected governor.

But Democrats failed to win the governorships in a pair of deep-blue states. Republican Govs. Larry Hogan of Maryland and Charlie Baker of Massachusetts were reelected resoundingly.

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<![CDATA[ 2018 U.S. Midterm Elections.. Affirmation or Admonition? ]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2018 16:49:50 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/467 Most of the world sees the U.S. midterm elections as a referendum on Trump’s America First policies.

By: Michael Hirsh, U.S. magazine of  Foreign Policy

Like no other U.S. midterm in memory, Tuesday’s congressional elections will be the vote heard round the world.

A Democratic victory in the House of Representatives (the most widely expected result) would send a message abroad, however tentative, that the United States hasn’t fled from the world for good and that Capitol Hill hasn’t become just another Trump property. It would signal to many America-watchers overseas that there may be a future for the U.S.-sponsored global system that survives President Donald Trump and his apparent effort to turn the United States into a political island.

Above all, a Democratic win would convey the message, particularly to U.S. allies chafing under Trump’s policies, that relief may be at hand in two short years—that Trump is vulnerable in the next presidential election in 2020. (Although this may be a mistaken conclusion: Two of the last three U.S. presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, won re-election despite big midterm losses after their first two years.)

To much of the world, which is still in a state of shock over Trump’s abrupt repudiation of major treaties and his threats of tariffs on allies, a Democratic victory might at least “prevent things from totally spiraling out of control,” one European diplomat said.

If, however, the Democrats fail to win the House—defying past trends in which unpopular first-term presidents lose control of at least one chamber—such an outcome would likely be seen by many abroad as conclusive evidence that benign U.S. stewardship of global stability, already so much in doubt since the Iraq War, is truly a lost dream. And that it’s every country for itself now.

“If the Democrats lose, they’ll see this as a reaffirmation of Trump, in which case they’ll think this wasn’t just a short-term flash in the pan and that most Americans aren’t very interested in anything other than America First,” said James Steinberg, who served as deputy secretary of state in the Obama administration.

Coming especially after Trump’s cynical closing campaign in which (rather than choosing to focus on the booming U.S. economy) he sought to rally nationalist and anti-immigrant fervor, a Democratic Party setback would signal to the world that Trump is only a symptom and that the world’s sole superpower has reverted to its isolationist past.

It would also ensure fierce Democratic infighting and chaos over the party’s messaging, thus dramatically spiking the odds of a two-term Trump presidency. “It’s just the question of what this indicates for 2020,” Steinberg said.

Beyond that, a Democratic loss would likely mean a world of renewed trade wars, dangerous nuclear arms races with Russia and China, and an escalating confrontation with Iran—but also the probability of a booming stock market, since traders seem to like the rightward political lurch happening in much of the world.

Some U.S. adversaries, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, might be heartened by such an outcome that further turns America against its erstwhile allies. Others, such as Iran, would no doubt be disappointed—even if they don’t say so aloud.

North Koreans are watching the U.S. midterm elections closely, wondering how the results might affect negotiations with Trump.

“We’re not pinning any hopes on [the midterm elections] or 2020,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently told USA Today. After all, Zarif said, all U.S. administrations, whether Democratic or Republican, have been “hostile” to Iran to varying degrees.

There’s little question that most friendly foreign governments are hoping for a Democratic victory for the same short-term reason that, according to the polls, some disaffected American voters are: They’d like to see some restraint on a president whose rhetoric is frequently offensive and who is increasingly unilateral in his dealings both with the world and with Congress. Despite unemployment rates that are near midcentury lows and rising wages, Trump’s approval ratings among Americans have hovered mostly below 40 percent.

Most of all, many foreign governments would see a Democratic victory as some kind of brake on Trump’s headlong rush to shatter the rules of the global system and decades of painstaking alliance building.

In less than two years, Trump has pulled out of several multilateral pacts (the nuclear deal with Iran, the Paris climate agreement); announced his withdrawal from the most significant nuclear arms control accord in four decades, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty; and declared his hostility to NATO, the G-7, the European community, and the World Trade Organization.

 “A new Congress led by the opposition party would, for the first time, subject him to a healthy dose of American checks and balances,” said Nate Jones, the former National Security Council counterterrorism director under Obama. “Second, it would send a clear and unequivocal message that there are political consequences for his policies and his rhetoric.”

Fawaz Gerges, a scholar at the London School of Economics, said, “America’s allies and foes hope that the Democrats might be able to apply the brakes” to Trump’s impetuousness. “This would be welcome news in most European capitals, China, and Japan—though not in Russia, Israel, Arab Gulf countries, and Egypt.”

Yet a Democratic victory in the House would not dramatically change Trump’s policies. Many leading Democrats in Rust Belt states that brought Trump to victory in 2016, for example, have voiced restrained approval of the president’s trade tariffs, suggesting he co-opted a major plank in the progressive agenda. “I want to give him a big pat on the back,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “I have called for such action for years and been disappointed by the inactions of both President [George W.] Bush and Obama.”

Nor is there anything a Democratic-controlled House could do about tariffs. In reality, the House of Representatives has much less power over foreign policy than the Senate, which can approve treaties and confirm high officials (but where Republicans are expected to retain narrow control).

 “Short term, I’m pessimistic either way this goes,” another European diplomat said. “I fear triumphalism or denial doubling down either way.”

Still, the House does have control over the budget and investigatory and subpoena powers. And in that respect, a Democratic takeover would mean many more investigations of Trump’s policies and the president himself—meaning a lot more negative headlines, undercutting his popular appeal going into 2020. It would also mean repeated efforts to block spending bills on excessive military spending and other issues, such as Trump’s proposed wall at the southern border with Mexico.

Several leading Democratic members of Congress would take over powerful oversight committees in the House, among them Rep. Adam Smith, the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee; Rep. Eliot Engel, the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee; and Rep. Adam Schiff, who would assume control of the intelligence committee and is expected to aggressively supplement efforts by special counsel Robert Mueller and the Southern District of New York to probe Trump’s Russia ties. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, who would take over the Judiciary Committee, has promised to begin an investigation into whether Trump has violated anti-corruption provisions of the Constitution with his family businesses and obstruct the FBI and Justice Department. Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is set to take over the oversight committee, will send out a slew of subpoenas on potential fraud and abuse and alleged voter suppression schemes.

In late October, Smith and Engel sent Trump a letter warning against an exit from both the INF Treaty and the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, saying that “[i]t would divide our allies and play directly into President Putin’s hands.” As committee chairmen, they would have the power to hold repeated hearings and force the Trump administration to explain its plans in ways the Republican-led House has not done.

Some of those hearings—which Democratic members have been shouting for since early 2017—could be acutely embarrassing for the Trump administration. “We will see a lot of demand for information,” said Alexandra Bell, a former senior arms control official.

 “There’s no sort of indication from the U.S. military that we need INF missiles. And here we’ve spent a long time telling countries like Pakistan that they shouldn’t invest in more tactical nuclear weapons, that this was the way to an arms race.”

Like Iran, most overseas governments have been affecting disinterest in the outcome—not wishing to become part of the post-2016 narrative of foreign election interference. But Zarif, who spent years negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal from which Trump withdrew this year and is still hoping to salvage it, will be watching the results closely. If there is a prospect that Trump will be gone by January 2021, Zarif will hedge his bets on departing the multilateral pact—even in the face of renewed U.S. sanctions.

Conversely, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may well be somewhat panicked by auguries of a Democratic victory in 2020. He could push harder for a deal with Trump but hold something in his back pocket just in case (a strategy that may become clearer when U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with his North Korean counterpart next week).

Kim, who is believed to study U.S. elections closely, must know that the Democrats, while in favor of diplomacy, will insist on more hearings on details of the negotiation.


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<![CDATA[ Egypt's Sisi warns of dangers of social media on users ]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2018 16:23:15 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/466 The second day of the World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh on Monday saw a roundtable discussion on social media, with President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi warning of the dangers of its misuse.

"Human development is a crucial subject. I come from a generation which lived without television, and when it was introduced in Egypt as a mean of communication, and as our lives changed [as a result], people were scared and worried that the firm connections between them had started decrease," he said.

El-Sisi also said that any attempt to ban social media websites would not succeed. He added the formation of a national committee or a research group to discuss social media in all its aspects will be among the recommendations of the forum, as well as putting in place a strategy to benefit from social media.

El-Sisi hinted that when he was military intelligence chief in 2010 he warned in a lecture about social media’s potential danger to society, adding that the past seven years were proof of that. He also warned about how, he said, the spreading of rumours have evolved through social media.

"Nevertheless the fault is not in the social media, it is in the fact that we are not ready to use it properly," he said.

The roundtable panel on “Social media: Saving or enslaving users” featured 15 experts and prominent figures on social media from all over the world, including researcher in social media and mental health Bailey Parnell, multidisciplinary artist Arwa Abounoun, specialist in digital security Christine Adero, specialist in media networking Khawla Al-Hawi, and Egyptian national security expert Khaled Okasha.

This year, the forum’s events revolve around a vision inspired by The Seven Pillars of the Egyptian Identity, a book by Egyptian author Milad Hanna written to emphasise the unity and harmony of Egyptian society despite divergences and differences, according to the official website of the forum.

Around 5,000 youth are participating in the events. The first World Youth Forum took place last year, also in Sharm El-Sheikh, which has been described by Egyptians officials as the “city of peace.

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<![CDATA[ Iran vows to defy U.S. sanctions and resist ‘psychological warfare’ as embargo takes hold ]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2018 14:29:31 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/465 By: Erin Cunningham, The Washington Post

Iran’s military forces staged war exercises and officials vowed to resist U.S. pressure Monday as the Trump administration reimposed harsh economic sanctions as part of a campaign to isolate the government in Tehran.

The sanctions reintroduce some of the most crippling restrictions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors and seek to penalize even non-U. S. entities that do business with Iran.

 “We have to make Americans understand that they cannot talk to the great Iranian nation with the language of pressure and sanctions,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said at a meeting with economists Monday. His comments were broadcast live on Iranian state TV.

 “They have to be punished,” Rouhani said, according to a transcript of the remarks posted to the president's website. “What the Americans are doing today is putting pressure merely on the people.”

Rouhani said that Iran would continue to sell oil on the global market, despite dwindling sales in the runup to the sanctions being reimposed.

The United States had lifted those restrictions as part of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, under which Iran agreed to curb its atomic energy program in exchange for broader sanctions relief.

Iran complied with the terms of the nuclear deal, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog tasked with monitoring the country's nuclear activity.

The Trump administration withdrew from the pact in May, saying the agreement was too limited in scope. The United States wants Iran to halt its ballistic missile program and stop support for regional proxies in places such as Syria and Iraq.

Iran experts warn, however, that sanctions are unlikely to alter Iranian influence or activities in the region.

 “The Trump administration’s aggressive policy is likelier to spur Iran's regional activism than to curb it,” the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, a nonprofit focused on conflict research, said in a report Friday.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Monday said that the Trump administration is “addicted to imposing sanctions.”

 “America's economic pressure on Iran is futile and part of its psychological war against Tehran,” spokesman Bahram Qasemi said at a weekly news conference, the Reuters news agency reported.

Also Monday, Iran's military and its powerful Revolutionary Guard staged joint war drills in the northern and western parts of the country, the official Islamic Republic News Agency said. The exercises include air defense systems and antiaircraft batteries.


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<![CDATA[ Egypt's Sisi speaks of reforming religious discourse ]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2018 13:02:19 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/464 Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi spoke about the necessity of reforming religious discourse and other challenges facing the country on the first day of the World Youth Forum 2018 in Sharm El-Sheikh.

In a talk during a morning session discussing the role of world leaders in building and sustaining peace, El-Sisi spoke about reforming religious discourse; which comes a few days after a terrorist attack that killed seven Copts and injured others in Upper Egypt's Minya.

"Regarding the Minya terror attack and the assault on Egyptian citizens, we don't discriminate based on religion and whether a person is Muslim or Christian. We say he's Egyptian, and we suffer for the death of any Egyptian due to a terror attack," El-Sisi said.

The issue of reforming religious discourse has often been discussed by the president in the past few years at public forums.

El-Sisi said the issue is "one of the most important demands of Egypt and the world.”.. He also highlighted the right to worship for all Egyptians, pointing out that the state is involved in building a church in new neighbourhoods.

He said that Egypt has recently passed a long-awaited law regulating the building of religious buildings, especially churches.

Egypt passed a law easing regulations on church building in 2016, which has contributed to legalising 340 churches that were previously unlicensed.

 “The country has been concerned with the building of churches in new cities as well as in old ones, and even for other religions, for Jewish citizens,” he said.

 “A citizen who worships or even one who does not worship; everyone is free and the state should not interfere in this," the president said.

'Establishing and maintaining peace by world leaders'

The Egyptian president also spoke during the same session on establishing and maintaining peace, saying that it depends on the vision of the political leaders of each country.

He cited late Egyptian president Anwar El-Sadat’s vision as the Egyptian model to accomplish peace through the Camp David Accord signed with Israel.

 “El-Sadat’s vision on peace was a unilateral action which was implemented more than 50 years ago,” he said, adding that although the late president’s vision for peace could have been rejected by other countries in the region, it was not.

'Forced change opens the doors of hell'

The president said that Egypt has foiled plans by foreign countries to interfere in its domestic affairs, and that an “ill-advised move” in recent years had opened the “doors of hell” in the country. He also warned of attempts to change by force.

"A forced change makes us open the doors of hell," he said, adding that Egypt was among countries that were facing “national suicide.”

He stressed that the power of mobilising the youth and public opinion to change societies by force could get out of hand, creating a vacuum that would lead domestic and foreign forces to interfering in domestic affairs and toppling state institutions.

Challenges facing the African Continent

El-Sisi also spoke about challenges facing Africa, which he said is a continent rich with resources yet not administered probably.

 “Africa faces very large challenges... We must highlight all the challenges and determine our priorities to be able to attain development,” the president said, stressing the importance of security and stability, which he said must be achieved first.

 “This has been the political path that Egypt has been following to calm the situation in Africa, such as the efforts exerted in South Sudan, but without interference in the country’s affairs.”

He also hailed all development efforts that have been implemented in Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia.

 “We shall not only work on security and stability but also on the impression we leave as Africans on European countries,” he said.

He also spoke about national developmental plans by Egypt in line with efforts to restore stability in the country.

Bringing "safety and stability" to Africa is key to developing the continent, he said, stressing the need for a comprehensive infrastructure development programme in all African countries.

 “It is worth mentioning that infrastructure projects in Egypt have helped us provide job opportunities for almost 5 million Egyptian citizens,” said El-Sisi.

He called for developing an effective system of governance to fight corruption in African countries, saying that the continent is notorious for insufficient anti-corruption measures.

He added that digitalisation and building efficient databases in African countries is another key measure on the path to development.

El-Sisi also spoke about the fact that Egypt has refused to build refugee camps to allow all other nationalities be merged within the Egyptian.

The first day of the forum also saw discussions on the Syrian and Libyan crises and efforts to rebuild communities facing crisis in the attendance of Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and UN Envoy to Syria Steffan de Mistura, and UN Envoy to Libya Ghassan Salamé.

Another session on the role of social media and the digital world's impact on the real world was also held with Egypt's Minister of Communications and Information Technology Amr Talaat speaking about digital literacy in Egypt.

Saturday saw the inauguration of the event by President El-Sisi, under whose auspices the forum is taking place. The president inaugurated the forum "in the name of humanity, and to a world full of hope and peace."

There were also speeches from a number of young leaders, including Yazidi human rights activist Nadia Murad and Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa Mandela.

This year, the forum’s events revolves around a vision inspired by The Seven Pillars of the Egyptian Identity, a book by Milad Hanna written for the purpose of emphasising the unity and harmony of Egyptian society despite divergences and differences, according to the official website of the forum.

WYF 2018 runs till Tuesday 6 November in the attendance of 5,000 youth participants.

The first World Youth Forum took place last year, also in Sharm El-Sheikh, which has been described by officials as the “city of peace.”

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<![CDATA[ Water Security in the Aftermath of Climate Change' symposium launched ]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2018 12:45:51 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/463 Around $20 billion have been allocated for environmental projects, but have not been distributed fairly among the most needed places, an expert in integrating environmental factors Elena Nefukva said.

This announcement came during the “Day Zero: Water Security in the Aftermath of Climate Change” symposium launched on Sunday, Nov. 4 as part the second edition of the 2018 World Youth Forum.

The symposium was attended by four ministries: Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Immigration Nabila Makram, Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad, and Minister of Planning Hala Helmy el-Saeed.

Nefukva stressed that the governments face problems in funding; hence, they cooperate with nonprofit organizations. She added that funds are working to launch environmental investments despite all the problems they face.

Meanwhile, Minister of Irrigation Mohamed Abdel Ati stressed that the ministry supports youth in all fields through training them annually and holding conferences for them.

The 2018 World Youth Forum (WYF) held its opening ceremony under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi on Saturday, November 3.

The second annual edition of the WYF tackles two main axes: peace and development. The forum brings together 5,000 youths represented by 60 delegations from across the world to explore key issues facing their generation, and determine their role in implementing the global development goals and in facing terrorism.

The first axis discussses reconstructing post-conflict countries and societies, the role of world leaders in achieving peace, the duty of the international community to provide humanitarian assistance and counter-terrorism, and the Euro-Mediterranean partnership.

The axis of development includes topics related to energy and water security, empowerment of people with disabilities, the role of voluntary work in building societies, the agenda of 2063 African Sustainable Development, digital citizenship, the role of art and cinema in shaping communities, ways to build future leaders, and means of shrinking the gender gap in the work force.

The WYF 2018 agenda

On Nov. 1 and 2, the forum witnessed pre-workshops related to the "Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want" and "Empowering Persons with Disabilities: Towards a More Integrated World."

The opening of the World Youth Theater took place on Friday, November 2. The actual discussion sessions started on November 4, where participants discussed a number of issues, including differences among cultures and civilizations, the role of world leaders in building and sustaining peace, the role of soft power in countering ideological extremism and terrorism, and Day Zero: Water security in the wake of climate change.

On November 5, the sessions will tackle the role of entrepreneurs and start-ups in global economic growth, rebuilding societies and states after conflicts, narrowing the gender gap in the labor market and humanitarian assistance: A global responsibility in the face of challenges. The forum's closing session and the announcement of the World Youth Forum 2018's recommendations will take place on Nov. 6.

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<![CDATA[ Euro-Med cooperation deems pillar of Egypt: WYF session ]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2018 12:33:30 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/462 Union for Mediterranean is a cooperation framework between northern and southern countries in the Mediterranean Sea, according to Ambassador Nasser Kamel, the union's chairperson.

The Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation and Strategic Partnership Session kicked off on Sunday on the sidelines of the World Youth Forum (WYF 2018) taking place in the resort town Sharm el-Sheikh during November 3 to 6.

Kamel illustrated that the Euro-Mediterranean dimension is one of the seven pillars of the Egyptian personality, which is deemed the core of WYF 2018.

"The Union for Mediterranean will be a key tool at the Barcelona Conference due to take place next summer," Kamel noted.

Surkoš emphasized that relations between Egypt and the EU are always advancing, and that the futures of the North African state and the European block are intertwined.

The session was run by veteran anchor Mahmoud al-Werwari, with the participation of several speakers such as Ambassador Nasser Kamel, Ambassador of European Union Delegation to Egypt Ivan Surkoš, expert of Development affairs at the UN Samir Anoni and executive director of the Egyptian Economic Forum Adel al-Adawi.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi officially launched the second edition of the World Youth Forum (WYF) on Saturday.

The opening session was attended by hundreds of participants as well as keynote speakers, top officials and prominent individuals from all around the world.

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<![CDATA[ Sudan's Al-Bashir to visit Egypt for World Youth Forum ]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2018 12:21:34 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/461 Sudanese President President Omar Al-Bashir will take part in the closing ceremony of Egypt's World Youth Forum on Tuesday, Sudan's state news agency SUNA said.

During his visit to the country, Al-Bashir will hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to discuss bilateral ties as well as the outcomes of a meeting of a joint high committee held between the two leaders in Khartoum last month, Suna added.

Egypt is hosting the global gathering in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El-Sheikh as a platform to send "a message of peace, prosperity, harmony, and progress to the entire world," the event's website says.

Some 5,000 young people, journalists, public figures and officials from over 50 countries are taking part in this year's edition of the forum, which was first launched in 2017.

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