<![CDATA[ Monitor ]]> http://en.theinternational.club/4 <![CDATA[ Egypt rejects Israel's Jewish nation-state law ]]> Sat, 21 Jul 2018 20:14:34 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/401 By; Reuters

Egypt on Saturday said a new Israeli law giving Jews the exclusive right to self-determination in the country undermined the chances for peace in the Middle East and the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

The law, which was passed on Thursday, has drawn rebuke from the European Union and was denounced by the Palestinian Authority and Arab citizens of Israel as racist legislation.

 “The Arab Republic of Egypt announces...its rejection of the law passed by the Israeli Knesset on the “national state for the Jewish people” law ... for its ramifications that consecrate the concept of occupation and racial segregation,” the Egyptian foreign ministry said in a statement.

 “It undermines the chances for achieving peace and reaching a just and comprehensive solution for the Palestinian issue,” it said.

It said the law would also have a potential impact on the right of Palestinians displaced from their homes in 1948 when Israel was founded, and their descendants, to return to their homes under United Nations resolutions.

On Friday, Egypt’s al-Azhar Mosque, denounced the Israeli law calling it “a step that reflects repugnant racism”.

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<![CDATA[ coalition attacks Yemen’s key port of Hodeidah ]]> Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:07:19 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/363 By: Reuters

A Saudi-led coalition launched an assault on Yemen’s main port city of Hodeidah on Wednesday in the biggest battle of a three-year war between an alliance of Arab states and the Iran-aligned Houthis.

Coalition warplanes and warships pounded Houthi fortifications to support ground operations by Yemeni troops massed south of the country’s largest port, the internationally recognized Yemeni government in exile said.

The “Golden Victory” operation began after the passing of a deadline set by the United Arab Emirates for the Houthis, who hold the capital Sanaa and the main populated areas of Yemen, to quit the sole port under their control.

The Red Sea port is a lifeline for Yemenis, handling 80 percent of essential goods to the impoverished country, which the United Nations says is grappling with the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Some 8.4 million people in Yemen face pre-famine conditions, according to the World Health Organization.

Houthi leader Mohammed Ali Al-Houthi, who has threatened attacks on oil tankers along the strategic Red Sea shipping lane, warned the Western-backed alliance not to attack the port and said on Twitter his forces had targeted a coalition barge.

Houthi-run Al Masirah TV said two missiles struck the barge, but there was no immediate confirmation from the coalition.

The United Nations had been trying to get the parties to reach a deal that would avert an attack on Hodeidah, which it fears would further impede Yemenis’ access to food, fuel and medicine for millions of Yemenis facing disease, including a cholera epidemic.

It estimates that 600,000 people live in the area, and in a worst-case scenario, a battle could cost up to 250,000 lives, as well as cutting off aid and other supplies to millions of people.

ICRC spokeswoman Marie-Claire Feghali said that the assault was “likely to exacerbate an already catastrophic humanitarian situation in Yemen”, where water and electricity networks are vital to the civilian population’s survival.

The assault is the first time since the Western-backed coalition of mostly Gulf states joined the war in 2015 that they have attempted to capture such a well-defended major city. The aim is to box in the Houthis in Sanaa, cut their supply lines and force them to the negotiating table.

 “The liberation of the port is the start of the fall of the Houthi militia and will secure marine shipping in the Bab al-Mandab strait and cut off the hands of Iran, which has long drowned Yemen in weapons that shed precious Yemeni blood,” the exiled government said in a statement carried by state-run Yemeni media.

Yemen lies beside the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most important trade routes in the world for oil tankers, which pass near Yemen’s shores while heading from the Middle East through the Suez Canal to Europe.

The UAE has said coalition forces plan to keep the port operational but warned that the Houthis could sabotage infrastructure and place land and sea mines as they withdraw.

Reem al-Hashimy, the UAE minister of state for international cooperation, has said if the port is wrested from the Houthis, the coalition could ease controls, aimed at denying the group arms, and so improve the flow of goods and aid into Yemen.

Riyadh says the Houthis use the port to smuggle in Iranian-made weapons, including missiles that have targeted Saudi cities.

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<![CDATA[ Ethiopia to ‘Fully Accept’ Eritrea Peace Deal From 2000 ]]> Wed, 06 Jun 2018 13:15:53 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/353 By: Rick Gladstone, The New York Times

Ethiopia announced Tuesday that it would accept a 2000 peace agreement with Eritrea over their disputed border, potentially a major step toward resolving one of post-colonial Africa’s bloodiest and most protracted conflicts.

A statement by the governing party of Ethiopia, the second-most populous country in Africa, said it would “fully accept and implement” the agreement with Eritrea, a former province of Ethiopia, which was signed but never honored.

 “The Eritrean government should take the same stand without any prerequisite and accept our call to bring back the long-lost peace of the two brother nations as it was before,” the governing party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, said in the statement.

The countries fought a war from 1998 to 2000 over their border dispute, which left about 80,000 people dead. They signed a peace agreement in 2000, but the Ethiopians never accepted the findings of a boundary commission established by the agreement.

The border has been a deadly point of contention ever since, and the dispute had been widely regarded as a diplomatic stalemate.

But Ethiopia signaled a few months ago that it wished to resolve the problem when its new prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, vowed in his inaugural address to seek peace with Eritrea.

Ethiopia’s major objection was the boundary commission’s decision to award Eritrea the border town of Badme. The Eritrean government contended that there could be no resolution until the Ethiopians withdrew their troops from Badme, as the commission had ordered.

 “It’s always been Eritrea’s position that the commission’s ruling is the commission’s ruling,” said Bronwyn Bruton, deputy director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based research group. “The Eritreans know they’re in the right.”

It remains unclear how the Eritrean government will respond to Ethiopia’s announcement. But Ms. Bruton said she thought that “Ethiopia is really signaling its seriousness” to finally resolve the dispute.

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<![CDATA[ Hariri calls for 'bold decisions' from new government ]]> Mon, 04 Jun 2018 11:53:57 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/346 Lebanese Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri said Lebanon’s forthcoming government needs to implement reforms to help the country pull through difficult circumstances at an Iftar (pre-sunset meal) hosted by the Future Movement Sunday, the Daily Star reported on Sunday.

"The world is waiting for serious reforms and bold decisions from Lebanon in order to help us, and we have no choice but to go through these reforms," he added.

Hariri said that while it may be painful to implement these reforms, it will produce positive results in the long-run. " The people don't care if we add a minister or remove one, they want a team well-oiled that will work for the greater good and not focus on politics only," he said.

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<![CDATA[ The UK and Egyptian trade relationship continues to go from strength to strength: The Minister for Investment for the United Kingdom ]]> Wed, 30 May 2018 14:16:00 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/340 By; Marwa Al-wageeh

On Tuesday 29th May 2018, Graham Stuart, The Minister for Investment for the United Kingdom (UK) met with the Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry, HE Eng Tarek Kabil in Cairo, The British Embassy in Cairo said in statement.

They discussed, among other things, the Egyptian economy, UK investment and finance in Egypt and the future growth of trade and investment links between the UK and Egypt after the UK leaves the EU.

As the UK is in the process of exiting the European Union (EU), the Trade and Industry Minister welcomed the UK’s intention to avoid any disruption to trade. In particular, both parties welcomed the significant progress made so far in discussions to ensure continuity of the EU-Egyptian Association Agreement, which facilities almost £3 billion in trade between the two countries.

Both the Minister for Trade and Industry and the Minister for Investment welcomed the agreement reached between the EU and UK at the March European Council that the UK is to be treated as a Member State for the purposes of international agreements during the EU-UK Implementation Period (1 April 2019 to 31 December 2020). This provides further certainty to both British and Egyptian traders that there will be no disruption to the existing trading relationship during the Implementation Period.

The Minister for Investment, Graham Stuart, said :'I was delighted to meet with Trade and Investment Minister Tarek Kabil on my visit to Cairo and to discuss the economic partnership between the UK and Egypt. The UK and Egyptian trade relationship continues to go from strength to strength, with the total trade between our two countries growing by nearly 6% between 2015 and 2016.

That’s why it’s important to ensure continuity and certainty in our current trade arrangements as we leave the EU, and UK and Egyptian officials have made excellent progress in this. I’d like to thank Egyptian officials for their cooperation and hard work.

As we leave the EU and create a new independent UK trade policy, we will build further on our £3 billion of annual trade with Egypt, and continue to work closely together to champion free trade.’

Egyptian Minister of Trade Tarek Kabil, stated:'Trade and Investment between Egypt and the UK were always core pillars of our relationship. My meeting with Minister Graham Stuart today confirms that this shall continue to be the case after the UK leaves the EU. I very much appreciate Minister Graham Stuart’s initiative in this regard.'

We appreciate the efforts and cooperation of UK officials with their Egyptian counterparts, to ensure not only continuity and certainty on current Egypt-UK trade arrangements, but that those principles form the basis of a future bilateral Egypt-UK economic relationship under a new, independent UK trade policy. Egypt will thrive for tighter relationship with the UK while maintaining its excellent relations with the EU and its Member States.’

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<![CDATA[ Egypt strongly condemns terrorist attacks on Indonesia churches ]]> Sun, 13 May 2018 12:18:46 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/305 Egypt has strongly condemned the terrorist attacks on a number of churches in Indonesia's second biggest city Surabaya, leaving at least nine persons killed and 40 others injured.

In a statement released by the Foreign Ministry Sunday, Egypt expressed condolences to the victims of the families and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.

The statement also asserted Egypt's backing to the Indonesian people and government in confronting terrorism.

The Foreign Ministry also asserted that such attacks reflect the ugly face of terrorism which is far away from the tolerant principles of Islam that prohibit the killing of innocent people.

 

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<![CDATA[ Harvard report ranks Egypt 3rd fastest growing economy in coming decade ]]> Sun, 06 May 2018 12:39:50 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/295 By: Xinhua

A recent Harvard report has ranked Egypt as the world's third fastest growing economy in the coming decade after India and Uganda.

The Global Growth Projections report, which was released by the Center for International Development (CID) at Harvard University on Thursday, expects Egypt's annual economic growth to reach 6.63 percent by 2026.

In Africa, Egypt is ranked second after Uganda. The annual economic growth is forecast to hit 7.46 percent, according to the report.

"The growth projections are based on Economic Complexity, a single measure of each country's economy which captures the diversity and sophistication of the productive capabilities embedded in a country's exports," said the report.

"Actually, Harvard's report is even below Egypt's desired growth that is taking good steps according to all indicators," Rashad Abdo, an economics professor at Cairo University and head of the Egyptian Forum for Economic and Strategic Studies, told Xinhua.

Achieving the 6.63-percent annual economic growth is easily manageable in normal circumstances considering Egypt's improving security conditions and recovering tourism sector, he explained.

Moreover, the ongoing economic reform in Egypt has led to the improvement of the country's economy with expectations of higher growth by world financial institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

"The economic reform program surely has its effect on the growth rate, in addition to the pro-investment legislations such as the new investment law that provides massive incentives to foreign investors in Egypt," Abdo said.

In an annual report released on Wednesday, the IMF expected Egypt's economic growth to reach 5.2 percent in the 2017-18 fiscal year compared to 4.2 percent last year, and further accelerate to hit 5.5 percent in the 2018-19 fiscal year.

"The outlook for Egypt has improved relative to the October 2017 forecast. In the context of its IMF-supported program, improving confidence is boosting private consumption and investment, adding to the increase in exports and tourism," said the IMF May 2018 report, entitled "The Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Regional Economic Outlook."

Over the past few years, Egypt has been struggling to overcome an economic recession resulting from political turmoil and relevant security challenges.

In late 2016, the country started a strict three-year economic reform program including austerity measures, energy subsidy cuts and tax increases, in addition to local currency floatation to contain the shortage of U.S. dollar.

Despite the negative consequences of price hikes and higher inflation, the liberalization of the Egyptian pound's exchange rate encouraged the IMF to support Egypt's economic reform by a 12-billion-dollar loan, half of which has been delivered to the North African country.

The reform program has positively reflected on the general performance of the Egyptian economy and led to more confidence in the country's investment climate.

"The security and stability conditions are getting better, luring more tourists and foreign investors. In addition, the local currency devaluation also attracts foreign investors," Abdo said.

The Egyptian professor pointed out that the tourism sector, which is a main source of national income and hard currency, is improving as the Russian direct flights to Egypt started to return after more than two years of suspension.

A delegation from the IMF arrived in Cairo late Friday to review Egypt's economic reform progress, ahead of delivering the fourth installment of the 12-billion-dollar loan, which is worth 2 billion dollars.

Earlier in the day, Egyptian Finance Minister Amr al-Garhy said the country's economy is maintaining the momentum of steady growth, noting that it aims to achieve the sustainable growth rates of between 6 and 7 percent.

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<![CDATA[ Japanese embassy will not be relocated to Quds: Shinzo Abe ]]> Wed, 02 May 2018 12:51:33 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/289 Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has asserted that his country will not be relocating its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Al Quds.

Abe's assertion came during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday where he also reiterated support for any endeavors to achieve peace in the Middle East and establish an independent Palestinian state within the framework of the two-state solution, according to the Palestinian official news agency Wafa.

Abe is currently on a Middle East tour and is set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt denounces twin bomb blasts in Nigeria ]]> Wed, 02 May 2018 12:18:15 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/285 Egypt denounced the twin bomb blasts in a mosque as worshipers gathered for afternoon prayers and a marketplace in the town of Mubi in Adamawa State in Nigeria on Tuesday that left at least 60 people killed and others injured.

In a statement released on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry expressed deep condolences to the families of the victims and asserted support to the government and people of Nigeria.

Such heinous terrorist operations will never affect the will of the Nigerian people to confront terror that aims at security and stability everywhere, the statement said.

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<![CDATA[ Israel hints it could hit Iran's "air force" in Syria ]]> Wed, 18 Apr 2018 14:11:09 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/274 BY: REUTERS

Israel released details on Tuesday about what it described as an Iranian "air force" deployed in neighboring Syria, including civilian planes suspected of transferring arms, a signal that these could be attacked should tensions with Tehran escalate.

Iran, along with Damascus and its big-power backer Russia, blamed Israel for an April 9 air strike on a Syrian air base, T-4, that killed seven Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) members. Iranian officials have promised unspecified reprisals.

Israeli media ran satellite images and a map of five Syrian air bases allegedly used to field Iranian drones or cargo aircraft, as well as the names of three senior IRGC officers suspected of commanding related projects, such as missile units.

The information came from the Israeli military, according to a wide range of television and radio stations and news websites. Israel's military spokesman declined to comment.

However, an Israeli security official seemed to acknowledge the leak was sanctioned, telling Reuters that it provided details about "the IRGC air force (which) the Israeli defence establishment sees as the entity that will try to attack Israel, based on Iranian threats to respond to the strike on T-4."

The official, who requested anonymity, would not elaborate.

Israel’s Army Radio reported that, given tensions with Iran over Syria, the Israeli air force cancelled plans to send F-15 fighter jets to take part in the U.S.-hosted exercise Red Flag, which begins on April 30.

Roni Daniel, military editor for Israeli TV station Mako, said the disclosure was a signal to Iran that its deployments in Syria "are totally exposed to us, and if you take action against us to avenge (the T-4 strike) these targets will be very severely harmed". According to Daniel, Israel was bracing for a possible Iranian missile salvo or armed drone assault from Syria.

There was no immediate response from the IRGC or Syria.  The Iranian death toll in T-4 was unusually high. "It was the first time we attacked live Iranian targets - both facilities and people," the New York Times on Sunday quoted an Israeli military source as saying.

Iran, Israel's arch-foe, has cast its military personnel in Syria as reinforcements helping President Bashar al-Assad battle a seven-year-old insurgency. The Iranians have also described their cargo flights to Syria as carrying humanitarian aid only.

An Israeli-Iranian showdown over Syria has loomed since Feb. 10, when Israel said an armed drone launched from T-4 penetrated its air space. Israel blew up the drone and carried out a raid on Syrian air defences in which one of its F-16 jets was downed.

"Israel is headed for escalation," Yaacov Amidror, former national security adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Tel Aviv radio station 103 FM. "There could be a very big belligerent incident with Iran and Hezbollah."

While not claiming responsibility for the T-4 strike, Israel has restated a policy of preventing Iran setting up a Syrian garrison. Scores of previous such raids went unanswered but Israel worries that changing conditions may now embolden Iran.

Russia, which long turned a blind eye to Israeli actions in Syria while serving as a brake on retaliation by Iran or its Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla allies, is now at loggerheads with Western powers over accusations, denied by Syria's government, that it has used chemical weaponry in fighting.

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<![CDATA[ Desert Sun to Power Upper Egypt With $2.8 Billion Solar Park ]]> Wed, 14 Mar 2018 13:50:37 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/222 By; Bloomberg

Egypt inaugurated the first solar power plant at a remote desert complex where the government plans to generate as much as 1.8 gigawatts from the sun, cutting the most populous Arab nation’s reliance on dirty and expensive fossil fuels.

The plant, developed by Germany-based Ib Vogt GmbH and a local company called Infinity Solar S.A.E., began supplying the national grid in December, Ib Vogt Chief Executive Officer Anton Milner said Tuesday in an interview. The 64-megawatt facility is the first of 32 units that the government targets for construction at Benban Solar park in southeastern Aswan province. The project, with all the plants, is to be completed next year at a cost of $2.8 billion.

 “In this plant, we have 200,000 solar panels and 780 sun trackers that allow the panels to move toward the solar position throughout the day,” Amine el-Edghiri, Ib Vogt’s project manager, said during a media tour of the facility 650 kilometers (400 miles) south of Cairo on the fringes of the Nubian Desert. The photovoltaic modules arrayed across 95 hectares (235 acres) can produce enough power to supply 20,000 households, el-Edghiri said.

Egypt currently produces more than 90 percent of its power from oil and natural gas, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Benban Solar park, along with other projects in planning, should help Egypt scale back its use of hydrocarbons as the country targets generating 20 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2022.

 

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<![CDATA[ India congratulates Egypt for joining International Solar Alliance ]]> Sun, 11 Mar 2018 12:56:49 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/207 India has congratulated Egypt for signing the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance, a treaty-based global body for promotion of solar energy in alliance with 121 countries.

India and France are co-hosting the first International Solar Alliance (ISA) Summit to be held in New Delhi  tomorrow to promote solar energy.

The summit will be attended by the heads of state from 23 nations, including France, Australia and Sri Lanka.

India's Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya congratulated Egyptian Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker who signed the framework agreement at a ceremony held at his office today.

"Over 61 countries have joined the ISA and will participate at the Founding Conference of ISA in New Delhi tomorrow," Bhattacharyya said.

He said with Egypt joining the ISA, there will be growing opportunities for cooperation in the field of solar projects, including in the financing of projects in Egypt under India's Line of Credit (LOC) programme.

"There can be cooperation for projects in Arab countries and Africa," Bhattacharyya said.

ISA is aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy, especially solar energy, to address the issues faced by climate change.

The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

The initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India Africa Summit, and a meeting of member countries ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015.

India has set an ambitious target of having 100 GW of solar energy capacities by 2022. It is close to achieving 20 GW in the current fiscal itself and plans to auction 30 GW solar projects each in 2018-19 and 2019-20.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt, Cyprus, Greece reach cruise tourism agreement ]]> Sun, 11 Mar 2018 12:49:30 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/206 http://en.theinternational.club/img/posts/large/2018/03/11/c2390cbb4e76bfa03f196b30cf72211f.jpg http://en.theinternational.club/ <![CDATA[ Flights between Egypt and Moscow to resume in late March ]]> Sat, 10 Mar 2018 16:22:33 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/200 The Russian authorities stated on Saturday that flights between Cairo and Moscow will resume in late March or early April, El-Youm newspaper reported, according to Sputnik.

In October 2015, Russia suspended civilian air traffic to Egypt after a bomb was detonated on a Russian charter plane over Sharm el-Sheikh, killing all 224 people on board. Russia qualified the incident as a terrorist attack.

Since the crash, Egypt has been implementing new, tighter security measures at all of its airports to meet the Russian demands necessary for the resumption of flights, with multiple visits from Russian security to observe changes implemented by the government.

According to Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Sharif Fathi, Moscow and Cairo will discuss the resumption of charter flights in April, 2018.

"We also agreed to continue our contacts in the spring, around the month of April. We will continue our negotiations regarding the decision on the rest of Egypt's airports," Fathi added.

On December 15, Fathi also travelled to Moscow and met Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov.

The two ministers signed an air security agreement that set the required procedures to pave the way for resuming Egypt-Russia air traffic.

On December 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Egypt for the second time since President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi was sworn into office in May 2014.

The visit showed increasing interest from Moscow to boost cooperation with Egypt after bilateral relations were knocked by the plane crash.

Asked about the return of direct flights to Egypt, Putin said “The Russian security services have reported to me that, on the whole, we are ready for opening the direct air link between Moscow and Cairo..This would require signing a corresponding intergovernmental protocol.”

The return of Russian flights and tours could be a massive boost to tourist numbers that reached 5.3 million in 2016, compared to 14.7 million visitors in 2010. However, it should be noted that the industry is recovering gradually.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt's 1st 'On Board Computer' sees daylight ]]> Mon, 26 Feb 2018 19:48:38 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/189 Senior architect at the Architecture Design Center in Japan's Hitachi Ltd. Mohamed Mahmoud Ibrahim announced that Egypt managed to manufacture its first "On Board Computer".

The satellite computer was designed and assembled at Benha Electronics company, affiliated to the Military Production Ministry, Ibrahim announced at a conference titled "Egypt Can 3 ..by sons of the Nile", held in Luxor city.

The Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs) and Application Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs) were also designed and manufactured at the Egyptian company.

Cooperation between the National Authority for Remote Sensing and Space Sciences (NARSS), under Dr. Ayman Mahmoud, and Japan's Hitachi Ltd. culminated in the manufacture of this computer, Ibrahim said.

The first Egyptian satellite computer was approved by Kyushu Institute of Technology established Center for Nano satellite Testing (CeNT), he said.

The radiation effect on the computer was also tested by Takasaki Ion Accelerators for Advanced Radiation Application (TIARA), he added.

The term "On Board Computer" indicates, rather obviously, any unit flying on board a satellite which provides processing capability. However, the On Board Computer, or OBC, more commonly refers to as the computer of the satellite.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt is leading the world in fight against hepatitis C: Messi ]]> Sun, 25 Feb 2018 15:41:54 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/186 The Argentine Barcelona player Lionel Messi praised the success of Egypt’s program to treat the hepatitis C virus.

 “Having cured more than one million patients, Egypt is leading the world in the fight against hepatitis C,” Messi said in a Spanish and English post on his Facebook page, which is followed by 90 million people around the world.

 “Finally there is an effective and affordable cure, what are you waiting for to join us to eradicate the disease?” Messi said.

He concluded his post with the hashtags #TourNCure and #StopTheWait in reference to the Egyptian medical tourism program “Tour n Cure”, which aims to treat patients from all over the world from hepatitis C in Egypt. The Barcelona star is one of most famous ambassadors to cure the disease around the world.

Messi attached the “Tour n Cure” medical tourism program, inviting people infected with hepatitis C from all over the world to come to Egypt to receive treatment and avoid waiting lists.

The medical journals and international conferences praised the Egyptian experiment, which has now moved to the second phase, launching nationwide surveys to detect and treat the unrecognized cases of this disease with the aim of completely eradicating it by 2020 according to the initiative of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The Egyptian Health Minister Ahmed Emad on Saturday announced the launch of the second phase of the expanded national campaign to eliminate hepatitis C by 2020, which will begin in 10 governorates, as part of the initiative of President Sisi, to declare Egypt free of hepatitis C, in cooperation with the Tahya Misr fund and al-Azhar.

The campaign was launched on February 13, in 17 governorates. The spokesperson for the Health Ministry Khaled Megahed said that the campaign aims to survey and treat 15 million people every year over a period of three years, so that Egypt will be free of the virus by the end of 2020.

He added that the campaign targets the age group between 19 to 59, the most vulnerable group, and to achieve the goal, the national campaign had to expand in this way.

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<![CDATA[ The Launch of Region’s First Science Park in Egypt ]]> Sat, 24 Feb 2018 19:38:17 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/184 by:  Denis Opudo, tech in africa

Science and Innovation Park (SIP) first phase will be launched in May this year in Egypt. The initiative is funded by the British University in Egypt and TusPark Holdings.

TusParks is the company managing partner.  As a partner, the company will assist in the management of the Business Incubator and the Science Park. In addition to management, TusParks will also provide technical, operation aids and business innovative skills.

The second launching is projected to be in November 2018. The estimated project budget will cost about $4.5 million. The system will also require nearly 14,000 square meters land situated in El Shorouk City.  The core mandate of SIP is to serve local business community within El Shorouk City. Targeted industrial surrounding zones include 10th of Ramadan, Badr City, and Obour City.

The system will still welcome both local and foreign startups which abide by the Egyptian laws. The focus of the company now is building and nurturing of startups across Africa and beyond.

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<![CDATA[ We understand Ethiopia's reasons to postpone dam meeting, but want compliance with set timeframe: Egypt ]]> Sun, 18 Feb 2018 15:46:39 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/175 Trilateral talks on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam were due to take place on 24-25 February in Khartoum, but have been delayed due to political crisis in Ethiopia

Egypt understands the reasons for Ethiopia requesting a postponement of the trilateral ministerial meeting on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) scheduled for late February, but hopes there will be compliance with agreed timeframes for resolving technical issues, Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Sunday.

Sudan was due to host the meeting between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on 24-25 February, but said on Saturday that it was postponing it at the request by Addis Ababa, following the recent resignation of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Foreign and water ministers as well as intelligence officials from the three countries were due to meet in a fresh bid to end a standoff over the $4 billion-hydroelectric project, which Egypt fears could greatly diminish its share of the Nile waters.

In a statement on Sunday, Egypt's foreign ministry said that Egypt is "aware of the conditions that promoted Ethiopia to request that the meeting be postponed, which we hope will pass soon."

Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced his surprise resignation in a televised speech on Thursday, saying he wanted to make way for further reforms. A day later, the country imposed a six-moth state of emergency to quell potential unrest.

The Egyptian ministry said, however, that Egypt hopes "there will be compliance with the timeframe set by the leaders to resolve outstanding disagreements on technical issues, especially as the issue of the Renaissance Dam affects the interests of all three countries."

It urged "strict implementation" of the leaders' directives as well as "urgent action to find solutions that safeguard the interests" of the three countries.

In January, the leaders of Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan set a one-month deadline to draw up ways to end a stand-off in negotiations over the construction of the dam.

Egypt has repeatedly expressed concerns over the stalling of negotiations over a disputed study on the dam's impact on downstream countries. Cairo fears the 6,000-megawatt dam, will reduce the supply of Nile water, which it almost exclusively relies on for drinking water and irrigation.

Ethiopia, which hopes to become Africa's largest power exporter, maintains that the project will not harm Egypt. Meanwhile, Sudan supports the dam because it will provide electricity and irrigation.

Delegations from Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia met in Cairo in November to approve a study by a French firm tasked with assessing the dam’s environmental and economic impact. But negotiations stalled when the three countries failed to reach consensus on the initial report.

Last month, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi held talks with Desalegn and Sudan's Foreign Minister Omar Hassan Al-Bashir in Addis Ababa.

Following the talks, El-Sisi said that the interests of the three countries would not be harmed by the project. El-Sisi's comments were echoed by Sudan's Al-Bashir.

Earlier in January, El-Sisi met with Desalegn in Cairo and said Cairo would not allow differences over the dam affect relations with Addis Ababa.

 

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<![CDATA[ Post Brexit Britain to strengthen natural partnership with Egypt ]]> Sat, 17 Feb 2018 10:56:45 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/171 By: Marwa Al-wageeh

 UK Trade Envoy Sir Jeffrey Donaldson concluded a successful trade mission where he was accompanied by over 50 companies, the biggest delegation Egypt has seen in twenty years. During the five-day visit, the mission met with leading Egyptian officials and business people in Cairo and Alexandria to explore business opportunities across Egypt in job-creating sectors such as transportation, health, manufacturing, energy and education.

During his visit, UK’s Trade Envoy met with Minister of Investment Sahr Nasr, Minister of Health Dr Ahmed Rady, Minister of Trade Tarek Qabil, Minister of Education Dr. Tarek Shawky and Minister of Higher Education Dr. Khaled Abdel Ghaffar. The delegation included the 33 companies from the Scottish Development International and six from the Energy Industries Council, whose companies focus on the oil and gas industry.  It also includes 14 companies from the transport and healthcare sector, and four companies focused on opportunities in the education sector.

The visit comes at a time when the UK is further deepening economic ties with Egypt.  The past year has seen a number of high profile announcements, including a EGP 1.7bn investment in BenBan solar project, a new production facility for SEWS and a joint-venture industrial complex for high quality medical supplies. This week, BP announced that their Atoll Phase One project, involving almost $1bn of investment, started production seven months ahead of schedule.

British Ambassador John Casson said: “Visiting delegations plant the seeds for future investment, as we saw with the series of high-profile announcements following Sir Jeffery’s visit last year. We kick off 2018 with the largest mission the country has seen in two decades, which reflects Britain’s commitment to the long term success of Egypt and its people.  We are committed to remaining Egypt’s number one economic partner post-Brexit.  That’s why we’re working closely with the Egyptian government to keep UK-Egyptian trade flowing from day one of Brexit, and to open the way for even more trade and investment in the years to come.”

UK Trade Envoy Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “The economic relationship between Egypt and the UK continues to go from strength to strength.  The UK is already Egypt’s top economic partner, and I’m proud this week to head up the largest delegation I’ve ever brought to Egypt, and the largest delegation in twenty years.  It shows that UK companies are increasingly looking to Egypt for opportunities for investment and trade. Our joint work with the Egyptian government will make sure that, post-Brexit, our trade and investment links will continue to grow.”

Minister of Trade Tarek Qabil said: “As part of Egypt’s vision 2030 and my Ministry’s 2016-20 Development Plan, I am working hard to create a business climate that will strengthen the national economy by integrating Egyptian businesses into global supply chains. I am therefore pleased to see the UK’s Trade Envoy, Sir Jeffery Donaldson, bring his largest ever trade delegation this month, who are here looking for investment and trade opportunities. The UK is leaving the EU next year. I am working closely with Sir Jeffery and the British Embassy in Cairo to ensure our strong trade links and our trade terms are unaffected by the UK’s exit, and to work with the UK on how we can improve our strong and longstanding trade links in the future.”

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<![CDATA[ The main concern about rebuilding Iraq ]]> Wed, 14 Feb 2018 15:24:29 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/168 By: Deutsche Welle

A three-day conference on the future of war-torn Iraq kicked off in Kuwait this week, with non-governmental organizations like the Red Cross promising some $330 million (€267 million) for rebuilding efforts.

Baghdad has a list of around 157 investment projects on offer as it seeks to overcome corruption concerns that have long left donors hesitant to contribute funding. On Wednesday, the final day of the conference, the main donation pledges are expected to be made from roughly 70 countries.

With Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in attendance, the US has played an especially important role at the conference. The US-based Exim Bank announced on Tuesday it would extend Iraq a $3 billion line of credit. Washington has invested $60 billion in Iraqi reconstruction since 2003, when a US-led coalition invaded the country and overthrew former dictator Saddam Hussein. Iraq has struggled to return to stability ever since, most recently waging a military campaign  against the “Islamic State” militant group.

the donors

In addition to the US, Iran and Turkey are contributing to Iraq’s rebuilding process. Dr. Bernhard Trautner, a researcher at the German Development Institute, described the donors as “those with a direct stake in the reconstruction of Iraq as a future peaceful neighbor and a market for their products.”

Iran is already active politically, economically and militarily in the country. During the conference in Kuwait, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced his country “would stand by the Iraqi people forever.”

 “At a time when only a few countries were participating in the reconstruction of Iraq, Iranian companies were active in building roads in the country and providing Iraqis with engineering services,” he told Iranian state news agency IRNA.

Turkish interests in Iraq are focused in particular on the country’s Kurdish region. Ankara strengthened its economic ties with Iraqi Kurdistan through oil and gas pipelines after Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit there in March 2011. The Turkish government has pursued deepened relations with Iraqi Kurdistan in part to ensure the region remains part of Iraq. A number of Turkish construction companies are undertaking projects around the country, for instance, Trautner said.

Main concerns

Many investors at the conference in Kuwait are concerned that the money they pledge could fall into the wrong hands. Iraq is often viewed as a rentier state, where money perpetuated from the oil and gas industry to the government is often not properly accounted for. This includes “phantom contracts” with front companies for construction projects. Rahim al-Darraji, a member of the Iraqi parliament’s transparency commission, said last December that some 6,000 such contracts existed.

 “In order to tackle corruption, you have to tackle the political system itself,” Trautner said. “The social contract has been broken. The system has never worked properly since the authoritarian rule of Saddam Hussein.”

Basem Antoine, an Iraqi economist, suggested that countries reluctant to participate in development projects in Iraq due to corruption could instead carry out the projects on their own. “If these countries themselves are afraid, they do not have to pay the money, they can rather have their affiliates supervise the infrastructure projects,” he said.

Such projects would include building schools and roads destroyed by years of endless war.

Germany’s role

The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) says that Germany has contributed nearly €1.3 billion to Iraq’s economic development since 2014, making it one of the largest financial contributors to the country’s rebuilding efforts.

 “The economy must be the engine of reconstruction in Iraq and I am pleased that so many well-known companies in Germany want to participate in the rebuilding,” said German Development Minister Gerd Müller on Tuesday at the Kuwait conference, where he met with representatives of German companies.

Trautner pointed out that the influx of refugees from Iraq to Europe in recent years could be an important reason why Germany and other EU countries have taken an interest in Iraq’s rebuilding. Germany currently hosts 100,000 Iraqi refugees, many of whom could be encouraged to return home if conditions in their country improve.

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<![CDATA[ IMF hails Egypt’s 1st phase of economic reforms ]]> Mon, 12 Feb 2018 14:42:24 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/165 International Monetary Fund Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department Jihad Azour affirmed that Egypt’s first phase of economic reforms was successful.

Azour affirmed that Egypt was able to achieve stability by gradually reducing the level of inflation and regaining confidence, which translated into massive capital inflows and recovery in some key sectors such as export and tourism.

Azour added that Egypt is gradually moving towards more structural reforms that will help reduce the social pressure on low-income citizens and provide opportunities for new business and job creation.

Egypt made a difficult decision to liberalize the exchange rate, but it sure did the trick of increasing the country's foreign currency reserves, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde said in January.  

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<![CDATA[ Egypt’s preparations for expats voting ]]> Tue, 06 Feb 2018 12:30:06 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/156 Egyptian Minister of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates’ affairs Nabila Makram met on Monday the head of the National Elections Authority (NEA) Lasheen Ibrahim in order to study cooperation seeking to urge Egyptian expats to participate in the upcoming Presidential elections.

The meeting resulted in decisions to ease the voting process for the Egyptians living abroad such as adding the NEA’s website as an external link on the Ministry of Immigration and Egyptian Expatriates official website.

The NEA will receive the expats’ enquiries online and give them the guidelines to be able to vote during the elections set to be held in March.

Makram has taken a tour abroad, meeting Egyptian communities in different countries to encourage expats to participate in the voting process, signed various protocols with those communities in order to secure a proper participation in the elections.

Makram is planning to visit both Gulf States of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait where a large Egyptian community resides; the Minister will clarify for expats the procedures ought to be taken in order to vote for their favored candidate.

Egyptian expats set to cast their votes in the upcoming Presidential elections on 16, 17 and 18 March, as long as they hold a valid residency Status in their host countries.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt's Sisi submits his 2018 presidential candidacy documents to the NEA ]]> Thu, 25 Jan 2018 11:59:17 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/136 President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's presidential campaign submitted his presidential candidacy papers to Egypt's National Elections Authority headquarter in Downtown Cairo early yesterday.

The official spokesperson of El-Sisi's presidential campaign Mohamed Bahaa Abu Shouka presented to the NEA his presidential candidacy papers including public endorsements whether from citizens or from Members of parliaments.

According to the Presidential elections law and the Egyptian constitution, presidential Candidates must receive endorsements from a minimum of 20 MPs, or 25,000 citizens from at least 15 governorates, with at least 1,000 endorsements from each governorate.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi who declared his intentions to run for a second term on Friday is considered the first candidate officially to present his candidacy papers.

 

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<![CDATA[ Potential presidential candidates to apply for checkups ]]> Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:13:30 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/127 Nasser Institute for Research and Treatment, International Medical Centre, and Sheikh Zayed Hospital are ready to receive the applications of potential presidential candidates until January 26, Chairman of Specialized Medical Councils Sector at the Ministry of Health Emad Kazem announced yesterday.

The official added that all required medical check-ups will be conducted at the expense of the potential candidates.

Up until now, four persons announced their intention to run for the 2018 Presidential Elections. These are incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, former Chief of Staff Samy Annan, rights lawyer Khaled Ali, and lawyer and President of Zamalek Sports Club Mortada Mansour.

The NEC announced on January 8 the timetable of the 2018 presidential elections. Potential candidates are allowed to submit their applications from January 20 to 29. The final list of the candidates will be announced on February 24.

Voting will take place for three days starting March 26 domestically, while it will begin on March 16 for expats from 9:00 until 21:00 in each country’s local time. The winning candidate will be announced on April 2.

According to Article 140 of the Egyptian Constitution, electoral procedures should begin a minimum of 120 days before the end of the current presidential term, and the president-elect should be announced a minimum of 30 days before the end of the previous president’s term. The current presidential term will end in June 2018.

Electoral procedures consist of receiving and scrutinizing applications and appeals, as well as setting the electoral lists and campaign regulations.

The NEC is an independent institution running all types of elections and referendums in the country, currently chaired by Chancellor Lashin Ibrahim Mohamed, who also serves as vice-president of the Court of Cassation.

President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi is the sixth president of Egypt. He came to office in June 2014 after the revolution of June 30 that toppled former President Mohamed Morsi, who is affiliated with the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt’s National Electoral Commission launched an official website for both the parliamentary and presidential elections. The new website aims to publish all the resolutions and recommendations pertaining to the elections, in addition to the voting guides for Egyptians inside and outside Egypt.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt seeks to become regional electricity interconnection hub ]]> Mon, 22 Jan 2018 14:02:59 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/126 By: Africa's Power Journal

Egyptian minister of electricity, Mohamed Shaker, has noted that the country has a distinctive location between the three continents of Africa, Asia, and Europe.

With this in mind, the north African country is planning to implement a strategy for a electricity connection plan between the three continents, the Egypt Daily News reported.

Shaker pointed out that Egypt is actively participating in all regional electrical interconnection projects.

The ministry is currently studying increasing the capacity of electricity links with Jordan to 3,000MW, as well as establishing two new converter stations in both countries.

He said the ministry is also working on completing the electricity connection project between Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which aims to exchange 3,000MW at peak time through a submarine cable with 500 kV capacity.

It is expected to be an ideal model of electricity interconnection due to the difference between the two countries in terms of peak hours. The first phase of the project is expected to launch in 2021.

Shaker said that a memorandum of understanding has been signed for electricity connection between Egypt, Cyprus, and Greece, making Egypt a hub for electricity interconnection between three continents.

The electricity connection between the North and the South of the Mediterranean will absorb the huge electricity production from new clean energy projects in Egypt, media noted.

The ministry is also looking to implement electricity interconnection projects with African countries to benefit from the enormous potential of hydropower sources in Africa.

Shaker said that his ministry is preparing the necessary measures to establish the first pumped-storage hydroelectric projects with a capacity of 2,400MW at Ataqa Mountain.

The pumped-storage hydropower is a type of hydropower that works like a battery, pumping water from a lower reservoir to an upper reservoir for storage and later generation.

 

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<![CDATA[ Arab League to oversee Egypt's 2018 presidential elections ]]> Sun, 21 Jan 2018 13:06:44 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/124 The Cairo-based Arab League (AL) announced yesterday its participation in Egypt's upcoming presidential elections slated for March.

"This participation comes in the light of the AL massive interest in such an election that is an important step in enhancing the course of democracy and good governance in Egypt," the pan-Arab body said in a statement.

AL Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit assigned one of his aides to lead a mission of different Arab diplomats who will be distributed in different Egyptian provinces to oversee the polls, according to the statement.

It added that an operation room will be constantly operating during the elections to follow up all relevant developments, communicate with the mission members in different provinces and receive their notes.

Egypt will hold its 2018 presidential polls in late March. After a 10-day candidate registration period started on Saturday, the candidates will start their campaigns on Feb. 24.

The result of the first round is set to be announced on April 2, according to the country's National Election Authority.

President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi officially announced his intention to run for a second four-year presidential term. former military chief of staff Sami Anan also declared his intention to join the 2018 presidential race.

Last December, a pro-Sisi non-official campaign called "So That You Can Build It (Egypt)" said it collected over 12 million signatures from Egyptians, more than 11 percent of the population, who support Sisi's campaign for a second term.

 

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<![CDATA[ UAE, Egypt among 11 countries to launch most innovative buildings in 2018 ]]> Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:52:26 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/121 By: The Kuwaiti English newspaper of Arab News

The UAE and Egypt are among a list of 11 countries launching the most innovative buildings in 2018, UK’s the Telegraph reported.

Four structures for the United Arab Emirates, including the recently-opened 150 meter by 93 meter Dubai Frame, and Egypt’s 24,000 square meter Grand Museum made the list.

Other UAE structures featured were the 66,000 squad meter Mohammed bin Rashid Library and Dubai International Financial Center’s 53-story office tower ICD Brookfield Place.

Turkey also made the list with Istanbul’s new airport, which was designed by Nordic Architecture.

The list also featured India’s 117-story World One tower, and Malaysia’s soon-to-be tallest building, the Merdeka PNB 118.

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<![CDATA[ New documentary to examine Qaradawi ]]> Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:35:50 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/120 A new documentary will focus on controversial fatwas issued by the first Egyptian on the terror list announced by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain.

Yusuf Al Qaradawi is a Doha-based Egyptian Islamic theologian and chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. He joins the 59 individuals and 12 institutions that the quartet have designated as financing terrorist organizations and receiving support from Qatar.

The four countries cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar in June last year over allegations it supports extremist groups and has interfered in the affairs of other countries.

Airing on January 17, Al Arabiya’s show Death Making, which looks at the issue of global terrorism, will scrutinize a number of fatwas issued by Qaradawi. Some people considered several of them as extreme and violent.

Qaradawi has had a long connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, although he says he is no longer a member.

In 1997, Qaradawi's affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood led to his expulsion from Egypt, a country where this organization was at the time prohibited.

In October 2004, according to Saudi Arabia's newspaper Arab News, over 2,500 Muslim intellectuals from 23 countries signed a petition addressed to the UN to highlight the use of religion for incitement to violence. Qaradawi was mentioned among “the sheikhs of death,” as the signatories defined those who manipulate religion to incite violence.

Qaradawi dismissed this as baseless and slanderous. The sheikh has been banned from entering the US since 1999 and in 2008 the UK denied Qaradawi a visa, citing fears that his preaching “could foster inter-community violence.” In March 2012, France blocked the entry of extremists in the country after the Toulouse attacks, and specifically mentioned Qaradawi as one of those who was barred.

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<![CDATA[ Belarusian woodworking companies eager to help set up cluster in Egypt Economy ]]> Wed, 17 Jan 2018 13:16:47 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/116 Published in BelTA , Belarusian telegraph agency

Belarusian woodworking companies intend to participate in the establishment of a cluster in Damietta, Egypt. The possibility was discussed as Belarusian Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade Minister Vladimir Koltovich met with Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Egypt to Russia with concurrent accreditation to Belarus Ihab Nasr, BelTA has learned.

During the meeting the sides discussed the main directions for advancing Belarus-Egypt relations and prospects of their reaching brand new levels.

Vladimir Koltovich is a co-chairman of the Belarusian-Egyptian trade commission. During the meeting he sketched out the main results achieved by the two governments as they worked to invigorate and advance the bilateral relations.

The official also drew attention to matters of special interest for Belarus and Egypt. Close attention was paid to amending the roadmap on advancing Belarus-Egypt cooperation in 2017-2018. The antimonopoly regulation and trade minister drew attention to four blocks of problems, which need to be addressed.

Those include the promotion of agricultural products and services to the Egyptian market (projects to set up joint ventures to process poultry meat and beef, the construction of greenhouse farming enterprises, enterprises to make baby food, rye bread, other foods), cooperation in manufacturing sector (manufacturing cooperation projects, modernization and expansion of existing assembly enterprises and the establishment of new joint ventures), the promotion of tires made by Belarusian Belshina in Egypt, and the participation of Belarusian companies in the establishment of a woodworking cluster in Damietta.

Ihab Nasr assured he would forward the acquired information to the relevant ministries and government agencies for the sake of accelerating the resolution of these problems. Vladimir Koltovich expressed confidence in further effective advancement of the bilateral relations. In January-November 2017 Belarus-Egypt trade totaled $82.7 million, 48.4% up from the same period of 2016.

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<![CDATA[ Fitch Revises Egypt's Outlook to Positive ]]> Wed, 17 Jan 2018 10:41:14 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/115 Fitch Ratings has revised the Outlook on Egypt's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to Positive from Stable and affirmed the IDR at 'B', according to a report released yesterday.  

Fitch’s report clarified that the Egyptian government has made significant progress with its reform program in 2017 and remained on track with the $12 billion three-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) signed with the IMF in November 2016.

"Fiscal consolidation is proceeding, although it will require a multi-year effort to reverse the increase in general government debt/GDP witnessed since the Arab Spring uprisings. The Central Bank of Egypt's (CBE) exchange rate reform has proved a turning point for the economy and Egypt's external finances; and macroeconomic stability has started to improve following an inflationary spike,” the report added.

 “Public finances will remain a key weakness of Egypt's credit profile, but we expect continued fiscal consolidation to start to reduce government debt/GDP in FY18. The general government primary deficit halved to 2.6 percent of GDP in FY17 from 5.3 percent of GDP in FY16,” the report expected.

 “At the beginning of FY18, the government enacted another round of fuel and electricity price increases and raised the VAT rate to 14 percent from 13 percent. We forecast the budget sector deficit to narrow again in FY18, to 9.7 percent with a primary deficit close to balance. We expect Egypt to achieve a primary surplus in FY19 for the first time in more than 15 years. Budget sector primary deficits averaged 3.6 percent in FY11 to FY17,” the report added.

Fitch stated that on the spending side, there has been restraint of the wage bill, which grew by 6.4 percent year on year in July-December, well below inflation rates, reflecting ongoing implementation of wage reforms under the civil service law of 2016. The wage bill is budgeted to amount to around 5.8 percent of GDP in FY18, down from more than 8 percent in FY14 and FY15.

Fitch forecasted general government debt/GDP to fall to 93 percent in FY18 from a peak of 103 percent in FY17, marking an inflection point in the strong upward trend since the 2011 revolution.

By the end of FY19, which is likely to also mark the end of the current IMF program, the report forecasted general government debt/GDP to have fallen to 88 percent. The key risk to this outlook is that reform momentum weakens. Furthermore, guaranteed debt has increased in recent years (26 percent of GDP at end-June 2017).

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<![CDATA[ Egypt to build biggest textile, clothing city in 18 months ]]> Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:57:46 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/114 Egypt’s Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Tarek Kabil announced Monday the start of the building procedures of the biggest city for textiles and clothing in Egypt on a land space of 3.1 million cubic meters in Al-Sadat city.

"The city will contain 568 factories with $2 billion as a paid capital to be invested during seven years with 87 percent of foreign investment and 13 percent of national investment, " Kabil added in a speech delivered in the presence of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi during his visit to Al-Sadat city.

Kabil further clarified that the textile and clothing city will offer 160,000job opportunities, with an annual production estimated at $9 billion.

"This project will be implemented by the Chinese company Man Kay for investment that has been working in the textile manufacturing field for more than 10 decades; the company owns 25 affiliated Chinese companies," the minister explained.

"The project will contain five phases, where the first phase is set to be finished in 2020 with 57 factories and investments worth $230 million, while the last phase is scheduled to be completed in 2024," Kabil stated.

President Sisi announced that the government is ready to execute 50 percent of this project to speed up its implementation in a period of 18 months instead of seven years.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt Replaces Tourism Minister in Reshuffle ]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 11:24:27 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/111 By; U.S news network of Bloomberg

Egyptian lawmakers approved the appointment of a former senior central bank official as tourism minister, one of four cabinet changes after President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called for a reshuffle.

Rania Al-Mashat, who held a top position at the bank before moving to the International Monetary Fund, takes over at the Tourism Ministry as overseas arrivals have recently been climbing after the vital sector was hit hard by the downing of a Russian airliner in 2015 and other militant violence.

In other appointments, the head of Egypt’s statistics agency was confirmed as local development minister, while Khaled Badawi, chief executive of National Bank of Egypt unit Al-Ahli Capital, took over the public sector portfolio. Ines Abdel Daim, who formerly ran the Cairo Opera, was approved as culture minister. The reshuffle came as Egypt gears up for presidential elections slated for March.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt’s exports reach $21B in first 10 months of 2017 ]]> Mon, 15 Jan 2018 10:57:37 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/110 Egypt’s exports stood at $21.1 billion in the first 10 months of 2017, compared to $17.85 billion in the same period of 2016, the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said Sunday.

Petroleum exports amounted to $1.96 billion in the same period, compared to $1.6 billion a year earlier.

Egypt’s most important exports in the first 10 months of 2017 included fuel, with exports worth $3.7 billion, cotton ($58 million) and raw materials ($17.1 billion), according to CAPMAS.

Exports have benefited from the floatation of the Egyptian pound. The move, resulting in the pound losing almost half its value, made Egyptian goods in foreign markets attractively cheaper while doubling the cost of importing.

This in turn has been beneficial for the country’s trade deficit, which fell 26 percent year-on-year by $12 billion in 2017, the Trade Ministry said earlier this month.

Imports fell in the first 11 months of 2017 to $51 billion, from $61 billion the same period in 2016, and exports rose to $20.4 billion from $18.4 billion, the ministry said, adding that foreign trade improved thanks to more exports from industries such as chemicals and fertilizer.

In October alone, trade deficit dropped 15.4 percent to reach $3.22 billion, compared to $3.79 billion in the same month last year, CAPMAS said this month.

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<![CDATA[ Asia Times: President al-Sisi restored interest in Abdul Nasser ]]> Sun, 14 Jan 2018 12:27:22 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/109 The Hong Kong-based English-language news website of Asia Times, praised a newfound interest in the late president Gamal Abdul Nasser, a man admired and respected by president Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

If he were alive today, Gamal Abdul Nasser would be turning 100 this Monday (January 15). Egyptians, and Arab Nationalists across the Middle East, are commemorating the birthday of their former leader, who died on September 28, 1970, at the young age of 52. He has since been hailed across the Arab World as the “godfather” of Arab Nationalism. Asia Times said in its report.

After years of neglect under President Hosni Mubarak (1981-2011) and systematic character demolition under the Muslim Brotherhood regime of Mohammad Morsi (2012-2013), a newfound interest is emerging in Nasser, a man admired and respected by the current president, Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi, Asia Times added.  

The Hong Kong based news website, pointed out that  Nasser’s oldest surviving son, Abdul Hakim Nasser, joined demonstrators in Tahrir Square on june 30' revolution, expressing solidarity with Al-Sisi. He then appeared on Egyptian television to state that the family of Gamal Abdul Nasser stood firmly behind president Al- Sisi.

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<![CDATA[ WB agency aprroves $102M guarantee for Egypt's solar power ]]> Thu, 11 Jan 2018 12:58:47 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/106 World Bank Group member, the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), announced Thursday a guarantee of $102.6 million for the construction of six power plants in Egypt.

Coming as a first part of 12 solar projects approved by MIGA, the power plants will have a combined capacity of 250 megawatts under the government's feed-in-tariff (FiT) program, MIGA said in a statement.

The guarantees are being provided against the risks of expropriation, transfer restriction and inconvertibility, breach of contract, and war and civil disturbance, it stated.

 "Significant investments are needed in Egypt to meet growing demand for power, and diversify the country’s energy mix," MIGA Executive Vice President and CEO Keiko Honda said in the statement.

The Egyptian government is moving forward on a mega project that involves private sector companies building solar and wind plants under a FiT scheme.

The plan set by Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker eyes generating 20 percent of Egypt’s energy supply from renewable energy resources by 2022.

In October, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, completed a $653 million debt package to finance building 13 solar power plants near Aswan.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) also approved financing a total of 16 solar projects in Egypt at a total capacity of 750 megawatts with $500 million under the same scheme.

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<![CDATA[ WB: Egypt’s growth rate expected at 4.5% in 2018 ]]> Thu, 11 Jan 2018 12:40:25 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/105 The growth rate of Egypt’s economy is expected to reach 4.5 percent in FY 2018 as ongoing reforms and improved business climate provide further impetus to industrial activity and exports, the World Bank said in a report on Tuesday(9-1-2018)

The report, Global Economic Prospects 2018: Middle East & North Africa, said that Egypt’s growth remained broadly stable at 4.2 percent in fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017).  

The report expected that Egypt’s growth rate reaches 5.9 percent by 2019. It added that the devaluation of the currency had a positive impact on competitiveness in the country, contributing to strong industrial production, investment, and exports in the second half of the fiscal year.

It said that Egypt experienced strong industrial production, investment, and exports, supported by the effects of the devaluation on competitiveness.

In Egypt, the move to a floating exchange rate has improved competitiveness and provided a needed boost to industrial activity and exports, which are expected to strengthen further as the business climate improves.

There is scope for a further recovery of tourism, an important revenue source in oil importers (e.g., Egypt and Morocco), if geopolitical tensions remain contained, the report said.

The report went on to state that growth in the Middle East and North Africa is estimated to have slowed sharply to 1.8 percent in 2017 from 5 percent the year before.

The slowdown in growth among oil exporters, driven by oil production cuts and continued geopolitical tensions, has more than offset a pickup among oil-importing economies.

Fiscal adjustments also held back growth among both oil-importing and oil-exporting economies in the region, the report added.

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<![CDATA[ Egypt’s core inflation drops to 19.86% in December 2017 ]]> Thu, 11 Jan 2018 11:38:20 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/104 Egypt’s headline inflation declined to 21.90 percent in December 2017, from 25.98 percent in November 2017, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) said on Wednesday(10-1-2018).

On a monthly basis, Inflation declined by 0.21 percent in December 2017, compared to an increase of 0.97 percent in November.

Core inflation, which strips out volatile items such as food, fell to 19.86 percent in December, from 25.54 percent a month earlier, declining by 0.37 percent month-on-month, the CBE showed.

The significant decline in annual inflation rates in December would encourage the CBE to cut interest rates in February, macroeconomic research consultancy Capital Economics said Wednesday.

The firm’s Middle East analyst Jason Tuvey said in the research note that he expects the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will embark on an easing cycle when it next meets in mid-February, adding that interest rates will be cut by 100 basis points (1 percentage point).

He also expected inflation to stand at a single digit by the end of 2018, allowing a further cut in interest rates. Benefiting from the base effect as one year has passed since the flotation of the Egyptian pound, economic analysts expect inflation and interest rates to continue declining over the coming months.

The base effect should be clearer in the upcoming months as the inflation rate for January is expected to be below 20 percent, Minister of Finance Amr el-Garhy told Reuters on Wednesday.

Garhy further anticipated inflation to drop to 13-14 percent by August. Last month, Egypt’s annual urban consumer price inflation fell to 26.7 percent in November from 30.8 percent in October.

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<![CDATA[ Germany’s DEA eyes boosting investment in Egypt ]]> Thu, 11 Jan 2018 11:25:54 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/103 Germany’s DEA Group planned to pump more investments in Gulf of Suez and Disouq regions in Egypt, CEO of the group Maria Moraeus Hanssen said yesterday.

In a meeting with Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Molla, Hanssen stated that Egypt is now an attractive investment destination especially after latest gas production from new fields, such as Zohr giant field and North Alexandria concession.

The meeting tackled DEA Group’s ongoing activities and projects in Egypt and its upcoming plan for the country.

DEA started operations in Egypt in 1974 and has developed crude oil fields such as Ras Budran, Ras Fanar and Zeit Bay fields in the Gulf of Suez, producing more than 650 million barrels of crude.

The company is also a partner in the West Nile Delta project, which encompasses five fields where two of them, Taurus and Libra, started gas production in March 2017.

Germany is a key economic partner to Egypt as over 1,000 German companies are operating in Egypt and the trade exchange volume between the two countries reached €5.56 billion ($6.4 billion) in 2016, while German investments in Egypt recorded €619 million in the same year.

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<![CDATA[ Mattis Speaks About South Asia, North Korea, Iran ]]> Sun, 07 Jan 2018 10:23:09 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/94 U.S Defense Media Activity

Defense Secretary James N. Mattis discussed strategy in South Asia, issues on the Korean Peninsula and Iranian illicit weapons activities, in an impromptu discussion with Pentagon reporters last thursday .

 “We’ll fight them,” the secretary said, when asked about the strategy in Afghanistan against the terrorists with ISIS operating there.

Probably the most challenging part in making assessments in combat is that what counts most in war, including morale levels, is most difficult to quantify.

 “Eventually you’ll see a lagging indicator -- you’ll see that not as many people want to be recruited into a force that’s getting annihilated,” such as ISIS was in Syria, he said, adding that not as many foreign fighters will sign up for that.

Speaking to Pentagon reporters for the second consecutive day, Mattis said the strategy in South Asia reinforces some of the troops in the region.

 “We found some forces didn’t have the American advisors they needed, and the ones with advisors seemed to always win,” he said. ”The ones without them did not fare so well.” The strategy is a regional approach that also focuses on reconciliation efforts, he pointed out.

Iran

The protests in Iran have had no impact on his assessment of the country, Mattis said, adding that he keeps his advice to President Donald J. Trump confidential. But the United States watches all the time for indicators of illicit Iranian activities, he said.

Mattis noted that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley visited Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in the nation’s capital last month to see illegal Iranian equipment on display. “So if anyone thinks they’re not exporting ballistic missiles or weapons or explosive boats like down to Yemen, there it is,” he said. “We all know what they’re doing in Syria. We’ve seen what they’re doing from Bahrain to the eastern province of Saudi Arabia.”

The displays in the hangar included missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, antitank weapons and a Shark-33 boat used to attack a Saudi frigate. Examination of the weapons trace them back to Iran and industries owned and operated by the Iranian government or Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Mattis said his intent is to “show that to the world clearly.” The Iranian people are not supporting the export of terrorism or “whatever the revolutionary regime people want to call it,” he added.

 “They’re not buying it there at home,” the secretary said. “We’re not buying it internationally.”

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 deals specifically with Iranian arms transfers and its ballistic missile program. Iran has repeatedly violated the resolution.

North Korea, South Korea

North Korean and South Korean officials are to meet Jan. 9 to discuss the Winter Olympics, which take place next month in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Mattis said. “Right now, it is only about the Games,” he told reporters.

Mattis highlighted the close bond between the United States and South Korea, saying the two nations are in “complete lockstep.”

 “It’s almost like an old married couple, when we start the statement and they can finish it,” he added.

Joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises have been deconflicted with the Games and will occur at some point after the Paralympic Games, which follow the Olympics, he added.

Denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula is a diplomatic-led effort that requires a diplomatic solution, Mattis said, adding that he provides the “backing for the diplomats.”

 

 

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<![CDATA[ results and future of the war against ISIS ]]> Tue, 02 Jan 2018 12:04:09 EET http://en.theinternational.club/news/89 U.S. Department of Defense

From a Combined Joint Task Force Operation

the 70 nations and four organizations that comprise the coalition that’s dedicated to the defeat of the ISIS of Iraq and Syria reflect on progress made in 2017 and look forward to 2018, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported yesterday.

Members of the Iraqi security forces provide security during rural combat training at Camp Taji, Iraq, Nov. 18, 2017. Camp Taji is one of four Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve locations dedicated to training partner forces and enhancing their effectiveness on the battlefield. CJTF-OIR is the global coalition that’s dedicated to the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Army photo by Cpl. Rachel Diehm

Members of the Iraqi security forces provide security during rural combat training at Camp Taji, Iraq, Nov. 18, 2017. Camp Taji is one of four Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve locations dedicated to training partner forces and enhancing their effectiveness on the battlefield. CJTF-OIR is the global coalition that’s dedicated to the defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Army photo by Cpl. Rachel Diehm

The defeat-ISIS campaign, which commenced in 2014, achieved its most significant progress in 2017 as key cities in Iraq and Syria, including Mosul, Hawijah, Qaim, Tal Afar, Raqqa and Tabqah, were systematically liberated from ISIS’ so-called caliphate, officials said.

During 2017, over 61,500 square kilometers of territory was liberated from ISIS across Iraq and Syria, meaning “more than 98 percent of the land once claimed by the terrorist group has been returned to the people,” said Army Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve.

Liberation of Millions

More than 4.5 million people were liberated from ISIS oppression in 2017, said Funk, who added this represents a “remarkable achievement by our partners leading to [the liberation of] a grand total of 7.7 million people over the three years of Operation Inherent Resolve.”

The coalition began 2017 with 67 member organizations, and concluded the year with 74, Funk said. This, he said, indicates the international resolve to defeat ISIS is “stronger than ever, and we will continue our efforts to prevent the resurgence of this perverse ideology.”

However, ISIS’ "repressive ideology continues,” the general said. And, he added, the conditions remain present for ISIS to return.

 “Only through coalition and international efforts can the defeat [of ISIS] become permanent," Funk said.

Looking to Future Success

The coalition looks forward to further success in 2018, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the global effort to defeat ISIS in 2017 will be remembered, officials said. This includes hundreds of brave Iraqis and Syrians who gave their lives for their nations, service members from coalition nations and the many innocent Iraqis and Syrians who have died as a result of ISIS’ terrorism, officials said.

As 2018 begins, the Iraqi government looks forward to continuing to help its people rebuild after the nation’s complete liberation from ISIS, officials said. Syrian Democratic Forces remain engaged in the final phases of liberating the middle Euphrates River Valley, officials added.

Building on these accomplishments, the coalition’s efforts are refocusing on supporting the international community’s whole-of-government efforts to prevent the re-emergence of ideology-based terrorism and to assist partners in bolstering security that will enable stability in the region and around the world, officials said. The future success of non-military activity will be decisive in the defeat of ISIS, officials said.

Continued Training

The coalition’s contribution will be largely through continued training of Iraqi security forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces, who will provide security for their people and their national borders, officials said. The coalition will build on the training that has already been delivered to over 126,500 Iraqis and more than 12,500 Syrians to date, officials added.

Support from the international community is vital to the defeat of ISIS and achievement of stability in the region,” said British army Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney, deputy commander of strategy and support for CJTF-OIR.

Despite a string of successes by ISF and SDF, much work remains to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS, officials said. The terrorist group is still attempting to establish regional networks and remains a regional and global threat through its ability to organize or inspire acts of violence against innocent people around the world, officials added.

Coalition officials urge international governments and nongovernmental organizations to answer the call of the Iraqi and Syrian people to build conditions that prevent the re-emergence of violent extremism, so that the people of Iraq and Syria can be permanently freed from the horrors of ISIS.

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