Society in depth – Daily News Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Sun, 24 Mar 2019 09:00:51 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Repercussions of Bouteflika’s decision to abstain from running for elections remain vague https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/19/repercussions-of-bouteflikas-decision-to-abstain-from-running-for-elections-remain-vague/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/19/repercussions-of-bouteflikas-decision-to-abstain-from-running-for-elections-remain-vague/#respond Tue, 19 Mar 2019 12:00:27 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=693329 New Algerian Prime Minister Bedoui reportedly began talks to form new government

The post Repercussions of Bouteflika’s decision to abstain from running for elections remain vague appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
While the Algerian newly-appointed Prime Minister Noureddine Bedoui has started talks to form a new government, which appears to be the latest move to appease protesters, experts cannot still expect certain repercussions for the decision of Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s withdrawal to run for a fifth term.

Last week, the 82-year-old wheelchair-bound leader announced he will not run for a fifth term and will postpone the presidential elections, which were due to be held in April.

Noureddine Bedoui was appointed as prime minister last week after his predecessor Ahmed Ouyahia resigned in the wake of the mass protests. As Bedoui reportedly began working on the new government, prominent opposition leader Abderrazak Makri called on Bouteflika and the ruling elite to step down.

“The gang [the ruling authority] has refused to respond to the Algerian people until today and this moment. It has to listen to the voice of the street and implement what it wants,” said Makri, the head of the Islamist Movement for the Society of Peace, in an online statement last week.

Bedoui is a close ally of Bouteflika’s and has been tasked with bringing about political reforms until new presidential elections are held.  His government is also expected to organise a national conference, but no dates have been given for either the elections or the conference.

Views of foreign writers varied, as some of them believed that the decisions of Bouteflika turned a page from the history of modern Algeria, where the country will choose its successor, while some considered the step as ‘half a victory’ due to the street mobilisation.

Moreover, others questioned the move, saying it was to “gain time, and to give an opportunity in order to ensure the continuity of the ruling regime, but differently, through a respected figure who should know how to deal with the new balances.”

Writer Abdullah Raqdi at the London-based newspaper Raialyoum said that the engagement of the Algerian people was “a declaration of a new dawn for a society that decided to put an end to the path of decline and failure made by the current regime.”

Journalist Gihad El-Khazen said that, “Perhaps the demonstrations of hundreds of Algerians, and the scenes of millions of Algerians who filled the capital, among others, convinced the Algerian President not to continue in his position, or maybe the Algerian army realised that it should not stand against its citizens. It is important now that a page of Algeria’s modern history will unfold within weeks, and the country will choose a successor to Bouteflika.”

Prominent Yemeni journalist Sadek Nasher said Bouteflika’s decisions “have defused a deep crisis in the country, although they were unable to end it completely because many political parties continue to question its goal, but ultimately putting Algeria before political and social entitlements, and even a new constitution would completely change the face of the country in the coming decades.”

The writer warns that the widespread rejections of the step presented by the president “lends the next phase many concerns and fears, especially since Bouteflika’s supporters see the rejections as constitutional violations, and deliberate the extension of the current presidential mandate of Bouteflika,” which means that the crisis is still in place.

Earlier in February, President Bouteflika announced his intention to run for a fifth term in the upcoming elections scheduled in April.  His supporters believe that the leader is ‘mentally and intellectually’ capable of running the country.  However, since suffering from a stroke in 2013, he has rarely been seen in public and does not travel around the country or abroad–except for medical treatment.

Thousands of Algerians demonstrated in several cities across the country against the Algerian President Bouteflika’s declaration that he will run in the coming presidential election seeking a fifth presidential term.

The protesters were chanting against Bouteflika with slogans such as “No for fifth term,” and “No for Bouteflika,” as they waved the Algerian flag. They also clashed with the security forces who were intensively deployed in the capital’s main squares as well as major cities.

The protesters also chanted against Saeed Bouteflika, the younger brother of the Algerian President, who currently acts as his adviser, as well as Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia, and they called for his dismissal.

Security forces responded with tear gas and cordoned off the May 1 Square in the capital Algiers, and prevented protesters from entering it. Algeria’s authorities have banned demonstrations in the capital city since 2001.

These protests were the largest in Algeria since 2001. Despite intensive security measures in Algiers, calls to protest against Bouteflika’s presidential candidacy succeeded to attract thousands of citizens after opposition political parties called for marches outside the capital. Security forces have been actively restricting the protesters’ movements, blocking their roads, and dispersing gatherings.

Kada Ben Amar, Algerian writer for the daily newspaper Echourouk, said that what was achieved after Bouteflika’s letter was “half a victory, which dropped the fifth oath which was not logical at all.” The president himself admitted that he did not want to run from the beginning, but at the same time, this came to contain the anger of the street and invest in Algeria’s peace in order to direct the country and the people toward a genuine change, as the archaic faces no longer have a place nor role in it.

Ben Amar stated, “The time has come for everyone to raise their voices of reason, including the street which began to resort to the elites, perhaps to find someone who deserves to speak and negotiate in their names in the next stage.”

“The language of reason in this matter is to accept the principle of dialogue on the foundations of the new Algerian political system, and decide on who will be in charge of steering the ship, as well as how to set a realistic calendar which will determine the way to prepare a constitution based on the new republic and then to adopt it,” he said, adding, “This is the plan of action for the next phase.”

This comes as some writers doubt Bouteflika’s recent decisions. Khairallah Khairallah from the London-based Al Arab newspaper says that it is clear that “the goal of the narrow circle surrounding Bouteflika is to gain time to plan.”

“It simply means that members of this narrow circle want Bouteflika to remain president, even if they are right, until the end of the year,” he said, adding, “In any case, the unknown title of Algeria’s current phase after the Bouteflika page, will remain.”

The writer refers to the need for “a new system in which the beginning is to recognise that Algeria is a third world country, and it needs a different system which rearranges priorities, including attention to what the average citizen wants and needs.”

In the same context, writer Al-Habib Al-Aswad says that President Bouteflika, in his decisions, “wanted a deadline to rearrange the papers again, giving them and those around them an opportunity to ensure continuity, but differently, through a respected figure who knows how to deal with balances.”

Writer Tawfiq Rabahi said the ruling regime in Algeria “cannot leave the political and electoral game open to the unknown.” He added that the participation of what he described as “false witnesses” in the upcoming presidential elections, “gives the regime a new legitimacy of another four years.”

The post Repercussions of Bouteflika’s decision to abstain from running for elections remain vague appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/03/19/repercussions-of-bouteflikas-decision-to-abstain-from-running-for-elections-remain-vague/feed/ 0
Egypt introduces ‘Mawadda’ initiative to fight high divorce rates https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/02/20/egypt-introduces-mawadda-initiative-to-fight-high-divorce-rates/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/02/20/egypt-introduces-mawadda-initiative-to-fight-high-divorce-rates/#respond Wed, 20 Feb 2019 07:00:32 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=690427 Initiative expected to start with trial phase in Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said until July

The post Egypt introduces ‘Mawadda’ initiative to fight high divorce rates appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
As Egypt is ranked among the countries with the highest rates of divorce, the Egyptian government has introduced a family protection initiative entitled ‘Mawadda’ in order to raise awareness on tolerance among partners, and how partners can prepare for the marriage life.

The initiative draws questions on the possibility of its success, especially as the rates of divorce are reaching unprecedented records. President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi have been long criticising the high rates of divorce in Egypt, and addressed the concerned entities to enact plans in order to counter this issue.

During the sixth round of the National Youth Conference, the president addressed the minister of social solidarity, Ghada Wali, to prepare a national project with the purpose of reducing the steady rise in divorce cases within the society.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly reviewed a report prepared by Wali on the initiative which aims to reduce the high rates of divorce. The initiative is expected to start as a trial in the governorates of Cairo, Alexandria and Port Said until July, where the highest rates of divorce are recorded, according to the report.

The trial phase will determine the future of the initiative, highlighting its challenges and strengths and other points to be considered in any other upcoming phases. After the success of the initiative, it will expand to additional governorates across the nation by next October, the report further noted.

In press statements, Wali said that the new initiative contributes toward reducing the divorce rates through discussing topics related to choosing one’s own life partner, the spouses’ rights and duties, in addition to the different marital issues and how to deal with them especially economic pressures, family management, and women’s health.

Furthermore, the initiative will support young people in entering the marital life, while equipping them with all the necessary expertise to form the family, and will also provide guidance in order to resolve any disputes, the minster noted. Wali added that it will also activate family dispute resolution bodies to reduce divorce cases, and will also review the legislation which supports the family entity and preserves the rights of both partners and children.

Noteworthy, Mawadda targets around 800,000 youth from the age of 18 to 35, who are university and higher institutes students. Conscripts of the ministries of defence and interior, and those who work in the public service can attend the initiative’s courses as well. The initiaThe activities will also include reviewing all the legal legislation related to marriage with the participation of Al-Azhar, Dar Al-Ifta, and the ministry of justice, without violating Islamic law.tive targets married couples who have cases that are registered at the settlement disputes offices, affiliated to the ministry of justice.

The trainers will include 700 universities and academies, and 500 trainers from the recruitment camps of the armed forces and the interior ministry, in addition to 5,000 maazouns (marriage officiant).

Mawadda will work as an obligatory training programme for couples who are to be married, requiring them to complete an average of 30 hours of attendance, with a final exam.

The activities will also include reviewing all the legal legislation related to marriage with the participation of Al-Azhar, Dar Al-Ifta, and the ministry of justice, without violating Islamic law.

Through the initiative, the state will be able to prepare a database of beneficiaries for this project linked through the number of national identities in order to determine the number of marriages and divorces, measure the rates annually, count the number of family cases disputes, and measure the interaction with the initiative itself.

The initiative will also work on social platforms through having accounts on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook, in addition to airing a radio programme dubbed ‘We will complete our lives’, which will be broadcasted on all local radio stations, as well as prepare short awareness brochures, in addition to telecasting a programme every week starting from October on Al-Nas channel.

Wael Wafaa, a social consultant, stated that the initiative is important and must be adequately supported to ensure its success and sustainability on the long-term as the rise in the divorce rate comes due to several reasons, ranging from social, psychological, and economic ones, but the absence of the family role had a significant impact on the high divorce rates.

Speaking on the reasons behind divorce, he explained, “In the past, the father or the mother of each partner used to have a role in raising awareness on managing the family entity, through providing advice and guidance on how they can have a good and safe marriage life”. He denounced the personality of the majority of married couples, stating that marital relationship at the present is no longer based on integration, as each of them is only expecting more from the other, and they become very harsh if any situation needs their compromise.”

“In many cases, partners even reject to communicate with each other, increasing the severity of the problems between them, and this state of conflict is common among the majority of Egyptian families,” he said.

The consultant also believes that some couples who are to be married are not eligible to form a family, while depicting marriage as “a company with integrated and strong pillars,” urging that there must be a common dialogue between the spouses and thought between them in order to overcome any problems.

Meanwhile, Amira Hassanin, a behavioural psychologist, said that the initiatives which were launched in the field of reforming marital relations with the purpose of reducing divorce rates proved their failure, and they were just created for a media show, saying that there must be a national project in order to reduce the divorce rates which have significantly risen.

Hassanin said that the success of the initiative and its continuation will require it to become a national project to be managed by specialists in psychology, sociology, and clerics, as well as to introduce real stories.


Moreover, she also said there is a deficiency in education from both the family and school, as well as factors affecting economic conditions because of the high prices, pointing to the negative role of some media outlets and a large number of TV programmes. The reasons are also due to the rise of cultural differences and conflict between spouses. She also stated that some of the advice givers are not eligible for such advice, and sometimes portray divorce as a “progressive step” which women should take, portraying her as a heroine who should be freed from the husband’s control.

“There is a huge inadequacy in the education which is provided by the family and the school, as well as other factors affecting marriage such as economic conditions, and the negative role of some media outlet that spike disagreement between spouses, and some of the providers of advice to couples are not even eligible for such advice,” she commented on the reasons of divorce.

Meanwhile, the Islamic preacher, Khaled El-Gendi, commented in press statement that the success of the Mawadda initiative requires the expertise of Al-Azhar scholars, the leading experts, legal advisers, professors of psychology and sociology, and all those who are experienced in solving marital problems, as well as the elderly mothers and men to sum up their previous experiences.

He also said that that the economic conditions are not the reason for the high rate of divorce, these arguments are flimsy, as couples do not have to overstress themselves and can live with their current incomes, and help each other in bearing the costs of marriage.

Divorce rates in Egypt have been on the rise during the past years. In 2017, the Egyptian census, according to the deputy minister of health and population, confirmed that the total number of divorced people reached 710,850. Divorce cases occur mostly in the age group between 25 and 30 years old.

The causes of divorce are varied, including financial troubles, social incompatibility between spouses, lack of responsibility, drug addiction, and the interference of family and friends in married couples’ lives, all of which can lead to child exposure to violence, neglect, and school dropouts.

A total number of 240 cases of divorce occur daily in Egypt, making the country one of the highest in the world in terms of divorce rates, which rose to 40% over the past half century, at a rate of approximately one divorce every six minutes. The country, according to cabinet reports, has 2.5 million divorcees.

Divorces have become a disturbing phenomenon because they threaten social cohesion, especially in the presence of children, and the issue requires a community response to solve its causes.

The post Egypt introduces ‘Mawadda’ initiative to fight high divorce rates appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/02/20/egypt-introduces-mawadda-initiative-to-fight-high-divorce-rates/feed/ 0
Fate of Personal Status Law remains pending until controversy between Parliament, NCW ends https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/02/12/fate-of-personal-status-law-remains-pending-until-controversy-between-parliament-ncw-ends/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/02/12/fate-of-personal-status-law-remains-pending-until-controversy-between-parliament-ncw-ends/#respond Tue, 12 Feb 2019 09:30:27 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=689636 Al-Azhar, NCW drafted other bills, did not respond to Parliament’s draft law

The post Fate of Personal Status Law remains pending until controversy between Parliament, NCW ends appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
As controversy continues, the fate of the Personal Status Law remains yet undetermined, despite the presence of several suggestions and proposals for the law, which all were submitted to the Egyptian Parliament.

Egypt’s Parliament is currently working on a bill, submitted by MP Mohamed Fouad. Starting from January, the Parliament has been providing the concerned authorities including Al-Azhar, the Coptic Church, the National Council for Women (NCW), and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM) a fixed period in order to provide their opinions and views, but none of the mentioned entities has sent any response yet, and rather submitted other bills.

On 10 January, Ahmed Helmy al-Sherif, the deputy of the constitutional and legislative affairs committee, issued the law to the concerned parties and fixed January as a deadline, yet the concerned entities submitted other bills, and did not respond to the Parliament’s sent one, according to Fouad.

He denounced the stance of the NCW and its absence from attending the community dialogue session, which was held to discuss the draft Personal Status Law. Fouad said that the NCW has announced, more than once,  their preparation of a draft law on personal status, and about holding frequent meetings and community dialogues on it. Moreover, he stated that the NCW declared that it was submitted to the cabinet, in addition to publishing prominent features of the draft law, but so far did not announce its articles.

He further commented that the NCW’s stance proves that there is not any draft law, and what they announced during the last period does not exist in reality, and only aims to hinder the discussions.

The member refereed that are already five bills submitted to the NCW until now, stating that all of these laws are being reviewed by the parliament. A bill was submitted by MP Abla Al-Hawari, while another one was submitted by MP Hala Abu Saad, and a third one by Gamal Shuwaikh, as well as three other amendments submitted by MP Samir Rashad Abo Taleb.

Hassan Sanad, a member of the legislative committee of the NCW, said that the bill which was submitted by the Parliament’s members was sent in February for an opinion, and the response is being prepared.

On the other hand,  Fouad said during a press statement that he rejects the NCW’s approaches in dealing with the MPs, and stressed that the NCW did not respond to the Parliament when it resorted to it as a consultant, and asserted that the Parliament will discuss the laws by the middle of this month, and will not include the NCW as they chose this path.

Meanwhile, the NCW prepared their own draft law for the Personal Status Law, which culminates to the other proposed bills. Several MPs are demanding information on the NCW’s drafted law, which was sent to the cabinet last June in order to take the appropriate legal action and send it to the concerned authorities.

As for the NCW, they stated that the preparation of this draft law comes in an attempt by the NCW to deal with the various problems which are present in the Personal Status Law.

On the other hand, the NCCM supported the proposal of the NCW’s new bill, which aims at addressing the several issues in the Personal Status Law, and it takes the best interests of the children into account.

Azza Ashmawy, the secretary general of the NCCM, said that we they cannot waive any of the gains which are granted to the Egyptian child, as stipulated by the Constitution and the law, or even the international conventions. She commented that Fouad’s proposed bill does not guarantee a fair protection for children.

Furthermore, she added that there are three million children in parental custody— either by father or mother— after their separation, which is a ratio of about 3%, in comparison to the number of children in Egypt, stressing that the NCCM will not allow the exposure of any child to violence, or ill-treatment as a result of family disagreements.

Al-Ashmawi commended the efforts of the Head of the NCW, Maya Morsi, on the issues of childhood and motherhood, stressing that the constant communication and cooperation between the two councils serves the interest of the Egyptian society.

Regarding his proposed bill, Fouad said that his draft law is attempting to eliminate the suffering of some mothers when fathers abduct the children and escape, through establishing a specialised family police which will be responsible for implementing courts’ rulings.

Moreover, the bill further stipulates harsh penalties for parents who kidnap their children, or who delay or extend the period of returning the child back to the other parent, after completing the agreed upon timeframe for hosting the child.

Noteworthy, the previous acts are not criminalised by the current Penal Code, since they were always viewed as individual cases.

He also added that his draft law guarantees the custodial mother the right to receive expenses for her children by determining a clear percentage of the father’s income, and by making sure that the father does not manipulate his income by submitting inaccurate documents to the court.

Fouad also pointed out that he aims, through his draft, to end the dispute between the father and mother on the expenses after divorce.

It is worth mentioning that in Egypt, several couples sometimes disagree and take their disputes to courts after divorce, when fathers reject paying for their children’s expenses, which result in enormous quantities of those types of cases in courts.

Accordingly, the law will guarantee the non-custodial mother the right to host the child one day a week, and grants her a week in the summer holidays, as well as to divide the holidays between both parents. The law will also allow the family members of the non-custodial side, whether grandmothers or aunts, to see the child during the hosting periods, which is not stipulated in the current law, which limits it to the non-custodian parent only.

Similarly, while the dispute between the NCW and the MPs is ongoing, Al-Azhar also worked on drafting a new law on personal status, and is currently preparing to send it to the House of Representatives. A number of MPs considered that Al-Azhar is exceeding its competence, and considered the move as a form of disregard to the MPs’ demand to provide the institution’s opinion on the proposed draft law.

Regarding the draft of Al-Azhar, the committee responsible for the preparation of the draft said that it completed the law, to include 110 articles.

The committee held around 30 meetings in order to reach a legal solution in accordance with the Sharia for the many arising marriage problems, as well as that of divorce and custody, which gives men and women the rights affirmed by Islam. The Parliament has the right to either reject it or agree to it, as stated by the members of the committee.

Noteworthy, Al-Azhar formed a committee in October 2017 in order to prepare an integrated draft law on personal status issues, including the Grand Mufti; the former Al-Azhar deputy, Abbas Shoman; the former Grand Mufti, Nasr Farid Wasil, and several members from the Senior Scholars’ Council, and the Islamic Research Academy.

MP Mohamed Abu Hamed objected the preparation of the Al-Azhar a draft law on personal status, stressing that Al-Azhar is body which gives opinion on religious matters, and that the Personal Status Law is mainly a civil one, and has few articles which are related to religion. Accordingly, the Constitution of Al-Azhar stipulates that it should only be limited to giving opinion.

Moreover, Abu Hamed pointed out that since April 2017, the Parliament has received six bills with bills relating to the Personal Status Law, which include a full bill submitted by Fouad and 59 other deputies, another full draft submitted by Abla Al-Hawari and 60 other deputies, and another one by Samir Rashad and 80 other deputies, as well as three bills submitted by some deputies’ amendments on a number of articles of the current Personal Status Law.

The member concluded that the Parliament’s legislative committee is not the one responsible for hindering the law, as it granted a long time for Al-Azhar and the NCW, nearly a year, stressing that the poll is not a mechanism of deterrence, especially if the concerned parties of the law are to express their opinion. The opinion, after all, is advisory and non-binding to the parliament.

The post Fate of Personal Status Law remains pending until controversy between Parliament, NCW ends appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/02/12/fate-of-personal-status-law-remains-pending-until-controversy-between-parliament-ncw-ends/feed/ 0
Egypt fights homelessness as part of community development initiatives https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/29/egypt-fights-homelessness-as-part-of-community-development-initiatives/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/29/egypt-fights-homelessness-as-part-of-community-development-initiatives/#respond Tue, 29 Jan 2019 08:00:31 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=688237 Over last 15 days, around 1,686 homeless people of different ages rescued, says social solidarity minister

The post Egypt fights homelessness as part of community development initiatives appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Continuing its progress in the community development field since last year, the Egyptian government has launched a new social initiative as part of a series of social projects introduced to improve conditions of the most vulnerable individuals.

Following the cold wave that hit the country over the past two weeks, the ministry of social solidarity created an initiative to rescue homeless people. The Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Waly, initiated the “We are With You” campaign on 15 January, in coordination with the ministries of interior and health, to solve the problem of homelessness in Egypt.

The initiative assigned special convoys nationwide to return lost children to their families or offer them shelters. For those who do not want to be relocated, the convoys provide them food, medicine, and blankets instead. It further provides rehabilitation to help people resume their normal lives.

There are 17 convoys working in different areas and governorates across Egypt, each includes sociologists, psychologists, doctors, and specialists to handle homeless children. They return lost children to their families if they were reachable, otherwise they send them to child care centres. The same options are offered for the homeless seniors.

The Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Waly

These convoys also include rapid intervention teams affiliated to the ministry of social solidarity and members of the Tahya Misr Fund’s Children Without Shelter initiative.

There are least 12 million homeless people in Egypt, including 3 million children, mainly in Cairo, Giza, Qaliubiya, Alexandria, Menoufiya, Sharqeya, Suez, Beni Suef, Minya, and Assiut, according to the ministry of social solidarity.

The ministry offered several contact channels though hotlines and social media so people can report any homeless person. The initiative marks a good start for this year, said Waly, noting that following the recent cold wave, intensive efforts have been exerted by the Children Without Shelter initiative and the ministry to rescue homeless persons.

Over the past 15 days, around 1,686 homeless people of different ages were rescued, however, the initiative was initially targeting only children.

The ministry said that 95 adults and 80 children were rescued on Saturday. Cairo had the lion’s share of these cases with a total of 68 homeless people, followed by Giza with 20 individuals, and Assiut with 19 individuals.

This campaign received a fund of EGP 50m from the ministry of social solidarity and extra EGP 114m from the Tahya Misr Fund. The Egyptian Food Bank also financed the initiative through providing free meals.

The CEO and Managing Director of the Egyptian Food Bank, Moez Al-Shahdi, said that this initiative to rescue homeless people is very positive.

“It is clear to everyone that there are people [in Egypt] who are struggling to find shelters or obtain life’s basic needs,” said Al-Shahdi.

The Deputy Head of the campaign, Ayman Abdel Aziz, said the campaign aims to provide the social and psychological rehabilitation of children and to reunite them with their families, if it is possible. He added that the campaign also focuses on helping the elderly through providing hot meals and blankets if they refuse to return to their families or move to the ministry’s care centres.

The government is currently building more shelters for street children and now plans to coordinate with different NGOs to build more shelters for the homeless.

Abdel Aziz noted that the initiative’s teams were carefully selected from 3,000 applicants, and received training, in collaboration with international organisations with long experience in this field, such as FACE for Children in Need, Save the Children fund, and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

Sayed Hamed, a coordinator in one of the rapid intervention teams, said that his team was not working randomly, but actually they were monitoring several areas to reach those in need, noting that they have a strategy for providing support and meals for homeless people.

He added that his team has started since 2016 to offer support for the homeless upon the directives of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Hamed pointed out that rapid intervention teams are spread all over the country.

Moreover, the campaign’s spokesperson, Hazem Al-Mallah, described the initiative as a “multipronged” mission that includes fixed and mobile units so that they can reach out to the homeless everywhere. It also develops shelters for the homeless, offers case management services-including a follow-up of homeless people after returning them to their families to ensure they do not return to street-and raises social awareness about the issue.

The Egyptian population living below the poverty line exceeded 30%, while the state is working on providing different social development projects. On Saturday, President Al-Sisi witnessed the launch of the ‘Nour Al-Hayah’ (Life’s Light) initiative, which aims to treat diseases that cause blindness or blurry vision. The initiative will be funded by the Tahya Misr Fund.

Earlier in January, Al-Sisi also started the Decent Life initiative to serve as an umbrella for civil society initiatives aimed at providing healthcare, social services, job opportunities, and developing infrastructure.

On Sunday, the Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, announced that a new family-planning initiative will be launched as a part of the “100 Million Health” campaign to control overpopulation.

The new initiative aims to raise awareness about the benefits of having only two children, Zayed explained, adding that it will be divided into multiple stages covering all governorates according to the size of population issue in each area, considering the studies conducted in this regard.

The post Egypt fights homelessness as part of community development initiatives appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/01/29/egypt-fights-homelessness-as-part-of-community-development-initiatives/feed/ 0
Public figures call to amend presidential term; Al-Sisi asserts respecting constitution https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/25/public-figures-call-to-amend-presidential-term-al-sisi-asserts-respecting-constitution/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/25/public-figures-call-to-amend-presidential-term-al-sisi-asserts-respecting-constitution/#respond Tue, 25 Dec 2018 12:00:38 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=685041 Referendum must be carried out to amend constitutional article, says Fathy

The post Public figures call to amend presidential term; Al-Sisi asserts respecting constitution appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
“The president will not stay two days later after his term ends,” President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi declared. This has been stated directly to the public during different occasions to express that the president is committed to the duration of his presidential term, stipulated by the Egyptian constitution of 2014.

However, throughout 2017 and 2018, several people called for the amendment of the constitutional article related to determining the duration of the presidential term, in order to extend the president’s duration in office.

Egypt abides by the constitution, which was passed after a referendum in 2014, with 98% voting in its favour.

In one of the recent movements, Lawyer Ayman Abdel Hakim, along with five other lawyers, filed a lawsuit to the Cairo Court of Urgent Matters, in order to amend the existing constitutional article No140 which limits the presidents’ duration in office to two terms.

According to article No140 of the 2014 constitution, “The president of the republic is elected for a period of four calendar years, commencing on the day the term of his predecessor ends. The president may only be re-elected once.”

The lawsuit sought to allow Al-Sisi to run for a third term in office. If approved, the president can benefit from this move during the upcoming presidential elections expected in 2020.

About the lawsuit

The Cairo Court of Urgent Matters postponed on Sunday, the viewing of the lawsuit to 20 January. Following the session, dozens of citizens gathered while holding photos of Al-Sisi and chanted in favour of him.

The lawyer said in press statements that he filed the lawsuit so that the president can run for a third term as he believes that Al-Sisi made a lot of achievements, and he is the only one who should remain in office.

According to Abdel Hakim, about 310 citizens attended the court session to express their approval of the lawsuit.

Regarding the lawsuit, he explained that he prepared three memoranda which included the president’s achievements during his term.

“Egypt needs to give the president a chance to run for new terms to complete the path of achievements and the relations with other countries. We cannot start from scratch, in view of the relations that Al-Sisi built with all the presidents and kings of the world,” the lawyer said.

He also reviewed the achievements and projects which took place in Egypt during Al-Sisi’s ruling, starting from the new Suez Canal, the Suez Canal Development Project, the 1.5m feddan project, The projects of the General Authority for Roads, Bridges, and Land Transport, the national project for the development of Upper Egypt’s governorates, as well as the establishment of a new generation of urban cities, in addition to the national project for social housing.

He concluded that there are other additional national projects, including the national electricity project, the Jalala Plateau project, the Golden Triangle project, as well as others.

Can we amend the constitutional article?

Fathy Fekry, law professor at Cairo University and former member of the committee which worked on drafting the constitution of 2014, said that a referendum should be first conducted to be able to delete the note which bans this article’s amendment, and in order to add or delete any articles, which he believes would be “difficult to implement to a great extent.”

The professor highlighted that the constitution prohibits the amendment of the article related to the duration of the presidential term, among other articles.

Yet, Fekry also said that regardless of the entity seeking to amend the constitution, the people’s approval is the foundation and the only guarantee of validity.

Meanwhile, MP Ismail Nasr El-Din said that he has previously called to amend the duration of the presidential ruling to be from four to six years, while restricting the nomination to two terms, as stated in the constitution of 2014.

Accordingly, the article would change to become, “The term of the presidency is six years, beginning from the date of announcement of the election’s result.”

Article number 226 in the transitional provisions of the current 2014 constitution stipulates that the amendment of one or more articles could only be requested by the president of the republic or by one-fifth of the members of the House of Representatives. The request shall specify the articles requested to be amended and the reasons behind such amendments.

In all cases, the House of Representatives shall discuss the request within 30 days from the date of its receipt. The house shall issue its decision to accept the amendment in whole or in part, by a majority of its members.

If the request is rejected, the same articles may not be requested to be amended again before the next legislative term.

If the amendment appeal is approved by the house, it shall discuss the text of the articles to be amended, within 60 days from the date of approval. If approved by a two-thirds majority of the members, the amendment shall be subjected to a public referendum within 30 days from the date of approval. 

The amendment shall be effective starting the day the referendum’s result is announced, with the approval of a valid majority of the participants. 

Nevertheless, texts pertaining to the re-election of the president of Egypt or the principles of freedom or equality stipulated in this constitution may not be amended, unless the amendment brings more guarantees.

Moreover, Amr Hashim Rabie, deputy director of Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, and parliamentary expert, said that it is impossible to amend the constitution in terms of extending the president’s duration in office, adding, “Any violation of the constitution will open the doors of hell and will lose constitutional legitimacy.”

On the other hand, political analyst Amr Al-Shobaki said back in 2017, “There are no permanent constitutional texts. All constitutions can be amended. After these four years of implementation, it is possible to find materials that need to be amended.”

Not the first call to amend the presidential term

Several public figures pointed out during several occasions that the constitution requires some amendments in order to align itself with the country’s requirements during the current stage. 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel Aal previously reiterated during the parliament’s sessions and in other meetings, “The constitution does not satisfy the aspirations of the Egyptians,”

During the most recent talk of the speaker of the parliament, he stated that the constitution was a consensual one, and might not be useful as it was drafted under exceptional circumstances, and therefore could not be sustained on the long term.

The Head of the Parliament’s Media and Culture Committee, Osama Heikal, previously stated, “There are some articles which need to be reconsidered in the constitution,” calling for the amendment. His statements were supported by other deputies.

This is not the first time, as the topic was discussed more than once, most notably before the recent presidential elections, when proposals were made to increase the term of the president in office.

What does the president say?

In an interview in 2017 with CNBC, Al-Sisi publicly said he will not seek a third term in office, asserting that he respects the country’s constitution and will not interfere with it. “I support preserving two four-year terms.”

Earlier in March this year, Al-Sisi swept the presidential elections with 97% valid votes, securing a second term, while his not very-known rival, Head of the pro-government El-Ghad Party, Moussa Mustafa Moussa, secured just 2.92% of the votes.

Before the elections, every time the president was asked about the possibility of his candidacy in the upcoming elections, he never responded neither with confirmation nor with rejection, but instead declared that his candidacy will be based on the peoples’ decision.

In his interview with the editors-in-chief of several national newspapers in August 2017, Al-Sisi said that he would run for the elections, if the Egyptians called him to do so.

Speaking about the presidential elections during the third National Youth Conference, Al-Sisi said that “he will not stay in the office if people reject his presence.” He also reiterated the same answers in his interview with CNN in September 2016.

The post Public figures call to amend presidential term; Al-Sisi asserts respecting constitution appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/25/public-figures-call-to-amend-presidential-term-al-sisi-asserts-respecting-constitution/feed/ 0
Egypt to fight obesity after long years of consuming starchy food https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/18/egypt-to-fight-obesity-after-long-years-of-consuming-starchy-food/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/18/egypt-to-fight-obesity-after-long-years-of-consuming-starchy-food/#respond Tue, 18 Dec 2018 14:00:37 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=684274 State shed light for the first time on obesity rates, necessity of fighting nation’s high rates of related-diseases

The post Egypt to fight obesity after long years of consuming starchy food appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
While President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was demanding the citizens to be healthier and improve their eating habits, Egyptians were already complaining about food prices hike.

In two different occasions in November, Al-Sisi called for increasing awareness of the public about the danger of obesity, especially among school students and youth.

Egypt launched the largest-ever nationwide health screening campaign, ‘100 million lives’, in September 2018, for hepatitis C and other non-communicable diseases.

The screening of 17 million Egyptians as part of the campaign’s first phase showed that 75% of Egyptians have an above normal weight.

Al-Sisi noted that about 11 million of the targeted Egyptian citizens in the screening suffer from different diseases, most commonly diabetes, blood pressure problems, hepatitis C, and obesity, asking “why do we do this to ourselves?”

He added that the citizens should be educated about the effect of their weight on their health, as it paves the way to several diseases.

The president’s remarks came during the inauguration of a number of national projects, in the presence of Prime Minister Moustfa Madboly and a number of state officials.

“We have 700,000 people detected positive with hepatitis C and 11 million with no-communicable diseases, out of a total of 17 million. About 25% of those have normal weight while the rest have above normal weight or suffer from obesity, which will turn into life-threatening diseases.”

The president continued “every citizen needs to ask himself and look at his stomach, and then he will know how the problem is big.”

Earlier in November, Al-Sisi expressed concerns about the overweight of young Egyptians during a session at the World Youth Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh, urging his government and society to establish “a culture of self-care”, while asserting that sports should be the main subject in school and university curriculums.

It may be the first time that the Egyptian state sheds the light on obesity rates and the necessity of fighting the nation’s high rates of related-diseases.

Reactions to the president’s statements varied. Some supported him and called on the people to respond positively to this call to decrease rates of obesity in Egypt, while others criticised the issue, saying that they cannot even afford normal amounts of food.

The flotation of Egyptian pound in November 2016 increased the prices of all products, including food, medicine, electronics, and fuel, as well as services, making life harder for the citizens.

Since the flotation, the majority of Egyptians has been complaining about how the monthly budget for commodities became insufficient to secure all their needs.

Starchy food is common among Egyptians, as they mainly rely on traditional high-calorie meals. Beans, falafel, and koushary are among the most common dishes for Egyptians. Rice and pasta are always served in everyday meals.

The traditional food in Egypt relies on products that include high calories, which made healthy food more expensive for being less demanded.

According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), about 80% of Egyptians dies due to non-communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. About 15% of pre-school age Egyptian children are overweight, while 37% of women infertility (aged from 15 to 49) are overweight, and 48% of females are suffering obesity.

“My mother uses butter in cooking, so how can I lose weight?”

Rodiana Ahmed, a business administration student, said that her mother uses butter in cooking as her family could not accept the idea of cooking with olive oil because this was never part of their culture.

Ahmed’s family always cook its food with homemade butter which includes high calories.

Ahmed said that her weight is over 90kg and that she has been trying to lose weight for the past three years, so she decided to adopt her own lifestyle away from her family’s eating habits.

“I am spending EGP 2,500 monthly in the sake of losing weight and being a healthy person, and this adds a burden on my shoulder,” said Ahmed, who also works as a makeup assistant artist.

Ahmed’s parents are paying for her education, but giving her little money for her daily expenses, which covers only transportation and tutoring expenses, so she decided to work a nightshift job to cover her personal needs.

“I visit the gourmet market every month to buy healthy products which usually cost around EGP 800 to 1,000. I cook them myself to follow a diet prescribed by my doctor,” she said, adding that she pays a total EGP 500 per month as doctor’s fees.

Ahmed added “I really believe that to maintain a routine of healthy food is very difficult and requires a lot of money. Sometimes when I am not able to cook, I buy healthy food from a specialised restaurant. Salads only can cost around EGP 60 or 70, and sometimes EGP100. When I do not have enough money for such expensive food, I tend to grilled-food, which usually costs around EGP 50 per meal.”

Ahmed’s story showed that the problem does not lie in the high prices of healthy food only, but that eating starchy food is part of the Egyptian culture.

Nutritionists are really important

Farah Sherif, 26, food blogger, urged that she really believes that the problem is not about healthy food or traditional food, but the high prices of different products. People tend to fast food which is cheap and available everywhere compared to healthy food.

“I cannot deny that anything healthy and clean is expensive in Egypt. As healthy food is better than fast food, it is really very expensive. We have some markets specialised for selling healthy food in Egypt, such as Gourmet and Fresh Food Market, whose prices are not affordable for many of citizens. Such markets are all well known for high-class people as they are the only citizens who can afford their food,” Sherif said.

However, people can still cook healthy food with low calories and low budgets at home, she added, saying that people are fully aware of risks of the fast food, but there are no other options for them as they do not know how to eat healthy food with low budgets.

Egyptians need a full re-arrangement for their lifestyles, I think we need to launch a nationwide awareness campaign on how they can choose healthy food with low budgets and provide them with plans to be healthier and play sports.

She further recommended that the state should realise the importance of nutritionists as they are really doing great jobs and can be the ones who tell people how to be healthy with low budgets.

Parliament will take a stance

Mohamed Al-Amari, head of the health committee in parliament, said in a press statement that combating obesity is on its agenda in the coming period. The committee will examine the possible mechanisms to address this phenomenon and its impact on human health.

The post Egypt to fight obesity after long years of consuming starchy food appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/12/18/egypt-to-fight-obesity-after-long-years-of-consuming-starchy-food/feed/ 0
Parliament calls for local entities to take part in confronting overpopulation https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/27/parliament-calls-for-local-entities-to-take-part-in-confronting-overpopulation/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/27/parliament-calls-for-local-entities-to-take-part-in-confronting-overpopulation/#respond Tue, 27 Nov 2018 11:30:03 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=682183 Defence committee organises 6 meetings to support state strategy of birth control, family planning: MP Amer

The post Parliament calls for local entities to take part in confronting overpopulation appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Egypt has for long been addressing overpopulation, being one of the top challenges facing the country, however, no clear vision has so far been introduced on how the state will confront the phenomenon.

Egypt has already created several birth control programmes, but many questions were raised recently over their effectiveness. Observers are questioning the progress of family planning programmes, believing they almost failed in facing the birth control issue, with limited achievements, as the Egyptian population witnessed unprecedented increases during past years.

Many campaigns were organised to increase peoples’ awareness about the potential problems when having more than two children. Clearly, the state needs to find more unconventional ways to convince Egyptians about the importance of family planning in light of difficult economic and living conditions.

Ayman Zahry, an expert in population studies, said that Egypt’s family planning programmes did not fail in confronting overpopulation, however they could not persuade citizens of the advantages of small families, citing several reasons, mainly religion and traditions.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi repeatedly addressed the phenomenon and warned against its negative consequences. The government also called on Egyptians to follow family planning methods to decrease the country’s population growth.

The Egyptian population reached 104.2 million people, 9.4 million of which live abroad, said Abu Bakr El-Gendy, head of Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) in October 2017.

Overpopulation became one of the major challenges threatening the country’s economy and capability of offering all citizens equal services, prompting the government to renew its previous calls for birth control. The issue of overpopulation has a big role in reducing the ability of the Egyptian state to deliver the most basic public services, including education, healthcare, and housing.

The national defence and security parliamentary committee, headed by Kamal Amer, held a meeting on Sunday to follow up on the efforts of the National Population Council to address the overpopulation issue. The council issued a number of recommendations that included strict measures to be taken on all state levels to stem overpopulation in Egypt.

The committee has been working to support the state’s strategy of birth control and family planning and Sunday’s meeting was its members’ seventh to tackle the issue.

Amer said that the Egyptian population is growing rapidly and all possible measures should be taken to contain this phenomenon and help the country face economic challenges in the coming period.

As for the committee’s recommendations, it began by suggesting the provision of special privileges for families with one child. Amer said that the state shall issue honorary certificates to parents who have one child, adding that this child shall be exempt from tuition payments at all education stages. He shall also be granted priority in the job market when he reaches employment age. For the parents, the state shall grant them life insurance after retirement and comprehensive health insurance.

In January 2018, parliamentary member Mohamed Masoud drafted a law of 13 articles which called on the state to develop and implement a family planning programme aiming to balance population rates by preventing privileges for a third child. But controversy stirred among parliament members over the bill, as some described it as unconstitutional, while others welcomed it.

Early marriage

On top of the measures, the committee suggested intensifying punishments on child marriages, which spread in Egypt particularly in rural areas, including those who contract this marriage. In addition, the committee addressed the government to increase the marriage age for girls and ensure that girls below 18 will not be allowed to marry. It is also recommended to prohibit early withdrawal from education.

Health 

For health, the committee recommended providing free contraceptives to women who only have two children through health units and hospitals nationwide, and to prevent the leakage of these substances so they are not used for any illegal purposes, Masoud added.

Media and Religion 

The committee said that media campaigns aimed to raise citizens’ awareness about the dangers of overpopulation are no longer sufficient, and now it is the time for strict measures to be taken to contain this phenomenon, taking into account the linking population growth to economic growth.

As for religious entities’ efforts, the committee said that government should seek help of religious institutions, both Islamic and Christian, to promote birth control initiatives in all governorates and stand up to the overpopulation problem.

In this context, Amer pointed out that clerics should inform people that the government does not aim to prevent birth, but family planning in order to increase economic growth.

Eduction

He added that the committee recommended that the ministries of education and higher education play a greater role in implementing the new birth control strategy through changing education curriculums to include lessons on birth control, the advantages of small families, and the dangers of early marriage.

Moreover, Amer praised the Takaful and Karama (Solidarity and Dignity) programme, which has been launched by the ministry of social solidarity three years ago to protect poor people through income support, saying that it has been doing a good job in spreading the culture of birth control.

“This programme is based on the slogan ‘Two Children is Enough’ and offers many incentives for women and families in the Nile Delta and Upper Egypt governorates to feel the benefits of birth control.”

The Takaful and Karama projects are divided into two parts: the first aims to provide cash support to poor families who have children in different education levels to ensure that they will continue their education.

The other part is providing medical support to families with pre-school children, who are less than 6-years-old, and to pregnant women. The medical support requires that families implement all of the steps stipulated in healthcare programmes by the ministry of health. The maximum number of beneficiaries of this programme is three children per household.

On Sunday, the parliament’s health affairs committee voted during a meeting in favour of a grant agreement between Egypt and the US on birth control programmes, in which the US will grant financial aid to the government valued at $11m. The grant will also support the current birth control programme in general.

“To help achieve this objective, the agreement will help offer all the tools necessary to make birth control measures more appealing to families, provide training needed to improve family planning services in health units, and conduct a demographic survey of Egypt in 2018 to collect reliable and high-quality data on population and health in Egypt,” said the agreement.

Several of the programmes that were created on birth control became ineffective after the end of Mubarak’s 30-year era. Many of the countries that used to donate contraceptives stopped granting them to the state. Years ago, these contraceptives used to be financed by the state, but their prices are currently expensive and not affordable to all segments.

Late 2017, the state started a new family planning campaign titled “Lifesaver” to assist people to become committed to birth control. The campaign, sponsored by the ministry of health, aims to reduce the country’s expected population from 128 million people in 2030 to 112 million, thus helping the state achieve development which will contribute to improving the citizens’ living standard.

The post Parliament calls for local entities to take part in confronting overpopulation appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/27/parliament-calls-for-local-entities-to-take-part-in-confronting-overpopulation/feed/ 0
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival to Liv Ullmann Lifetime Achievement Award https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/13/tallinn-black-nights-film-festival-to-liv-ullmann-lifetime-achievement-award/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/13/tallinn-black-nights-film-festival-to-liv-ullmann-lifetime-achievement-award/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 17:31:09 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=680936 Festival has also released its line-up of films

The post Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival to Liv Ullmann Lifetime Achievement Award appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival has announced on Sunday that it will be awarding Norwegian actress and Director Liv Ullmann with the festival’s first Lifetime Achievement Award.

Director Ingmar Bergman, an associate of the actress, will have a mini-focus programme.

Ullmann, a renowned and awarded actress and film director, and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund, is celebrating her 80th birthday this year. Having starred in and directed several films which have been screened at Black Nights and its sub-festival Sleepwalkers over the years, she will receive the honorary Lifetime Achievement Award – the first of three to be handed out by the festival this year.

Ullmann rose to international stardom in the 1960’s, having appeared in a series of films directed by Bergman, with whom she developed a long-lasting and productive collaboration, having performed in 10 of his films and some of his most celebrated works, such as Persona (1966), The Passion of Anna (1969), Cries and Whispers (1972) and Autumn Sonata (1978).  Both Autumn Sonata and Cries and Whispers were also screened at Black Nights in 2008 as part of the Ingmar Bergman retrospective.

It was for the role of Kristina Nilsson in The Emigrants, directed by Jan Troell, that she was nominated for the first time, in 1972, for Academy Award for Best Female Actress. The film was screened at Black Nights in 1999, as part of the Jan Troell retrospective. She also received two BAFTA nominations for Scenes From a Marriage (1973) and Face to Face (1976), for which she also received her second Academy Award nomination. Both films were directed by Bergman. She has been nominated for the Golden Globes six times, winning once in 1972 with The Emigrants.

Ullmann began her directing career in 1992 with Sophie, which was selected by Denmark as their candidate for the Best Foreign Language Academy Award. Her film Faithless premiered in the Official Selection of Cannes in 2000 and was also shown at the fourth edition of Black Nights. She has directed three more films, the latest of which, Miss Julie, features Jessica Chastain and Colin Farrell in leading roles.

Tiina Lokk, the head of Black Nights commented: “The whole body of work of Liv Ullmann can be regarded as a representation of Nordic film culture, and she has done marvellous work, both as an actress and a director as well as a woman. She is a strong personality who can set a fine example to many these days, as she succeeded at a time when the film industry hadn’t heard about gender quotas – it was all down to professionality and the extent of the qualities of the person.”

The festival will also hold a celebration of Ingmar Bergman’s 100th birthday, which includes an exhibition by the Bergman foundation and a small focus programme screening a rare film of his that is rarely shown – a Cold War-era spy thriller These Things Can’t Happen Here (1950), also internationally known as High Tension. Far from the director’s favourites in his oeuvre, the film holds significant historical value to Estonia since Bergman used Estonian theatre actors who had fled the Soviet occupation during WW2 in it.

Bergman addressed this matter even in his diary where he wrote during the shooting of the film: “A creative paralysis hit me after only four days of shooting. That was exactly when I met the exiled Baltic actors who were going to participate. The encounter was a shock. Suddenly I realised which film we ought to be making. Among these exiled actors I discovered such a richness of lives and experiences that the unevenly developed intrigue in ‘This can’t happen here’ seemed almost obscene.”

The festival has secured exclusive screening rights from the Swedish Film Institute and the screenings of both films will be accompanied by a lecture from the Bergman-expert Christo Burman, who is a senior lecturer in media arts, aesthetics and narration at the University of Skövde, Sweden.

The focus will also include a screening of Bergman’s classic Autumn Sonata and an exhibition of Ingmar Bergman and his Legacy in Fashion and Art, with an emphasis on the influence that Bergman – as an iconic filmmaker and reluctant trendsetter – has on today’s fashion and art.

The festival has also announced the line-up of the Baltic Competition programme, brought back to life after a seven-year hiatus. Three out of the 11 films announced are having their international premieres in Tallinn.

Estonia will be represented by three films. The feature-length animation Captain Morten and the Spider Queen, an Estonian-Belgian-Irish-UK co-production by director Kaspar Jancis, which premiered at Animafest Zagreb this summer. The film, dubbed by renowned actors such as Brendan Gleeson and Ciarán Hinds, presents a tale of a young boy who learns to take control over his life when he is shrunk to the size of an insect, and has to sail his own toy boat through a flooded café.

The feature-length debut by Liina Triškina-Vanhatalo, Take it or Leave it, is Estonia’s candidate for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. The story, striking acutely at several social cords of Estonian society, follows a struggling construction worker who unexpectedly has to take on the role of a single father. The film is produced by Ivo Felt who received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Tangerines in 2014.

Director Moonika Siimets offers a moving perspective on Stalinist terror through a child’s perspective in The Little Comrade, which was warmly received by local audiences and those at Busan IFF, winning the Public Choice Award.

Latvia’s documentary To be Continued, chronicles three children with different social backgrounds during their first year in school—it is the country’s entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. Another documentary Bridges of Time, co-produced with Lithuania and Estonia, studies the poetical world created by the new wave of documentary filmmakers in the Baltic countries during the 1960’s.

The feature films from Latvia include Bille, set at the end of 1930’s, the childhood years of the writer Vizma Belševica, that will have its international premiere at Black Nights, and Foam at the Mouth, a tale about an ex-police officer whose new project involving three service dogs goes awfully wrong.

Lithuania is represented by four films. Making its international premiere, Ashes in the Snow presents a tale of a group of people deported to the Siberian taiga during the Stalinist repressions of 1941. The other titles are Summer Survivors, a tale of an ambitious young psychologist who accepts to transport two patients to a seaside psychiatric unit which premiered at Toronto IFF, Breathing into Marble which arrives from a busy festival run that included Karlovy Vary and Busan IFF, and the documentary 100 Years Together, following several Lithuanians celebrating the country’s centenary. The film won the Public Choice Award at Vilnius IFF.

The post Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival to Liv Ullmann Lifetime Achievement Award appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/13/tallinn-black-nights-film-festival-to-liv-ullmann-lifetime-achievement-award/feed/ 0
Discourse on banning Niqab reappeared on scene over counter-terrorism rhetoric  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/06/discourse-on-banning-niqab-reappeared-on-scene-over-counter-terrorism-rhetoric/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/06/discourse-on-banning-niqab-reappeared-on-scene-over-counter-terrorism-rhetoric/#respond Tue, 06 Nov 2018 07:00:25 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=680224 MP Ghada Al-Agamy prepared bill to ban wearing of face-cover in public places

The post Discourse on banning Niqab reappeared on scene over counter-terrorism rhetoric  appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Talks over one of the most controversial topics in Egypt—the banning of the face cover—known as the ‘Niqab,’ returned back to the scene after some MPs declared drafting a bill to ban females from wearing it and entering public places.

Calls for banning the ‘Niqab’ are not new in Egypt society, as they began with debates over its validity in Islam, and for the necessity of others to know the identity of those who are wearing the face cover. Currently, the ‘Niqab’ became a threat to peoples’ security, especially since many crimes were carried out by face-covered criminals. In addition, security forces arrested terrorists hiding under face covers during the past years.

Presently, large groups in the country believe that banning the ‘Niqab’ is a must to maintain the country’s security and fight terrorism.

MP Ghada Al-Agamy said that the bill came to ban the wearing of the face cover in public places and government institution, and whoever will oppose the ban will pay a fine not less than EGP 1,000 which could be increased if repeated.

“The security conditions experienced by Egypt made the ‘Niqab’ ban an urgent demand, especially after it became clear that terrorists use it to hide from security forces,” Al- Agamy justified, noting that that the negative aspects of the face cover have become countless.

“Egyptian national security is in danger, and the ‘Niqab’ is being used in operations that affect Egypt’s security. Therefore, the prohibition of wearing it in public places has become a worthy demand in accordance with the constitution and the law which consider the security of the homeland and the citizen an important goal that must be met,” the member added.

The bill determined that the public places where the ‘Niqab’ will be banned will include hospitals, health centres, schools, cinemas, theatres, public libraries, museums, places affiliated with the state and those not, as well as in public transportation, airports, playgrounds, lecture halls, nurseries, public and private, and any other place categorised by government as a public area.

Al-Agmy said that the bill is supported by other 60 members, and will be presented to the committee of constitutional and legislative affairs for discussion, adding that the law was delayed for a long time and it has to be enforced.

The move came as state judiciary authority issued a recommendation to approve the banning of staff members in all faculties of Cairo University from wearing the ‘Niqab’. In 2016, Cairo University had already banned staff members from wearing it, which stirred a huge controversy at the time, while the university justified the decision by saying that the ‘Niqab’ hinders direct communication with students.

In mid-December, the American University in Cairo declared a decision to ban female students, faculty members, and workers from wearing the ‘Niqab’ inside the university, justifying that the move was for security reasons. Later it was overturned after the university administration met with some of those who are affected by the decision and discussed the issue with them.

Females wearing face cover believe that it is demanded by the Islamic religion, however, disputes over its validity continue among religious scholars.  Article 64 of the Egyptian constitution states that freedom of belief is absolute. The freedom of practising religious rituals and establishing places of worship for the followers of the Abrahamic religions is a right regulated by law.

The wearing of the veil has recently increased in Egypt, especially with the rise of political Islam and Salafist waves. The concepts of the ‘Niqab’ will remain debatable, as there is division over the ‘Niqab’, where some believe it is a form of social freedom, as everyone has the right to wear anything if they are not harming other people, but at the same time, there should be more security procedures to recognise the identity of the face-covered females to ensure security. Meanwhile, other people feel afraid or are uncomfortable in the presence of face-covered individuals, whose faces they cannot see.

Due to security threats, face-covered females were already banned from entering hotels and resultants, among other places, resulting in exposing them to several discriminatory practices.

MP Heba Hagras said that she supports the ‘Niqab’ ban given the exceptional circumstances experienced by the country, as banning the ‘Niqab’ will allow security forces to arrest terrorists and will prevent fraudulent criminals.

She also said that the ‘Niqab’ should not be allowed in schools as the student has the right to recognise their teachers and view their facial expressions during lessons.

“Whoever wants to wear a face cover, can do at home, and never come out with it to the streets,” said journalist Nashwa El-Houfy who expressed her support of the bill.

“The ‘Niqab’ is not part of religion, but rather an old Jewish custom”, El-Houfy said, adding that “the banning of face-cover is not a matter of personal freedom, but a violation of society’s freedom”.

Daily News Egypt conducted several interviews to understand various point of views, which varied between supporting the bill and completely rejecting it. Support for ‘Niqab’ ban came under two justifications including impacting the safety of a place, or personal freedom, while often the debate argued that the ‘Niqab’ was not demanded in Islam. Others say that this bill will add restrictions to the life of fully face-covered females and could be categorised as discrimination, which, in a way, is banning them from practising their social life freely like any other person.

I don’t agree

“Niqab is a personal freedom. It is a personal right, however, I am not a big fan for Niqab but I believe the fact that everyone is free to live the way they want as long as I want people to accept me I should accept them likewise, ”Aya Hilal, 25, dentist.

  

“No, I don’t support the bill, as I disagree with any governmental intervention in individuals’ lifestyle choices. It will open the door for more bans and interventions in everyone’s life,” Mohamed Ahmed, 28, journalist.

“No, I don’t agree with it. Because freedom of dress is part of freedom of expression and freedom of belief, and they are both guaranteed by the terms of law and the constitution. Also because banning Niqab is sort of policing what women should and should not wear and it controls them in ways that are unfathomable,” Toqaa Nabil, 25, journalist.

“It is a clear violation to personal freedom, Niqab is Sunnah and we are living in a Muslim country which follows Islamic Shariaa, so we should at least show respect to it, not ban,” Hend El-Behairy, 28, journalist.

I agree:

“I support it. I can’t deal with anyone who I am not allowed to see his or her face. Also for me, Niqab is a hide for negative practices,” Fatma El-Dairy, 38, governmental employee.

“After all this number of kidnap, killing fraud cases made by those face covered, I totally support it, My right is to see the face of the one standing in front of me as he can see me,” Nouran Attalah, 27, pianist.

“Speaking of term of freedoms, everyone is free to wear what he wants, and no is allowed to tell me what to wear, especially that it will be illogical to accept bikinis and revealing and reject covered clothes, but we cannot deny the fact that Niqab is a result of many crimes and is not demanded in Islam, so if the law is passed I will accept it,” Aya Zain El-Din, 27, accountant.

“I want Niqab to be banned and I accept also if Niqabis will be forced to take it off because we are in a time that identity of everyone should be clear to all. Also how I can deal with someone I can not see his face,” Nada Magdy, 30, housewife.

The post Discourse on banning Niqab reappeared on scene over counter-terrorism rhetoric  appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/06/discourse-on-banning-niqab-reappeared-on-scene-over-counter-terrorism-rhetoric/feed/ 0
Egypt handles potato shortage, absorbs public anger https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/30/egypt-handles-potato-shortage-absorbs-public-anger/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/30/egypt-handles-potato-shortage-absorbs-public-anger/#respond Tue, 30 Oct 2018 13:00:25 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=679598 Minister of Agriculture granted to potato traders respite of 45 days to release their products in the market

The post Egypt handles potato shortage, absorbs public anger appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
A scene repeated recently in Egypt, as dozens of people crowd around vegetable stands provided by the ministry of interior in several areas across the country to sell potatoes at reasonable prices after a severe shortage of the strategic crop that hit the local market.

Last week, the Egyptians were shocked with extraordinary hike in potato prices, jumping from EGP 5 to EGP 15 per kilo, to become one of the most expensive vegetable in the country. The interior ministry’s vegetables outlets sell potatoes for EGP 8 per kilo.

The price hike of potatoes followed a shocking shortage across the country. Potato traders were blamed for the crisis, after the government revealed that tonnes of potatoes were stored by the traders to sell them later at higher prices.

Meanwhile, the ministry of agriculture adopted strict measures to find reasons behind this shortage. The ministry carried out inspection campaigns nationwide, which resulted into discovering large amounts of potatoes stored in special refrigerators at several wholesale warehouses, head of the agriculture ministry’s central department of pest control Mamdouh El-Sebay said in a televised interview.

He revealed that traders buy potatoes from farmers for EGP 2 per kilo and sell them for more than EGP 10. “The ministry’s campaign found around 300 tonnes of potatoes at one of traders’ stores which he bought from a framer at EGP 2.5 per kilo,” El-Sebay said.

Deputy Head of the El-Obour Market Union Hatem Naguib said that wholesale prices declined by 30-40%, thanks to the supply and interior ministries, as well as civil society groups’ efforts. He added that traders should decrease their products’ profit margins to between 10 and 20%, to maintain affordable potatoes prices.

Potatoes, one of Egypt’s favoured vegetables

Seventeen governorates have planted potatoes in Egypt this season, therefore the coming potatoes supply in November will contribute to decreasing the prices, Naguib added.

Egypt normally plants potatoes in abundance and is known for its low prices compared to other vegetables. Egypt produces nearly 5m tonnes of potatoes annually, mostly for local consumption while only 850,000 tonnes are exported.

Potato is a highly consumed in the Egyptian household, due to its affordability.  Around 27.8% of Egypt’s population, which exceeds 100 million people, lives at or below the national poverty line, according to official figures.

Ezz El-Din Abo Stait, minister of agriculture, granted respite of a month and a half to potato traders to release their products in the market.

He said that it comes amid the ministry’s efforts to achieve food security for Egyptians, pointing out that this will lead to a breakthrough in the current crisis and reduce the potato prices in the local markets.

He also decided to form a committee in cooperation with the concerned authorities from the ministries of interior, supply, internal trade and local development to facilitate releasing potatoes that were stored in refrigerators, at the rate of 5% per day. The priority is given to official vegetable outlets that sell products at the common market price.

On social media networks, many complained of high prices, while others believed that the potatoes shortage resulted from the gap between the summer and winter agriculture seasons, hence it will not last for a long time.

Osama Khair El-Din, former president of the Union of Producers of Agricultural Crops, explained that potatoes are planted twice a year. The first crop is planted in winter and harvested in November, while the other is planted in May or June and stored in refrigerators for consumption in the summer until the end of October.

Traders offer different perspective to the crisis

Mohamed Hesham Kheidr, deputy head of the Farmers Syndicate and owner of a refrigerator, said that he is not selling potatoes but just storing them for EGP 330 per tonne during the summer, therefore the increase in electricity prices affected the prices of potatoes.

He pointed out that the electricity prices reached EGP 2 up from EGP 1.45 per kw, not to mention the sales and value-added taxes. He noted that refrigerators are mostly used now to store potatoes for food industry companies.

However, wholesalers have had another explanation for the causes of the problem. Naguib said that the apparent potatoes shortage caused by retailers’ tendency to purchase potatoes from refrigerators and farmers at higher prices than those supplied to the wholesale markets, such as the Obour and 6th of October.

Potato prices at retailers reached EGP 10 per kilo, while in the Obour and 6th of October markets, the potatoes price reached EGP 8-9 per kilo, therefore the traders supply lower quantities to wholesale markets.

The prices in the wholesale market are also affected by the high costs of transportation and food losses, bringing its price to EGP 10 per kilo, and sold for EGP 12 per kilo to final consumers.

During the last year, prices hike of potatoes took its toll on the farmers’ livelihood, as the price did not exceed EGP 900 per tonne, which affected the selling rate of their crops, Emad Abu Hussein, head of the Farmers Syndicate, said.

Egypt’s inflation jumped to 15.4% in September, an increase of more than 2% over the previous month, the highest level in the last eight months.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said there has been an increase in food and beverages prices in September, which is the largest component of the goods and services used to monitor inflation.

The food prices, which rose 4.8% month over month, were the main driver for the witnessed hike. In September report, vegetable prices increased by 17.2% on monthly bases, while fruit prices rose by 7.4%. 

The post Egypt handles potato shortage, absorbs public anger appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/30/egypt-handles-potato-shortage-absorbs-public-anger/feed/ 0
Stories denote impact of bullying experiences on self-confidence https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/02/stories-denote-impact-of-bullying-experiences-on-self-confidence/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/02/stories-denote-impact-of-bullying-experiences-on-self-confidence/#respond Tue, 02 Oct 2018 11:00:51 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=675730 They made me feel incomplete because I was not married like them , says source

The post Stories denote impact of bullying experiences on self-confidence appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
“My voice is not soft and calm like all other girls, but rather rough and strong. I was always judged for this characteristic by all my colleagues at school. Every time I would open my mouth and talk, I would see surprised expressions on their faces,” Mona Emad, 29, said while sharing her school bullying experience and how it affected her.

Emad narrated several situations of bullying for having a low-pitched ‘manly’ voice at different stages in her life, which led her to feel insecure about her voice for a number of years and think of undergoing surgery to improve it. She pointed out that the issue started at school, when her classmates used to single her out for having a different voice than other girls every time she talked.

“I used to hear phrases like, ‘why does your voice sound like this?’ and ‘you have a stronger voice than mine’ or ‘your voice is ugly,’ ‘you scared me’ ‘your voice is disturbing my ears’ or, ‘how you are going to flirt with your future husband with a voice like that?” Emad recalled.

The twenty-nine-year-old housewife is among hundreds of people who were exposed to bullying during childhood.

Bullying is experienced by young students on a daily basis, at both private and government schools. Dozens of people grew up believing that they suffer from major flaws because of the comments they heard at school from their teachers and classmates.

Children can be exposed to bullying for wearing glasses, having acne, or for skin colour, body weight or height, clothing, performance level at school, and manner of speech, or pronunciation. They could also be bullied for anything that seems ‘odd’ to others in their appearance or lifestyle.

Emad explained that there was a group of classmates who constantly made fun of her when she spoke. “Sometimes they used to ask me utter certain words so they can laugh. I cried constantly. I reported it to my teacher and she summoned their parents to discuss the issue.”

“I really would have accepted my voice when I was child if other people had done so. I complained many times to my parents to take me to a doctor to ‘fix’ my voice, but they always rejected the idea until I grew up and understood that I am normal, and people are different. Now as an adult, I still hear comments about my voice, but I no longer care,” Emad concluded. 

In September, Egypt launched the first national anti-bullying campaign under the supervision of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood (NCCM), and in partnership with the Ministry of Education, and with the cooperation of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), funded by the European Union (EU).

The month-long campaign is expected to end the first week of October, after raising awareness about the harmful impact of bullying, and providing solutions to counter the phenomenon.  The message is being distributed through posts on social media platforms, billboards, and televised advertisements.

The Head of NCCM Azza Al-Ashmawy said in previous comments to Daily News Egypt that the campaign seeks to help children, parents, and teachers to stand against all forms of bullying and violence faced by children in schools.

She added that during her discussions with children regarding the issue, they came up with several ideas, such as having a punishment room for bullies to remain in for a whole week, “in order to be labelled just as they label other children.”

A study by the EU disclosed that the highest level of violence facing children occurs at home, followed by school, with 29-47% of children aged between 13-17-years-old reporting that physical violence among peers was commonplace. The study came according to the latest global data published in 2011, indicating that slightly over 1 in 3 students aged between13-15 around the world experience bullying.

Mohamed Amr, deputy of minster of education told DNE in media statements during a conference, that the ministry has currently started a huge reform plan, and the campaign is a part of it, noting that teachers are a priority of the reform plan.

“We will provide teachers training sessions by foreign experts on advanced education systems, and correct ways of dealing with students. It will take time to see results, but we will continue. Before, people didn’t take it this seriously, but now we will work harder,” Amr said.

“Bullying is not the only issue facing the ministry’s agenda,” he concluded.

Teachers also practice violence against students in many cases of bullying. Mohamed Magdy, 32, an entrepreneur, said that his math teacher use to call him “stupid’.

“My teacher used to tell me that I will fail and will never succeed. He was actually the reason why I hated math throughout my primary stage, and was not confident enough to solve any equation,” Magdy also said.

“My father believed the teacher, and he never thought for a minute why I was underperforming in the subject as he always believed that the problem was that I am not studying enough,” added Magdy.

“Ironically, I graduated from the faculty of management, and I have my own business now,” he concluded.

Speaking to Abdel Hafez Tayel, the head of the Egyptian Centre for the Right to Education, on the reasons behind teachers bullying students, he told to DNE that teachers are not well appreciated in Egypt.

“First of all, bullying is a cultural issue. The teacher bullies as result of being pressured by the ministry, as they are working extra hours, while being less paid, and they are not granted fair rights,” Tayel explained.

“Teachers bullying students is a result of what they face from the ministry in the first place,” he urged, saying that when one is comfortable at his workplace, and is being well appreciated, he perform better.

When asked why teachers in private schools also bullying students, Tayel said that it is a transference phenomenon.

Bullying is not only at school

“People are always the ones who make you feel good or bad about your appearance or character. That is why I really believe that there is nothing called a flaw, we are the ones who make them by judging others,” said Sherine Tarek, who was always criticised for her curly hair during her schooldays.

“People around me made me feel bad about my hair. I used to hate my hair although it is a perfect specimen of curly hair. For my entire life I bought products to straighten my hair so I would satisfy people, without ever believing that I have really good hair,” she said

Tarek suffered from insecurity and a bad relationship with her hair due to peoples’ negative comments as it was common among Egyptians that any female who does not having straight hair is not pretty.

“There are several groups on social media giving hints and information for girls on how they could have curly hair, and I found out that there people spending hundreds of pounds just to have their hair like mine. This made me realise that I really have great hair, and looking beautiful has nothing to do with straight hair,” Tarek said.

Moreover, a thirty-year-old female accountant who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity, said that she is unmarried and satisfied, but people’s comments are really disturbing her.

She narrated that few years after graduation her friends all got married. Mostly they all had children. “Whenever we would meet, they would speak about topics that I could not relate to. I would feel I was excluded, and bored. When I would tell them to change the topic so I could join them, they would reply that my topics are trivial for them now, and that their topics are interesting now because they have more responsibilities than me,” she continued.

Also, her friends were always arranging dates for her despite her repeated rejections. “They made me feel incomplete because I was not married like them. I sincerely wished that they would believe that I am really happy and not pretending to be,” she concluded.

The post Stories denote impact of bullying experiences on self-confidence appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/10/02/stories-denote-impact-of-bullying-experiences-on-self-confidence/feed/ 0
Females facing weak awareness at work to deal with sexual harassment https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/18/females-facing-weak-awareness-at-work-to-deal-with-sexual-harassment/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/18/females-facing-weak-awareness-at-work-to-deal-with-sexual-harassment/#respond Tue, 18 Sep 2018 11:30:16 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=673799 Hashtags against sexual harassment at workplace went viral on social media during past weeks after recent cases reported by females with their colleagues

The post Females facing weak awareness at work to deal with sexual harassment appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Under inactivated law and awareness, sexual harassment became a ghost following females anywhere she heads or stays at, the phenomenon became expected anywhere and from anyone.

As a female, you can be harassed while sitting in a restaurant, you can be stopped by a harasser in the streets, whereby a harasser can come to offer to take you on a date, or follows you in streets, or be touched by him, while buying something or while being inside public transportation.

In all these previous situation females can still shout or resist, but it is not the same when harassment happens at the workplace.

Females in many cases of sexual harassment at the workplace choose to remain silent and not to report about harassment due fear of termination or to be accused of exaggeration or distorting the reputation of a workmate.

After some sexual harassment cases have surfaced on the scene during the past weeks, stirring controversy on social media platforms, feminist groups called on a strict dealing with harassment in workplace and adding a new article criminalising sexual harassment at the workplace and explaining how companies should deal with the issue.

During the past weeks, several hashtags on social media spoke against harassment at work following reports by a female journalist accusing her supervisor of harassing her.

As a result, more social media initiatives and awareness campaigns in Egypt were created aimed at condemning sexual violence against women, demanding that the rule of law gets to be applied, and encouraging women to speak up and create support networks.

Egypt’s Penal Code already include some articles that punish verbal and psychical harassment, but was long criticised by legal experts for not including a clear mechanism of implementation, resulting in having these articles not activated well.

The head of the New Woman Foundation (NWF) Mona Ezzat recommended that the new amendments should be added to the labour work stipulating that the one who is facing harassment charges at work should not be allowed continue his work until the end of investigations.

Majority of females interviewed have witnessed sexual harassment in government and private workplaces, more in factories, according to a report conducted by the NWF. The interviewed females reported facing specific looks at their bodies, and sexual suggestive comments.

The findings of the report showed that there is an urgent need to raise women’s awareness of legal protections, actions to be taken when subjected to sexual harassment, and noted that there is lack of programmes for gender equality, anti-violence, and intra-union discrimination. However, there were many reports speaking about the lack of awareness inside workplaces, whereby still few companies are dealing seriously with the issue.

In one of the recent campaigns made by HarassMap initiative a plane to create awareness at work in an organisation or institution on sexual harassment and how to deal with it.

Few years, the initiative already began ‘Safe corporates’ campaign that came to eradicate sexual harassment at work place through offering trainings, tools, and expert support to help businesses adopt, implement, and follow up on anti-sexual harassment policies.

Recently, HarassMap launched a specialised training programme conducted for Uber male and female drives, to raise their awareness on what behaviours are determined as sexual harassment and when they determine that they are facing harassment themselves. The initiative is further contacting companies to raise awareness on importance of fighting sexual harassment and how their legal department should deal with harassment cases.

I left because I can’t talk

A 26 year old dentist said: “I was working as a doctor assistant in dentistry clinic, my supervisor, who was 34, used to drag me by my hand every time he wants to assign me to do a task. At the beginning I used to justify that he has no bad intentions, but after speaking to my friends they all agreed that is a form of harassment she should not accept it, especially, that he was always touchy.”

“Also every time when he is nervous of work, after shouting at us, he comes to me and pat my shoulder,” she also said, noting that “his attitude was general with all females working at the clinic, there are some who accepted the attitude, but I never did, every time I find him touchy I pull myself back.”

When asked if she ever confronted him, she said that when he found that she is unsatisfied with his attitude, he started to limit himself with her.

The young dentist explained that she kept on questioning herself at the beginning if what is happening from her boss is normal or harassment.

“Later I left, I could not continue working in a place where I was not feeling comfortable,” she said.

Usually, woman take time at the beginning to determine whether what she is facing can be a violation towards her body or not, and in many cases speaking is not a good option for females at work.

I was young I can’t decide

“When I was at the secondary stage. In my summer vacation my parents contacted a family friend to make me start a training at his media company, that were shooting advertisement. At that time I was every young all my ambition was to work as a director, so working at such a place was a significant step to reach my dream,” said Enji Ahmed, a mass communication graduate.   

She continued that she was happy working there, the owner introduced her to the team including his assistant who was mainly following up with her over work since the owner was not available all the time.

The age difference between her and the assistant was 25 years, and he was engaged, she noted.

“Two weeks later, I started to work out of the office with the assistant and the rest of the crew at shooting locations, which sometimes was the reason I got back home late. Sometimes he offered to drive me home, and I used to agree only when his fiancée was always with us, so I will not be alone with him,” Ahmed said, adding that “afterwards, I started to realise inappropriate looking, phrases, but I was ignoring him, saying to myself that I might be misunderstanding him until he psychically harassed me.”

The 25 year said: “He touched me from the back while standing with a group of people, I took a long time to understand, I panicked and was afraid to tell anyone. I started to step away from him, even our colleagues realised my attitude with him, however, he did not stop his behaviour, but he continued it.”

When I tried once to speak to the owner, he was always breathing down my neck to make sure that I do not report him to my manager, so I left, she concluded.

The post Females facing weak awareness at work to deal with sexual harassment appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/09/18/females-facing-weak-awareness-at-work-to-deal-with-sexual-harassment/feed/ 0
Definition of sexual harassment continues to face uncertainty, awaits laws to be enforced https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/28/definition-of-sexual-harassment-continues-to-face-uncertainty-awaits-laws-to-be-enforced/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/28/definition-of-sexual-harassment-continues-to-face-uncertainty-awaits-laws-to-be-enforced/#respond Tue, 28 Aug 2018 11:00:02 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=670856 During past weeks many hashtags on social media spoke against harassment following Fifth Settlement incident

The post Definition of sexual harassment continues to face uncertainty, awaits laws to be enforced appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Though harassment has been a long-standing issue in the Egyptian community, over the past two years the topic was submerged by others. It has now resurfaced stirred by the recent “on the run scandal,” where a stranger approached a girl on the street and repeatedly asked her to go for a coffee together despite the fact that the girl repeatedly turned down his offer.

When the girl used her mobile phone camera to document the incident, she faced waves of criticism that put her in the position of the perpetrator and forced her to defend herself.

Social media users both females and males viewed the girl as an attention seeker for publishing the video especially, that she has published a second video for another harasser.

The video quickly became the top trending story in Egypt, with thousands of Egyptians debating whether the man’s actions amounted to sexual harassment. What is more to the story is that they claimed that she faced harassment solely for the way she was dressed; however, the videos did not show how she was dressed. Users kept on blaming her and circulating her personal photos and judging her.

The lawyer of the harasser Mahmoud Suleiman said that he intended to submit a lawsuit to the prosecutor general accusing the girl of defaming his client for publishing the video.

The case is somehow similar to the incident of TV presenter Reham Saeed in Egypt who has been jailed for ‘violating the privacy’ of a girl interviewed on her show to speak about the harassment she faced. Saeed wanted to prove that the girl deserved to be harassed for the way she was dressed.

The case, publicly known as the “shopping mall victim,” was reopened after the girl was subjected to a second assault by the same man after his release from jail on previous sexual harassment charges.

Women face verbal and physical harassment on a daily basis in Egypt, especially, on streets and in public transportation. A Thomson Reuters survey ranked Egypt “as the most dangerous megacity for women,” saying that the treatment of women in the Egyptian capital has worsened since the 2011 uprising seeking social change.

During the protests known as Cabinet Clashes in 2011, a young woman was dragged and beaten. Instead of pointing fingers against the perpetrator, the girl was blamed for going there in the first place. Salafist preachers took it upon themselves to place responsibility on the girl herself.

This was not the first-time tables were turned, but it was a prominent point to kick start a trend of victim blaming that has since continued, especially against harassment victims.

Assaults increase during public gatherings, such as on holidays or protests, where there have been numerous accounts of gang assaults. According to a study by the United Nations in 2013, 99.3% of Egyptian women and girls surveyed reported having been sexually harassed.

Harassment is not only in the streets; a Cairo University media professor was referred to an investigation over sexual harassment allegations last year after a voice recording for him harassing a female students went viral.

Definition of harassment in Egyptian law

In several foreign laws the definition of sexual harassment is an undesirable behaviour based on gender, race, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation or any other act protected by law.

Harassment is an intentional behaviour that violates the dignity, freedom, and privacy of the individual and creates a frightening, hostile or degrading environment for that individual.

The Egyptian law to combat harassment did not include all forms of harassment, and did not sort all type of harassment, it just limited it to punishment for any sexual or pornographic insinuations or gestures, whether verbally or physically, and this would also be applicable on means of telecommunications or mobile apps or online social platforms. The law further punishes harassing the harasser.

The penalties are new to the law, as prior to 2014, there were no direct articles punishing sexual harassment. The new amendments escalated the penalties for any form of verbal or nonverbal sexual harassment or abuse in public or private areas, to at least six months imprisonment and a fine of between EGP 3,000 and EGP 5,000.

The amendments were triggered by a mass sexual assault on 8 June during celebrations in Tahrir Square for President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s inauguration. A video uploaded on YouTube, showing a stripped woman being sexually assaulted by a group of men, went viral on social media, prompting the government’s response.

Harassment rates are increasing in Egypt, girls are gradually losing their safety in the streets. Harassers do not differ between veiled or unveiled or face-covered females.

The Harassmap initiative presents forms of sexual harassment faced by women in the streets which include intrusive leering of the body or eyes, facial expressions such as sneezing, winking, and mouth opening, comments on the body, tracking a person by car or waiting for her outside place of work, home or at his car, asking for sexual suggestive comments or inviting her to dinner or suggestions that are sexually explicit or implied.

Moreover, also insisting on walking with a person or delivering her by car or requesting a phone number despite her refusal, close proximity, showing intimate parts of the body, and threating of assault or rape.

Due to debates over the definition of harassment, a number of  legal experts called for specific definitions of sexual harassment to be added in the law and providing punishment for each type.

In a statement on Monday, Al-Azhar rejected the justification of a woman’s dress code as a reason of woman’s harassment, stressing that verbal and physical harassment is not religiously permissible and is inappropriate behaviour.

Al-Azhar called for the activation of laws, which criminalise harassment and punish it and also called upon concerned institutions to raise awareness of the types of harassment and their dangers, and to avoid their destructive effects on morality and modesty, especially, the harassment of children.

Mai Saleh, a feminist working at the New Women non-governmental organisation, told Daily News Egypt, that the feminist organisation is currently drafting a bill to amend harassment penalties to include all its forms.

Commenting on the video to capture harassment, she said that prosecution always disregards complaints of harassment due to lack of proof. Videos and photos do not expose victims, but to give them the right to prove their claim.

“We look forward to the suggestion of adding visual proofs in legislature to defend the rights of harassment victims,” she said.

Official reports claimed in the past two years that harassment rates have decreased during feast occasions, which previously used to face high harassment rates, however, many females are still complaining of harassment on social media platforms.

Saleh explained that these reports are not necessarily incorrect, as she believes that security presence has to be stronger during in streets during feasts to deter harassers from harassing women.

Nagla Al-Adly, director of complaints office at the National Council for Women, said that police observed 15 cases of harassment during Eid Al-Adha, which marks an increase from the previous Eid.

Compared to harassment rates in recent years, in 2016 a number of 174 sexual harassment cases had been filed in the Cairo and Giza governorates during Eid Al-Adha and during the 2015 Eid Al-Adha, the “I Saw Harassment” initiative reported 447 verbal and physical sexual harassment incidents. It also accused security personnel of sexually harassing females during the Eid celebrations.

Earlier this week, a video capturing the moment tens of men sexually harassed three Egyptian women in one of the country’s streets went viral on social media. Also, a husband who was defending his ‘harassed’ wife on an Alexandria beach was killed on Friday, by a frequent harasser.

In past weeks, several hashtags on social media spoke against harassment following the Fifth Settlement incident. Notably, there have been previous social media initiatives and awareness campaigns in Egypt that aimed at condemning sexual violence against women, demanding that the rule of law be applied, and encouraging women to speak up and create support networks.

The post Definition of sexual harassment continues to face uncertainty, awaits laws to be enforced appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/28/definition-of-sexual-harassment-continues-to-face-uncertainty-awaits-laws-to-be-enforced/feed/ 0
Thanaweya Amma traditional system to end within two years https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/14/thanaweya-amma-traditional-system-to-end-within-two-years/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/14/thanaweya-amma-traditional-system-to-end-within-two-years/#respond Tue, 14 Aug 2018 12:00:02 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=669687 New secondary educational system to be applied as trial on 1st level to examine its success

The post Thanaweya Amma traditional system to end within two years appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Egypt’s long-applied Thanaweya Amma system is to be changed within the upcoming years, after being replaced by the new system adopted by the government, which is expected to improve the condition of secondary education for the first time in the history of the country.

Minister of Education Tarek Shawky

Last month, during the sixth National Youth Conference, Minister of Education Tarek Shawky announced the programme of the new secondary education system that will replace the traditional Thanaweya Amma system in the academic year 2018/19 through cancelling the scoring system of calculating total grades and switching to a grade point average (GPA).

The GPA system will evaluate students based on performance of coursework and electronically graded multiple-choice exams, while the current system evaluates only students’ answers on final examinations.

The upcoming Thanaweya Amma system will grade students based on the three years of study in that educational stage, instead of the final year in the current system. The new secondary system is mainly based on technology through submitting tablet devices to students and teachers.

The ministry believes that the new system will eliminate the phenomenon of cheating and private tutoring, and it will increase learning and creativity skills in students.

Mohamed Omar, deputy minister of education for teachers’ affairs, revealed that the ministry’s plan to deal with the phenomenon of private lessons is through imposing tough sanctions on those who give private lessons and that no educational teacher will be allowed to engage in this activity without prior authorisation from the state.

Training of teachers will start in September to qualify them to be eligible with the new system, which will be applied on students of the first secondary stage. The new system will end the traditional Thanaweya Amma system by 2020/21, and it will limit private lessons and difficult, indirect exams. Thanaweya Amma exams usually include questions not suitable for the learning levels of students.

The development plan will require students to use tablets in learning and acquiring information through the new national educational platform Knowledge Bank and other sources. A large number of schools have been equipped to use technology, and the rest of the schools will be completed by the start of the new school year.

Egypt’s Knowledge Bank will play an important role in the new system of secondary education, and its role will be inside and outside the school. The ministry is working on adding new content to the bank to serve students in their studies.

Among the most prominent content added to the Knowledge Bank are educational programmes for all ages in the educational ladder, as well as interactive programmes for mathematics from the first to the third secondary grades, in addition to three-dimensional films in science and mathematics.

The platform is expected to help students to rely on other sources for learning rather than relying on school books only, as it will provide other educational sources and references that students can look for in cases of research or understanding.

Shawky developed other several innovative initiatives, including an online digital portal that includes educational, research, and cultural resources for a wide array of users, and Teacher First, a training programme for teachers on using ICT techniques in education, which are now available for Egyptian teachers.

However, while the system will witness major changes, there will be no change to the format of university admission.

Thanaweya Amma is Egypt’s secondary school certificate, which is a prerequisite to apply for any universities or higher education institutions.

Since students will be using tablets, the ministry is currently working on the processing of the technological infrastructure within schools to include the development of an internal server for each school, including the digital content of the curriculum. Internet will be the basis of the system, as the questions and curriculum will all be available through it.

The Ministry of Education said previously that the development plan is only limited to changing the evaluation system, noting that it is only seeking to develop the evaluation to measure the skills of understanding and creativity rather than conservation and indoctrination.

The ministry aims to qualify students to enter university in ways that meet the needs of the labour market and the process of industrial revolution.

Under the new system, the student will perform twelve exams during the three years of the secondary level, where the current national exam, which takes place in the secondary school every year, will be cancelled.

The exams will witness substantial changes in form and content to encourage student thinking skills. They will initially be based on multiple-choice systems, short- and long-term answers, projects, and verbal fluency.

The results of the exams will be compiled during the three years through average cumulative grade point system (GPA), which will determine the student graduation and total grades.

The responsibility for implementing this new system will be shared by Parliament, the Ministry of Education, and the Ministry of Communications. The minister of education has previously presented to Parliament executive plans for the implementation of the new secondary school system, which were approved.

Parents spend large amounts of money on private tutoring, as well as school tuition fees. Students depend on private tutoring more than school classes during the Thanaweya Amma stage to learn the subjects they will be tested on. The majority of those studying in governmental schools do not attend their classes. Private tutoring could lead a family to pay over EGP 20,000 in a single year.

The exam seasons of the past two years saw the leaking of exam papers by online pages, which resulted in the arrest of several Ministry of Education officials. Education experts have always criticised the secondary system for including syllabuses that add no long-term benefits to the system.

For years, Thanaweya Amma has been a nightmare for Egyptian students, stirring among them fears and doubts of not reaching their goals—as in many cases, the final total of their grades was the main reason that hindered some students from entering the faculty of their dreams. The system in Egypt is very complicated, as students are required to study a number of subjects, and the grades of each subject are combined to come up with the total that determines which faculty he or she can apply for.

The post Thanaweya Amma traditional system to end within two years appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/14/thanaweya-amma-traditional-system-to-end-within-two-years/feed/ 0
Egypt strikes against population growth to save economic progress https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/07/egypt-strikes-against-population-growth-to-save-economic-progress/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/07/egypt-strikes-against-population-growth-to-save-economic-progress/#respond Tue, 07 Aug 2018 12:00:02 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=668881 Al-Sisi previously marked issue as one challenge threatening country’s development

The post Egypt strikes against population growth to save economic progress appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Population growth became one of the major challenges threatening the economy and the capability of the state to offer all citizens equal rights, causing the government to renew its long-years of calls to birth control.

In late 2017, the state has started a new family planning campaign titled ‘life saver’ to assist people to become committed to birth control. The campaign which is sponsored by the Ministry of Health to reduce the population from 128 million in 2030 to 112 million, thus helping the state achieve development, which contributes to improving the lives of citizens.

Rural areas are the target of the campaign, as many residents of these areas believe that large families are an economic source of strength.

Egypt has already sponsored many social protection services for pensioners and under-privileged citizens, which led the state to huge sums and the growth which impacted these funds.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi called on young couples, to have a gap of 3 to 4 years between every child, and that one or two children is enough, during the session called “Ask the president”, Al-Sisi said of the 6th National Youth Conference in Cairo University in late July. It was not his first call as in May 2017 he remarked that population growth was one of the challenges threatening Egypt’s development.

During 2017, the state repeatedly called on citizens to engage in birth control to help the government to complete its economic developments goal.

Several of the programmes that were created to control birth rate increase became ineffective after the end of Mubarak’s 30 years-era. Many of the countries that used to donate contraceptives stopped granting them to the Egyptian state. Years ago, these contraceptives were sponsored by the state. Currently rtheir prices are expensive and not affordable to all segments.

However, last month, the House of Representatives approved presidential decree No 174 of 2018 approving the grant agreement with United States of America on improving the health outcomes of the certain groups including women.

Al-Sisi asserted that the state is making great efforts in the file of population growth and that Egypt needs a long time to feel an outcome, as the issue emerged in the eras of former presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak.

Governmental officials also have confirmed in several press statement that population growth is the main challenge facing the country, which must be combated as the country has reached an unprecedented increase that would affect what has been accomplished in terms of economic growth.

The issue of population growth is severely related to reducing the ability of the Egyptian state to deliver the most basic of public services, including quality education, healthcare, and housing.

The Egyptian population reached 104.2 million; 94.98 million of which live within Egypt, while 9.4 million live abroad, said Abu Bakr El-Gendy, head of Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics  (CAPMAS) in October 2017.

The CAPMAS said the population of Egypt rose from 59.2 million in 1996 to 72.6 million in 2006 and to 94.8 million in 2017, which implies an average annual growth rate of 2.04% during the period 1996 to 2006 and to 2.56% during the period 2006 to 2017.

Regarding the distribution of citizens in governorates, the population of Cairo is the highest, accounting for 10.1% of the total population, followed by Giza (9.1%). The governorates of Daqahleya and Sharqiya also have large populations. Meanwhile, the lowest populations are in border governorates and in Port Said and in Suez.

Egypt suffers from a 12% unemployment rate, according to a CAPMAS report in 2016. About 18.4 million are illiterate, which equals a quarter the population, and out of that figure, 10.6 million are females.

Movements in parliament

Last week, controversy stirred among parliament members (MPs) over a bill calling to cut subsidies for families’ third child as a way to regulate population growth, as some commented on it as unconstitutional, while others welcomed it.

In January 2018, the bill, which included 13 articles, was drafted by Mohamed Masoud called on the state to develop and implement a residential programme aimed at balancing population growth rates by not giving benefits for a third child.

Controversy over the law returned following the president’s statements to enforce a bill to combat the increasing population growth rate.

Member Hala Abu El-Saad, said that the draft law is illegal, as Article 53 of the Egyptian constitution requires equality of rights among citizens, while MP Ahmed Rafaat said that the bill is constitutional, will achieve equality, and will not be applied retroactively.

Deputy of the parliamentary committee of defence Yehia El-Kedwany, said the efforts of the state to determine the birth rate declined significantly in the wake of 2011, which resulted in the aggravation of the problem and becoming a crisis threatening national security.

In this regard, he requested the ministry of health, to provide contraceptives free of charge for citizens, noting since the neediest and low-income citizen cannot afford to purchase them and therefore do not use them.

Moreover, head of the parliamentary committee of social solidary Abdel Hady El-Kassaby said that it is important to reduce the population growth, and previous governments failed to address the population issue, which put pressure on economic resources and the distribution of service shares to citizens.

“We’ve got 105 million citizens, and there is poor distribution of the population, and every day we have 5,760 children, which means we have increased by 2,000,063 thousand citizens, an increase that represents a census state, so the share of each citizen gradually at least in all services in water, food, and hospitals,” he also said.

The parliament previously recommended increase in the amount allocated by the government to family planning programmes from EGP 2bn to EGP 4bn to meet the population increase.

Al-Azhar supports birth control

Professor of Comparative Jurisprudence and Islamic Law at Al-Azhar University said in a statement to

everything that benefits the public for all is a preservative to Sharia and religion, especially that the current period requires organising awareness conferences in all governorates on family planning.

He warned from the risks of early marriage, taking care of children and that the offspring does not exceed the two children to save preservation of society from the population “explosion.”

State subsidies

Among social protection and support projects that have been executed during recent years, Takaful and Karama came as the top of services benefiting the most vulnerable groups in the villages of Upper Egypt and in some areas adjacent to the governorates of Cairo and Giza.

The project has succeeded in providing coverage for a large number of the most vulnerable groups across the country and improving the deteriorating conditions of families with no income.

The Takaful and Karama projects are divided into two parts: the first aims at providing cash support to poor families who have children studying at different education levels, to ensure that they will continue their education process.

Families who have students in primary level education receive EGP 60 for each child per month, while parents with children in the preparatory stage receive EGP 80, and EGP 100 is given for each student in the secondary stage. These cash payments are provided to families so long as their children have a school attendance rating of at least 80%.

The programme provides medical support to families with pre-school children, who are less than six years old, and to pregnant mothers. The medical support requires that families implement all of the steps stipulated in healthcare programmes by the Ministry of Health. The maximum number of beneficiaries of this programme are three children per household.

Also, Egypt provides baby formula, which cost the government EGP 46, and sells it out for EGP 5, a price that is less than 10% of the actual cost.

The post Egypt strikes against population growth to save economic progress appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/08/07/egypt-strikes-against-population-growth-to-save-economic-progress/feed/ 0
State strikes social media rumours via harsh legislation https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/24/state-strikes-social-media-rumours-via-harsh-legislation/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/24/state-strikes-social-media-rumours-via-harsh-legislation/#respond Tue, 24 Jul 2018 12:30:47 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=667173 The Egyptian state has been long pointing on several occasions that social media platforms are the main reason of spread of rumours and negative energy among citizens in the country, suggesting the creation of legislation to criminalise or fine any users who posts or publishes something that could be seen as a threat to the …

The post State strikes social media rumours via harsh legislation appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
The Egyptian state has been long pointing on several occasions that social media platforms are the main reason of spread of rumours and negative energy among citizens in the country, suggesting the creation of legislation to criminalise or fine any users who posts or publishes something that could be seen as a threat to the country or interests of the citizens.

During the past years, particularly following revolution of 25 January, social media networks have been the platform where people can express their opinions on several political and economic topics, especially in the case that no more opponents are welcomed on most of media outlets, due to restrictions on the press.

Mainly, Facebook and Twitter were also widely used to expose security forces’ alleged violence against protesters, speak about health and education negligence, conditions of detainees, and stories of injustices. At the same time, a state of confusion appeared on social media, as many have used this freedom in a way that caused the publishing of misleading information.

With the growing influence of social media, which people are increasingly relying on for information, the government has started to pay attention to what is being posted on those platforms. The power of social media has contributed in changing many situations in the country, bringing violators to justice, helping citizens to voice their concerns, publishing achievements, and marketing many products and projects as well.

A huge wave of criticism appeared on social media platforms due to price hikes of fuel, electricity, and transport that came as part of recent economic reforms sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which have caused many Egyptians to suffer economic hardship. This wave was annoying to the state, as it was believed that this will lessen people’s support for the state’s economic reform project and their patience to be present until its accomplishment.

Egypt has encountered 21,000 rumours in only three months, aimed at creating confusion and instability, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said in a televised speech during a military graduation ceremony that marked the commemoration of the 23 July revolution of 1952, adding that the real threat the country is facing is being undermined from within: “the pressure, the rumours, the terrorist acts, hopelessness, and discontentment,” Al-Sisi added.

Following the statements of the president, parliament members have repeated their calls for legislation that would be dedicated only for putting limits for rumours on social media.

A member of Parliament’s communications and information technology committee said that “Facebook has directly contributed to fuelling conflicts in the Middle East and dissemination of data and information that is not accurate at all; therefore the parliament intends, during the next legislative term, to issue a number of legislations to reduce the chaos of rumours spread over social networking sites.”

He explained that these laws will not affect the freedom of the press and will not be, as some claim, used to silence people.

The parliament has already passed a controversial law allowing the state to supervise users of social networking sites. Article 19 of the newly approved press and media law stipulates the Supreme Media Council to stop or block any personal website, blog, or social media account that has a high number of followers—exceeding 5,000—in case it commits a specific offence that will be seen publishing false news or advocating or inciting a violation for law or violence or hate. This article will deal with these accounts or blogs as a media outlet, which is viewed as an attack on personal freedom of opinion and expression, which violates the Constitution.

Previously, a number of members of the Press Syndicate council declared their rejection and condemnation regarding Article 19 of the draft law as “catastrophic” as it grants the Supreme Media Council a duty that is among its roles and comes in violation with Article 77 of the Constitution.

Head of media and culture committee Osama Heikal said that it was important to make a regulation for press and media law through social networking sites, which are followed by many, pointing out that freedom of opinion and expression will not be affected, but the punishment will be on spreading rumours.

He pointed out that citizens currently rely heavily on media to obtain information, saying that about 70% of the community do not read newspapers, do not watch television, but rely on electronic media and social networking sites that contribute to the spread of rumours.

Regarding the press, he continued that the sanctions that will be signed on the promoters of rumours, or news that do not rely on sources, or blocking for the sites issued from abroad, saying that “if inside Egypt I can get him, but outside Egypt will be blocked to preservation of society.”

He added that the law will be updated to keep abreast of the technological development that will dominate the media.

Head of committee of communication Nadal Saeed said that the parliament also will amend Article 188 of the Penal Code, concerning the publication and promotion of false news, during the upcoming legislative term.

The penalty for publishing false news includes imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year and a fine of not less than EGP 5,000 and not more than EGP 20,000, However, none of these penalties are suitable for the chaos of rumours that have spread recently by the electronic platforms, Saeed said.

He also added that “there are more than 2 million fake accounts on Facebook, which is very dangerous, and thus we seek to create new controls for users in favour of protecting the information of citizens and their personal lives, which still does not mean the closure of these sites.”

Saeed noted that the committee receives a large number of complaints every month, which could be about 700 monthly complaints, including accusing users of slander, libel, and publication of false news and information.

In a similar context, Ahmed Zadian, secretary of the communications and information technology committee, called on the government to quickly complete the executive regulation cybercrime law in order to begin implementing the penalties contained in this law.

In June, the Egyptian Parliament approved a draft law submitted by the government against crimes of information technology, known as the cybercrime law, which marks the first of its kind in Egypt in the field of combating cybercrime.

The law provides for penalties of up to EGP 5m for internet users and companies serving in violation of the provisions of this law. It further penalises those involved in disseminating information about movements of the army or police or promoting the ideas of terrorist organisations to prison, and imposing fines of tens of thousands of pounds on those found to be involved in the theft and penetration of others’ e-mail.

Several parliamentarians expressed their agreement with the law, believing that the law is extremely important to fight any personal life infringements and protecting the country’s security.

Last May, the government blocked nearly 20 websites, as officials claimed they were fuelling terrorism. They included news websites which the government has considered hostile to Egypt, such as Al-Jazeera and other Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated websites. The Egyptian Ministry of Interior is one body that is actively monitoring social media pages and has announced over the years the shutdown of hundreds of pages reportedly inciting violence.

In the following months, the campaign extended to more websites, among which were many local news websites, specialised online platforms (on arts, women, sports, etc.), and foreign websites as well. The critical content of some websites had already been the subject of denunciation by the government and pro-state media campaigns, which established that those websites were working on an agenda against the country and its people.

According to data from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, there are nearly 33 million internet users in Egypt as of 2017, a 41% internet penetration.

The post State strikes social media rumours via harsh legislation appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/24/state-strikes-social-media-rumours-via-harsh-legislation/feed/ 0
Despite ongoing critics, press, media law officially passed https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/17/despite-ongoing-critics-press-media-law-officially-passed/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/17/despite-ongoing-critics-press-media-law-officially-passed/#respond Tue, 17 Jul 2018 11:30:25 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=666412 State of division appeared between members of council of Press Syndicate regarding amendments approved by parliament

The post Despite ongoing critics, press, media law officially passed appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Egypt’s Parliament approved the press and media law that will regulate the work of three bodies supervising the profession, during a plenary session on Monday.

The law is officially approved after one day of being amended by the parliament. The amendment came in response to remarks made by the Press Syndicate and State Council.

Despite that there were 28 articles amended, members of the Press Syndicate are not fully satisfied with them, vowing to organise a general assembly to discuss the issue.

Also, a state of division appeared between members of the council of the Press Syndicate, regarding the amendments approved by the parliament over the press and media law. Half of the members of the Press Syndicate rejected the amendments and called for a general assembly to discuss the issue, while the head of the Press Syndicate, Abdel Mohsen Salama, and the National Press Authority praised the amendments and thanked the parliament for considering their remarks.

Following the approval of the demands, disputes took place between members of the council, as some believed that it is unsatisfactory and others saw it sufficient and consistent with the demands.

The Press Syndicate said in a statement that the parliament ignored, during Sunday’s session, most of the comments made by the syndicate, regarding some articles of the law and also ignored the remarks of Egypt’s highest judicial apparatus, the State Council, which pointed out that there are several constitutional defects in a number of the articles.

The syndicate added that the parliament did not make any changes in the articles on restricting the freedom of the press and came inconsistent with the constitution and threatened the independence of the national press institutions.

While Salama thanked on Sunday President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi for supporting press freedom, saying that this support has helped to resolve a dispute between the parliament and the syndicate on newly approved laws regulating the press and the media. He also expressed appreciation for the parliament and Speaker Ali Abdul Aal, as well as the parliament’s culture and media committee, for responding to most of the notes and suggestions presented by the syndicate about controversial articles in the new law.

The press and media law, which includes regulation for the National Press Authority, National Media Authority, and Supreme Media Council, were preliminarily approved earlier in June. Since then, controversy has stirred among journalists over the validity of articles of the law.

The syndicate’s council said the parliament did not change formulation of the article that stipulates granting the Supreme Media Council the right to “cancel, consolidate, and confiscate press institutions,” which opens the door to the privatisation of national institutions and dismissal of hundreds of workers.

It also added that the article related to the retirement of journalists, which stipulates that age will be decided by the Supreme Media Council, which experts believed will open the door of favouritism and wasting real competencies in press institutions.

The syndicate said the amendments are not satisfactory, as articles that give powers to the Supreme Media Council, such as 4, 5, and 19, are still not amended, as they will allow it to prevent the circulation and withdrawal of licenses and blocking public and personal sites, which undermines the essence of the profession and its independence.

As for Article 12, it has been amended to allow permits only in places where photography is prohibited, after it stipulated that journalists should get a permission from the Supreme Media Council before attending conferences and public meetings, conduct interviews with citizens, and take photographs in public areas, where photography is not prohibited.

The syndicate commented on this by saying that this article left the identification of places to an unknown entity, which restricts the task of the journalist, making it impossible to practice the profession freely.

Article 29, which was believed to return per-trial detention against journalists, is amended to be consistent with constitutional Article 71, which stipulates that no sanctions may be imposed against freedoms. However, the syndicate said that the article still will lead to possible interpretation of the investigative bodies.

Members of the Press Syndicate council called for the enforcement of its law and to respond, during a meeting on Tuesday 17 July in an attempt to answer requests of hundreds of colleagues for an extraordinary general assembly to declare a clear position on the press law.

The signatory members are Gamal Abdel Rahim, Mohamed Kharaja, Hussein Al-Zanati, Mahmoud Kamel, and Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafeez.

These members stressed that they have tried over the past month to communicate with the parliament to reach amendments to the texts of articles that clash with the constitution and the public interest, adding that the amendments presented were disappointing, therefore it led them to opt for a general assembly for clarification.

They further demanded the press community to pay attention to what is being waged against the profession, especially after the issuance of statements from its associates welcoming what happened.

Previously, the Press Syndicate was the first to announce its remarks against the law, pointing out several articles that they believe do not align with the constitution, which guarantees the freedom of expression, and that they were invited to attend the discussion of the law. Later, the State Council released a report noting the unconstitutionality of some articles.

On Thursday, two deputies of the Press Syndicate, Ibrahim Abu Kela and Khaled El-Meery, met with the head of the parliamentary media and culture committee, Osama Heikal, to discuss the remarks of the syndicate over the law and how it could be amended. Heikal said in press statements that there was a complete consensus between the parliament and the syndicate over most of the comments.

The post Despite ongoing critics, press, media law officially passed appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/17/despite-ongoing-critics-press-media-law-officially-passed/feed/ 0
Parliamentarians reject law, hashtag created to criticise ‘selling Egyptian nationality’ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/17/parliamentarians-reject-law-hashtag-created-to-criticise-selling-egyptian-nationality/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/17/parliamentarians-reject-law-hashtag-created-to-criticise-selling-egyptian-nationality/#respond Tue, 17 Jul 2018 11:00:34 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=666409 Mohamed Badrawy, a member of the parliament’s economic committee, explained that the bill to hand Egyptian nationality to foreigners is divided in terms of residence to four categories: foreigners with special residence, regular, temporary, and deposited residence, which is the newest part added to the law. According to the new amendment officially approved, it determines …

The post Parliamentarians reject law, hashtag created to criticise ‘selling Egyptian nationality’ appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Mohamed Badrawy, a member of the parliament’s economic committee, explained that the bill to hand Egyptian nationality to foreigners is divided in terms of residence to four categories: foreigners with special residence, regular, temporary, and deposited residence, which is the newest part added to the law.

According to the new amendment officially approved, it determines the licensees of residence and duration, the value of the deposit and the type of currency, organises the procedure of depositing and refunding, and the banks, where it is deposited, after approval of the minister of interior and the cabinet.

The minister of interior may grant Egyptian nationality to every foreigner who has lived in Egypt for a period of at least five consecutive years, after submitting the application for receiving the nationality, in accordance with the regulations stipulated by law.

Reaction to the amendment varied, as some welcomed it for boosting the Egyptian economy, while others believed that this would threaten the national security. In this regard, Badrawy added that the draft law is an insult to national dignity, as well as a threat to Egyptian national security, while countries suffer from the negative effects of migrants.

He pointed out that the justification of the state at the time for the proposed law was a crisis in hard currency, which now exceeds $40bn; however, the bill allows foreigners to deposit the value in Egyptian pounds.

Haitham El-Harari, a member of the critical parliamentary bloc 25-30, said that he rejected the bill, as he believes that it is against national security and made the Egyptian nationality a commodity sold and bought in exchange for money. He also said that the parliament did not give him the full opportunity to express his opinion, during the discussion session.

Also, other members in the bloc have expressed rejection of the law, and a hashtag called “No for selling Egyptian nationality” emerged on social media platforms. The phrase “It is a shame to sell the Egyptian citizenship” was common among posts and tweets of Egyptians on social media.

On Sunday, the Egyptian Parliament Speaker Ali Abdul Aal said, “the Egyptian citizenship is dear—not sold or bought—but the whole world believes in the principle of a long and stable residence for those who do not commit any act that would endanger the security of the state or jeopardise its public order.”

Additional reporting by Abdel Razek Al-Shuweiki

The post Parliamentarians reject law, hashtag created to criticise ‘selling Egyptian nationality’ appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/17/parliamentarians-reject-law-hashtag-created-to-criticise-selling-egyptian-nationality/feed/ 0
Tablets Vs. Toys: Technology threatens childhood as we know it ? https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/03/tablets-vs-toys-technology-threatens-childhood-as-we-know-it/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/03/tablets-vs-toys-technology-threatens-childhood-as-we-know-it/#respond Tue, 03 Jul 2018 10:00:16 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=664811 Toys R Us closure raises questions over future of toys sales

The post Tablets Vs. Toys: Technology threatens childhood as we know it ? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
“I guess everyone has grown up, there is no more Toy R Us kids”, this was a sentence told by Toys R Us worldwide toys store who shut down its stores this month, marking an end of era.

Although the closure of worldwide production and retailer “Toys R Us” came as surprising for many adults who have long enjoyed toys of the store in their childhood, but others have expected that action due to prices hikes and growth of online games.

Toys R Us closure raised many questions on the future of toys store that are facing a big threat, as people are gradually becoming unable to afford expensive games, replacing it with smart phones and kids tablets.

‘Toys R Us’ a brand that dates to 1957, closed its door on Friday after seventy years of being source of happiness for thousands of children around the world through providing different type of toys, clothing and video games. A number of 735 stores across the United States this week. The retailer has filed bankrupt in September 2017 with $4.9 billion in debt. Before closing they have began long season of sales to sell all goods in its stores.

Following its closure, a wave of anger and nostalgia expressed  by many adults who were raised on the toys of the store, while others have seen the action as expected due to its unfordable prices.

It’s true that “Toys R Us” were one of the very expensive toys store around the world, targeting upper classes. A photo have been circulating showing Geoffrey the Giraffe  standing in an empty aisle with a suitcase in his  hand preparing to leave for a “very long vacation.” The photo have received over 25,000 likes.

Some international media reports have published that the reason beyond the closure was the competition among amazon, target and others.

In general, toys prices have been gradually increasing over the world, led many parents to teach their children to use smart phones and tablets as more cheaper and more flexible. On Internet, children can find more variety of free games in which made digital toys and internet-connected devices for children, such as Smarty, are a rapidly growing.

In Egypt, majority of parents use tablets to stop their children nagging, and offer their children for entertainment without need to buy expensive games every period. These tablets are designed specifically for children to allow them try lot of games which mostly are attractive to their eyes of children and allows parents to control the children.

Despite there have been applications that allows parent to control their children use for tablets, Many psychologist have expressed that that  some digital worlds would be too controlling and don’t encourage a child to use his imagination.

The volume of toys trade in Egypt is estimated at 20 million pounds annually, 90% of these games are imported from China, according to the statistics of the competition protection system.

In some cases, some families have resorted to buy used games or games sold in streets which is more cheaper than ones present in big shops to avoid harms of online games.

Daily News Egypt visited “top toys’ one of leading toys store in Egypt, the store located in Dokki district were not crowded with children or families, bit over loaded with games in each of its side.

The prices of toys were very expensive, especially those related to IQ, in which really raised question on who would ever be able to get toy for each child with EGP 300.

Zahraa Abu El-Khair, a mother of eight months baby girl, said “toys store in Egypt are divided into two forms, one for the very rich and other for middle classes who apparently disappeared following new economic reform”.

She continued: “currently, it is hard to find a game that worth EGP 100 all are really expensive  to get for my kid games a squeeze toy, the cheetahs one I can get worth EGP 650, sometimes I can find one toy worth EGP 1000.”

When asked how are you going to save your daughter from online games, she said: “ Since both, leading and normal shops are expensive. I can create games for my daughter at home. I wont buy toys and I don’t have enough budget to do so. I started taking ideas from the Internet on how to entertain my children at home without making them to use tablets. There are activities that I can teach to my children, like for babies I can get a large bowl fill it with unboiled pasta and little amount of water, so she can play with it. This more tempting for many babies.

The pound’s flotation raised the prices of different products, including food, medicine, electronics, and fuel, as well as electricity services, making life harder for Egyptians.

Moreover, Hanaa Abdel Moneem, a mother of three boys, said: “If I buy a game for every one of my three sons, the cost will reach EGP 900 a month, I can’t do this. I break my children’s heart every time they want a new game, So I got for them three a tablet, which is more cheaper and will led them to stop nagging for new games toys.”

In November 2016, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) floated the pound as part of the requirements set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with which Egypt agreed to a $12bn loan over three years. The pound’s flotation raised the prices of different products, including food, medicine, electronics, and fuel, as well as electricity services, making life harder for Egyptians.

The post Tablets Vs. Toys: Technology threatens childhood as we know it ? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/07/03/tablets-vs-toys-technology-threatens-childhood-as-we-know-it/feed/ 0
Saving money no longer option for Egyptians under price hikes  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/26/saving-money-no-longer-option-for-egyptians-under-price-hikes/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/26/saving-money-no-longer-option-for-egyptians-under-price-hikes/#respond Tue, 26 Jun 2018 10:00:17 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=663924 Egyptians, especially members of the middle class, have been gradually changing their lifestyles over the past years, not only by cutting their expenses, but also by giving up many things that were once essential to their daily routines. Members of the middle and upper middle classes had been enjoying many things seen by lower classes …

The post Saving money no longer option for Egyptians under price hikes  appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Egyptians, especially members of the middle class, have been gradually changing their lifestyles over the past years, not only by cutting their expenses, but also by giving up many things that were once essential to their daily routines.

Members of the middle and upper middle classes had been enjoying many things seen by lower classes as privileges, while the current economic situation has caused them to recognise these as privileges that can no longer be part of their monthly plans.

Going out with friends on the weekend, or even on weekdays, travelling several times throughout the year, driving cars, buying clothes on a regular basis, having high-end products, and monthly visits to the supermarket and beauty salons were always viewed as essentials in their lives, not privileges.

The recent changes in Egypt’s economic situation have caused prices to double and increase even higher, obliging people to change their priorities, while also diminishing their ability to save money.

Saving money is one a common practice among people all over the world. It was always normal to save some money for emergencies, for certain goals, or to maintain significant sums of money, especially for the middle class.

Egyptians were very successful in doing this; over the past years, many families managed to save significant amounts of money, which enabled them to build houses, buy savings certificates, buy apartments for their children, own properties, and store money for emergencies, which they are now spending.

With stagnant salaries amid rising prices, consumers have changed their financial behaviour by looking for different methods that could help reduce expenditure.

In November 2016, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) floated the pound as part of the requirements set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), with which Egypt agreed to a $12bn loan over three years. The pound’s flotation raised the prices of different products, including food, medicine, electronics, and fuel, as well as electricity services, making life harder for Egyptians.

The inflation rate in May increased by 0.3% from the previous month, reaching 274.7 points from 273.9, according to the monthly bulletin released by Egypt’s official statistics body, the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).

Daily News Egypt interviewed citizens of different social statuses and ages. Some agreed that they still can save money despite the worsening conditions, while others believed that it has become difficult to save as long as the value of their incomes are unstable.

Some of the interviewed citizens narrated their experiences on how they were able to save money during the early years of the 21st century.

Saving money is no longer affordable

“I have no doubt that saving money became something unbearable at all now. People who still can do this, really, God is with them,” said Mai Khater, a senior officer who has been working at telecommunications company Etisalat Egypt for 10 years.

“My first salary was EGP 2,700; four months later, it was raised to EGP 5,700. Could you imagine? There was money at that time. I managed to buy a car and apartment for myself and help my family. I was even able to travel three times per year to different places in Europe,” Khater said.

She continued, “my salary at that time was equivalent to EGP 25,000, which actually now is valued as EGP 10,000. The pound’s value has strongly impacted our income. If someone is really earning the amount of the previous salary now, they would never be able to achieve what I did in 2008. And apparently, thank God, I have an apartment—mine is 90 sqm and I got it for EGP 90,000—which I can now sell for EGP 400,000. Look at the difference.”

Currently, she said that she now has a higher salary and owns a private company but is in debt. Things she used to buy, for example, for EGP 100 now cost over EGP 200.

A majority of people continue to receive the same salary as before the flotation, which is the main reason that led them to feel the pressures of inflation.

“Saving money is completely a privilege now. I stopped smoking shisha in fancy coffeeshops, meeting my friends on a daily basis, ordering fast food at work—not to save money, but to afford the expenses of marriage preparations, and it is still not enough,” Ahmed Hussien, a 29-year-old restaurant manager, said when asked how he saves money after the price hikes.

Hussien said that he was scheduled to reserve his wedding in October, but financial difficulties led him to postpone it to January so that he can handle several marriage requirements. His family has provided him with some assistance.

“In the beginning, one year ago, I agreed with the family of my fiancée to arrange a good wedding together, but the plan changed. Now, both of us are not facing financial stability, so we will only do a small reception.”

He continued, “we spent more money than was expected due to the price hikes; for instance, we thought the electronic appliances would cost only EGP 40,000, but they reached EGP 60,000. This is not only applicable for electronics, but to everything else in the apartment, from decoration to furniture. So how can I save? Any amount saved will be paid after a while. Saving is a really hard task.”

Moreover, Salma Abdel Rahman, a 25-year-old public relations officer living in the Mohandessin district, said, “I wish I could really save money, but there is no way as long as my salary is unstable and prices are increasing.”

Abdel Rahaman is completely independent, but by the end of some months, she finds herself having to borrow money from her father or mother. She receives a monthly salary of EGP 5,000, explaining that her expenses include fuelling and cleaning her car, buying medicines and beauty products, and going to the hair dresser.

“I am living with my family, but I only sleep and eat with them. I rarely take money from them, even when I want to visit my doctor or perform medical tests. Now, my family has to help to prepare me for marriage, but they can’t get me all the things I need, so I must save, but I really don’t know how,” she said.

“This is good that I can afford my needs, but I want to do more things. I am in my early 20s; I have to enjoy life, but I am really too poor to do this, even though I am categorised as an upper middle class citizen.”

Money-pooling continues as solution to save money

Money-pooling, commonly known as “gamaaya”, is when individuals borrow and save money together. The neediest people were those practicing it the most, but middle-class citizens have been performing it for years and are increasingly doing so now. It is an old custom amongst mainly rural Egyptians.

Saeed Hamdy, a 26-year-old retail banker, said the only solution to save money, especially now, is joining money pools, which is better than taking loans from banks with high interests.

“Most of the male youth are using a large amount of their salaries in money pools. In some cases, it might not be in one pool, but in two or three, since it is the best and fastest way that can help them to save money,” Hamdy said.

“After inflation, all that I have saved last year will do nothing after the prices have increased. Now I am stuck. I can’t reserve an apartment or buy a car. Not only this, but I can’t be committed to any pool any longer, because then I would not be able to live,” he concluded.

The post Saving money no longer option for Egyptians under price hikes  appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/06/26/saving-money-no-longer-option-for-egyptians-under-price-hikes/feed/ 0
Expansion of Nation’s Future Party expected to change political landscape https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/29/expansion-of-nations-future-party-expected-to-change-political-landscape/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/29/expansion-of-nations-future-party-expected-to-change-political-landscape/#respond Tue, 29 May 2018 14:00:19 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=660951 Party stance shocked Support Egypt coalition, which was expected to become political party

The post Expansion of Nation’s Future Party expected to change political landscape appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
The Nation’s Future Party welcomed over 200 new members to its ranks during the past week, in preparation for internal reconstruction of the party expected to be accomplished in the few upcoming months.

During the past week, mass resignations were submitted by members of parliament affiliated with different parties to leave their respective parties, planning to join the Nation’s Future Party’s instead, alongside independent members.

Around 150 independent members of “For the Sake of Egypt” association have joined the party. The association was formed in 2016 to support the re-election of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi during the presidential election of 2018. Also, around 50 members affiliated with the Free Egyptians Party submitted their resignations to join the Nation’s Future Party.

“The party has significantly expanded after the merger of the members of For the Sake of Egypt. The party managed to include a large number of MPs, especially independents,” Atef Nasser, the head of the parliamentary bloc of the Nation’s Future Party said in media statement. 

Nassar said that party members increased from 57 to 250 after the new expansion. “We got 150 independent MPs, and a number ranging between 40 and 50 MPs who were members of the Free Egyptians Party and Al-Wafd Party,” he said.

Among the members who quit the Free Egyptians Party were head of parliament’s human rights committee, Alaa Abed; Abdel-Hadi El-Qasabi, head of parliament’s social solidarity committee; and head of parliament’s foreign affairs committee Tarek Radwan.

Moreover, from Al-Wafd Party, Hossam El-Khouli, the former deputy head of the party, resigned to become the secretary general of the Nation’s Future Party, while businessperson Al-Sayed Al-Badawi, who served two terms as the head of Al-Wafd Party, resigned as honorary president of the party, a title he had received by consensus.

These figures are supposed to be valuable additions for the Nation’s Future Party due to their long expertise in the field of politics. El-Khouli said that former members of Free Egyptians Party and Al-Wafd Party will lend their expertise to the party, and that the party aspires to be Egypt’s leading and majority party”.

In a previous media statement, Abed said that the expansion and reconstruction of the Nation’s Future Party will change the political atmosphere of the country, as it will be the leading party in Egypt.

On Thursday, members of the Nation’s Future Party met with members of For the Sake of Egypt to discuss their future work after their merger. The head of Nation’s Future Party Ashraf Rashad gave a speech regarding the new situation of the party, saying the merger of the party with the association is expected to create changes regarding filling the political vacuum that Egypt experienced over the past several years. The merger came in execution of recommendations by Al-Sisi in that regard.

The Nation’s Future Party was the first party to heed calls by Al-Sisi to unify political parties through merging with For the Sake of Egypt. During the fifth National Youth Conference, Al-Sisi called on political parties to unite to create an opportunity for closer dialogue.

“We strongly believe in Al-Sisi’s initiative and so we have moved quickly to convince more than 150 independent MPs to join our ranks,” said Rashad.

The Nation’s Future Party, which is liberally conservative, was founded in 2015 as a party representing the youth, but gradually hired more high-ranking political figures and gained more members from other competing parties. The party had supported many initiatives to re-elect Al-Sisi for another term. It further won 57 seats in the Egyptian Parliament in the parliamentary elections of 2015.

Journalist Hassan Abu Taleb, in an op-ed in state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram, commented on the changes in the Nation’s Future Party, saying that the integration is a natural development, not an exceptional situation, and is based on the conviction that building a strong and large party and its competing with other parties is the only viable path, and small parties will turn to it in order to achieve legitimate parliamentary and political gains, as defined by the constitution.

The party’s newfound position of strength was unexpected and shocking to the majority Support Egypt parliamentary coalition, which announced to the press last month that it was planning to transform into a political party.

Nasser commented on that, saying that he believes that the decision of 150 independent MPs to join the party came as a big surprise to the leaders of Support Egypt, but that the support that the Nation’s Future Party has witnessed was due to complaints surrounding the poor performance of the Support Egypt coalition’s leadership and its failure to impose discipline in parliament.

There was a state of anger within the Nation’s Future Party after news of negotiations to merge the party with the For the Sake of Egypt association. Members of the party expressed dissatisfaction with the merger by launching an initiative dubbed “You can pick flowers but you cannot delay spring”, explaining that they refuse the marginalising of the party’s youth who were able to prove their formidable presence over the past four years of work. They were able to occupy a number of important positions within parliament, in addition to their strong presence on the ground through organisational structures of young people in 27 governorates as part of the party’s functions, according to state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.

During the past several years, the weakness of the political scene in Egypt was long questioned and criticised, as it was clearly recognised that the performance of opposition groups in the country had weakened, and that they were not represented in any of the state’s major events.

Political science professor Hassan Nafaa told Daily News Egypt that there is already vacuum, and this will definitely continue to be a challenge during the next stage. The role of political parties and non-governmental organisation is very weak, he said, and there is no mechanism that could stimulate democracy in the country.

Commenting on the political vacuum, political science professor Ahmed Abd Rabo wrote in op-ed in privately-owned newspaper Al-Shorouk, “it is not new if we compare the year 2017 with the previous years in terms of politics. The restrictions on civil society continues, the file of rights is constantly declining, as well as the constant tracking of political activists and some cadres of political parties. The message is clear to all: the system’s only message is security and there is no room for politics.”

The post Expansion of Nation’s Future Party expected to change political landscape appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/29/expansion-of-nations-future-party-expected-to-change-political-landscape/feed/ 0
Despite hikes, few improvements seen in metro stations https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/15/despite-hikes-few-improvements-seen-in-metro-stations/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/15/despite-hikes-few-improvements-seen-in-metro-stations/#respond Tue, 15 May 2018 10:00:09 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=659439 Increasing metro fare comes as part of plans for development of metro systems, says transportation minister

The post Despite hikes, few improvements seen in metro stations appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Egyptians have been facing price hikes on a range of products and services in the country for over two years. Since signing a $12bn loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Egypt has pledged and implemented a harsh major economic reform programme that started in 2016. In addition, the government has implemented several other procedures to bridge the budget deficit and stimulate the economy’s growth—one of these procedures is hiking metro ticket prices.

On Friday, the Ministry of Transportation raised the price of metro fares to EGP 3-7, hiking the price for the second time in less than a year.  The pricing system is now based on the number of stations travelled. From a flat rate of EGP 2, now, for the first nine stations, Egyptians will pay EGP 3, which rises to EGP 5 for up to 16 stations, and EGP 7 for more than 16 stations. The decision will not be imposed on students, the elderly, and people with special needs.

The ticket price had already been increased to EGP 2 on 23 March, four months after the pound’s flotation. Prior to that, the flat metro fare had remained, for many years, at EGP 1.

Minister of Transportation Hesham Arafat said that the decision comes as part of completing plans for the development of the Cairo metro system and to maintain the vital facility, which serves millions of Egyptians on a daily basis, as well as to provide a distinctive service for passengers.

He further said in a statement that the decision was made due to the heavy financial losses of the metro system, as its accumulated loans have reached almost EGP 618.6m, in addition to a deficit in maintenance and reparation costs from 2016 until the current year. He added in the statement that the increase aims at improving the metro, providing people with “special” services, and achieving social justice.  

Comprehensive plan to develop metro stations

Egyptian authorities have repeatedly justified the changing of metro ticket prices as a way to implement a comprehensive development plan for metro stations. There are already a number of changes seen in the metro stations throughout the past few months.

The plan to upgrade the infrastructure of the first and second Cairo metro lines requires funding of up to EGP 30.76bn, of which only EGP 26.35bn was paid for the first line, and EGP 4.4bn for the second line, Ahmed Abdel Hady, spokesperson of the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation, clarified in media statements on Friday, adding that the plan includes a comprehensive development and modernisation of the infrastructure of the first line, as well as the purchasing of new trains and upgrading of existing trains, in addition to the development of the second line’s signalling systems.

The plan also includes the development of electric feed, communications system, and rails of the first line of the metro, which will cost €730m, said the minister, adding that there are already six new trains that have been added to the second line of the metro.

“The company is doing its best to provide distinguished services to passengers, and the increase of the prices of metro tickets was necessary and inevitable,” the chairperson of the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation, Ali Fadali, said.

Fadali added that the new prices will help to improve the service by providing the required funding to purchase spare parts for maintenance work, adding that new trains will be introduced during the coming period as part of the development plans for the first and second lines.

The ministry has contracted with a number of banks to receive EGP 30bn to renew the first line of the subway system, noting that citizens mostly complain of large crowds during their trips via the subway He said that in order to eliminate this issue, which is a result of a growing population, there should be a better signalling system, at a cost of €280m, which is expected to reduce the waiting time between trains, and therefore allow more trains to run.

New electronic gates already seen

Previously, officials of the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation and the Ministry of Transportation were quoted in local media reports saying that there would not be an increase in ticket prices this year, unless the installation of electronic gates in stations of the first and second lines is completed.

Since the beginning of 2018, new electronic gates began to be noticed by metro commuters as rumours of an imminent price hike swirled. Those new gates can also be used with smart cards.

In February 2018, Hady said the company was close to completing the replacement the old gates with new electronic ones. Meanwhile, Hassan Tawfeeq, spokesperson for the National Authority for Tunnels, confirmed that the installation of the electronic gates will be completed in the second line of the metro by the end of March.

The National Authority for Tunnels contracted with French company Thales Group to manufacture and supply 850 new gates at a cost of about EGP 160m, replacing the old gates in the first and second lines of the metro. That contract included completing the supply and installation of gates within 18 months from the date of activation.

The decision stirred controversy among Egyptians, as many were discontent with the price increases, as they added an additional burden to the already high living costs, following the government’s economic measures implemented in the last two years, including energy subsidy cuts and tax hikes, all as part of a $12bn three-year IMF loan agreement that was signed in 2016.

On the other hand, on social media, some users made posts saying that they were not against the decision, “as the ticket prices in other countries are much higher than in Egypt.” However, some advised that there should be a discount on specific ticket prices for either the underprivileged or the neediest social classes.

More than 3 million people use the metro daily, as it is the most affordable means of transportation in the city that low-income people, along with the working and middle classes, depend on. Throughout all hours of the day, one can find crowds of passengers standing and sitting inside each metro carriage, waiting to reach their destination. Once a train’s doors open, another crowd charges into it, with people regularly pushing each other in order to not miss the ride, often without regard for risk of injury.

Alternative transportation methods may not cost less, as the government is expected to slash petroleum subsides for the third time in July. 

Prices of public transportation tickets as well as taxi rides have spiked. In late June, the government increased the prices of fuel, as the price of a litre of 92 octane petrol rose to EGP 5 from EGP 3.5, 80 octane petrol and diesel fuel both increased from EGP 2.35 to EGP 3.65, and 95 octane petrol increased from EGP 6.25 to EGP 6.6. Those were the second increases in fuel prices in less than a year, as the government also raised fuel prices in November 2016.

The ticket prices are not the only concern that metro commuters harbour; the improvement of basic quality of services has long been a demand. Safety precautions, regulations on overcrowding, and improvement of poorly maintained stations have long been called for by metro riders.

Economists have previously suggested plans to expand metro revenues without raising ticket prices, such as better utilising the marketing aspect, activating commercial promotion professionally to make the most of advertisements placed on tickets, entry and exit gates, escalators, and stairways. In a previous televised interview, the head of the Egyptian Company for Metro Management and Operation, Khaled Sabra, said that the metro works 24 hours a day and serves 1.3 billion passengers per year. Revenues of the metro are estimated at over EGP 3m per day, which can greatly assist in upgrading its services.

The post Despite hikes, few improvements seen in metro stations appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/15/despite-hikes-few-improvements-seen-in-metro-stations/feed/ 0
Buying apartment is no longer obstacle to marriage for many Egyptian youth https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/08/buying-apartment-no-longer-obstacle-marriage-many-egyptian-youth/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/08/buying-apartment-no-longer-obstacle-marriage-many-egyptian-youth/#respond Tue, 08 May 2018 06:00:50 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=658767 For decades, Egyptian youth have suffered from prerequisite of owning apartment

The post Buying apartment is no longer obstacle to marriage for many Egyptian youth appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
A common phrase is often said to Egyptian men who wish to get married to the bride of their choice by her parents in Egypt. From the beginning, the phrase is usually: “first, get the apartment, then do not worry about anything else.” Hence, it is commonly known in the country that when a man owns an apartment, he is elevated to the status of being eligible as a potential groom for any family.

In Egypt, having an apartment is one of the requirements for marriage, which is a matter that has complicated many relationships in the long run. The prerequisite of the groom having to own an apartment is one of the country’s social constructs across different social classes. Men should own apartments, most preferably of a certain size considered “average”, and in very rare cases will the parents of a bride accept a rental apartment for their daughter.

For decades, Egyptian youth have grappled with this issue. For some, it has been enough reason to force them to not even think about marriage until they are financially stable.

The apartment issue is one of the main reasons that has broken up many relationships. Parents of the bride believe that apartment ownership is a preservation of the rights of their daughter and a means to secure a good future life for her.

Under the current economic situation, it became very stressful for young people to buy an apartment by themselves. Prices of apartments, small or average, have all jumped to over EGP 500,000.

Marriage requirements in Egypt are determined as a measure of a bride’s worth. Thus, the waiving of any of these requirements could be seen as “downgrading” the girl, as some families believe that calling for many expensive requests is a way to indicate how valuable their daughter is.

Buying an apartment was and continues to be an obstacle that places matrimony out of reach for many young people in Egypt. Nowadays, seldom can a young man be ready to purchase an apartment on his own; usually, hsi parents are the ones who support him financially to get one. Daily News Egypt spoke to some couples that were able to break this societal stigma and found that some have looked to more practical solutions.

Groom and father-in-law split the cost

“Life evolves every day, people’s needs are always changing, while salaries are not helpful in affording all the expenses, so how come we still want young people to pay from their salary to get an apartment on their own? This is unfair,” said Ahmed Atef, 50, an engineer.

Atef, a father of a 23-year-old bride, agreed with his son-in-law to, together, buy the apartment, which means that each of them would pay 50% of the total amount. The groom’s monthly salary does not exceed EGP 7,000, he has no properties to sell, and his parents are not helping him, but he only inherited from his father a small amount that will help him to prepare the apartment.

“I know that if it was my son, he will never be able to buy an apartment, and that I should help him. Everyone in my family has criticised me for helping my daughter’s groom, but he is like my son, and he is serious and really doing his best to pay all the expenses. We agreed that I will pay the down payment and he will continue the remaining amount every month,” Atef said.

When Atef was asked why they did not opt for renting an apartment, he said that it would be very odd for his family and friends to know that his daughter lives in a rented apartment with her husband, justifying that all the girls in her family were offered good apartments by their partners.

“Despite me understanding the situation of my daughter’s groom, I still cannot comprise more, otherwise he will think that my daughter is cheap or unworthy,” Atef said.

It is common among many Egyptians that a groom who can buy a fancy apartment in a compound or an upscale area, fill it with extravagant furniture, and purchase expensive bridal jewellery is the right one for their daughter, regardless of his behaviour, character, or attitude.

‘I support my fiancé in secret’

Another case is a woman who is secretly helping her financé pay the monthly instalment for their apartment.

“In front of my family, the groom is the one who is paying the whole amount of the apartment, while in fact I am helping him, because he is not rich to pay every three months around EGP 18,000,” the twenty-six-year old researcher said.

The researcher, who asked to remain anonymous, said that she is from a higher social class than her fiancé, and that none of her family members are satisfied about her relationship, and they are always censuring her.

“I know he is not rich, he cannot get me an apartment in a good area like my friends, but I do not really care about these matters. We love and respect each other and this is really what is more important. We can start from the bottom now, and work together to improve our life,” she said, adding, “I don’t think the way my parents think. They believe that he should get me all that I want. Meanwhile, here in my parent’s home, I am responsible for myself; they do not give me a pound.”

She continued that her fiancé was able to pay a very simple down payment and that she is paying with him the monthly instalments from her salary, which is higher than his.

Parents buying the apartment

“Hadayek Al-Ahram is one of the areas that is categorised as an upper middle- or middle-class area and apartments are still being sold at good prices. A 150 sqm apartment can cost around EGP 500,000, which is something you can never find in Egypt’s current top areas like Sixth of October or Fifth Settlement,” said Gomaa Mohamed, a broker from the Hadayek Al-Ahram district.

He explained that whenever a young man buys an apartment on his own, he pays a very small down payment, then the owner obliges him to pay a higher monthly instalment.

“Usually families are the ones who are buying for their sons, I rarely find a young man who buys an apartment on his own. Young men mainly apply for affordable housing projects or social housing projects,” Mohamed said.

Hadayek Al-Ahram is a series of lands owned by families and investors who constructed buildings as investments. When asked why the prices of the district are not as expensive as in Sixth of October or other areas, Mohamed said because the roads are not well-constructed there, and that contributes to its low-price margin compared to other areas.

Father buys apartments for his sons and daughters

Amira Hussien, a 25-year-old newly married interior designer, said that she is living with her husband in her apartment.

“My father got an apartment for every one of us, my sisters, brothers, and I. My fiancé already has an apartment, but it is in a low-class area, and we could not sell it to buy another one because the condition of the market is not really helpful, so my father suggested that we can live in my apartment, but my fiancé will get the furniture and bear all the wedding expenses alone,” Abdellatif said.

She added that this solution was much better for her fiancé, as they both believe that selling an apartment and buying another would have wasted too much time and money.

Abdellatif said that she did not worry too much about people’s comments on how her financé is living in her apartment. “We all have financial problems, even the rich have debts. The problem is not what people will say; people will always talk. The problem is that I do not think it would really be fair if we broke up just for an apartment.”

From upmarket villa to rental apartment

Nada Magdy, a 35-year-old English teacher, grew up in an upper middle-class family. She used to live with her family in a two-floor upmarket villa in the city of Sheikh Zayed. Now, she lives with her husband in a small rented apartment in the district of Maadi.

“My father was very considerate of the conditions of my fiancé, he did not really pressure him to buy an apartment. I wish all people would think this way. Everything was good with us, expect that he has no apartment, and for my family, it was not really a big deal,” Magdy said.

Despite old social concepts, some families succeed in prioritising the happiness of their sons or daughters, as placing obstacles in their way has never been good for the interests of both sides.

The post Buying apartment is no longer obstacle to marriage for many Egyptian youth appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/05/08/buying-apartment-no-longer-obstacle-marriage-many-egyptian-youth/feed/ 0
New secondary school system to be computerised, application remains unclear https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/24/new-secondary-school-system-computerised-application-remains-unclear/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/24/new-secondary-school-system-computerised-application-remains-unclear/#respond Tue, 24 Apr 2018 09:30:30 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=657707 For years, “thanaweya amma” (secondary school) has been a nightmare for Egyptian students, stirring among them fears and doubts of not reaching their goals, as in many cases, the final total of their grades was the main reason that hindered some students from entering the faculty of their dreams. Parents spend large amounts of money …

The post New secondary school system to be computerised, application remains unclear appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
For years, “thanaweya amma” (secondary school) has been a nightmare for Egyptian students, stirring among them fears and doubts of not reaching their goals, as in many cases, the final total of their grades was the main reason that hindered some students from entering the faculty of their dreams. Parents spend large amounts of money on private tutoring, as well as school tuition fees. Students depend on private lessons more than school classes during the thanaweya amma stage to learn the subjects they will be tested on. 

Thanaweya amma is Egypt’s secondary school certificate, required to apply to universities and higher education institutes. The system in Egypt is very complicated, as students are required to study a number of subjects, in which grades of each subject are combined to come up with the total that will determine which faculty he or she can apply for. 

“Throughout the year, I spend too much money on private classes, I do all my best to offer a good atmosphere of studying for my daughter. Still, I cannot guarantee that she will really succeed with high grades, to enrol in her dream university in the specialisation she wishes to study and work in, no matter how hard she studies, as always, final exams of thanaweya amma are an obstacle,” said Amal Thabet, a mother of a thanaweya amma student completing the science specialisation.

Students often dream of top notch faculties that always require the highest grades. In Egypt, thousands of youth have not been able to study in their most desired faculties because they failed to reach certain grades to study in one of the country’s three prominent universities, Cairo, Helwan, and Ain Shams. In some cases, parents send their sons to private universities where they can study their dream specialisation, but in the trade-off is large sums of money.

Students never get the chance to see how their tests were graded, but instead, get a report about whether their exams were graded fairly, as well as the option to receive a regrading.

Educational experts have always criticised the syllabi of the subjects of thanaweya amma, asserting that they are not of interest to students and that they are not well-trained to study such subjects. In addition to that, they further complained of the difficulty of exams that always include tricks not suitable for the learning levels of students.

The secondary level is three years long. During the first year, students study subjects of both specialisations available in the system. For the last two years, students study only the subjects of the specialisation they choose. In the Egyptian thanaweya amma, students will choose either the scientific or literary route, to the contrary of other countries, where there are other specialisations, such as nursing, information systems. and industrial as well as human and social studies.

Recently, the Ministry of Education changed the system to calculate the final grade based on the final year, though students must now study extra subjects. The new system was introduced after decades of combining the last two years as the final grade.

In 2017, Egypt’s Education Minister Tarek Shawky announced that a new system will replace the traditional thanaweya amma system in the academic year 2018-19. The new system will cancel the scoring system of calculating total grades to switch to a grade point average (GPA).

The GPA system will evaluate students based on performance of coursework and electronically-graded multiple-choice exams, while the current system evaluates only students’ answers on final examinations. The upcoming thanaweya amma system will grade students based on the three years of study in that educational stage, instead of the final year in the current system.

The new system is scheduled to be implemented at the beginning of the new academic year, next September, to all students, except those at international schools. Students will have 12 exams in each subject throughout a year of study, of which the scores of the highest six exams in each subject will be taken into account.

The minister said that students will take the electronic tests instead of paper ones to improve the system and student evaluation. Exams will not be unified for all students, though details are not yet clear how they will differ. He also said that the tests will be administered similarly to the English proficiency Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) exams, adding that secondary schools will be sent the examinations shortly before test dates to avoid leaks of exam questions. The past few years witnessed leaks of thanaweya amma final exams through pages on social media, which forced the ministry, on several occasions, to change the exams.


The Ministry of Education plans to provide all secondary school students and teachers with tablets. All of those will be free of charge, and high-speed wifi services will be provided in schools. Students will have books, in addition to the tablets as additional references.

Parliamentarians have expressed concerns regarding the new system proposed by the minister. Columnist Ashraf El-Barbary said in an op-ed in privately-owned Al-Shorouk newspaper that still the minister needs to present a clear strategy as to how the new system will be implemented in public schools, particularly in remote, rural areas that lack basic facilities and services.

Member of parliament’s committee for education and scientific research Mostafa Kamal said that the new system has many “negatives,” adding that parliament will hold community dialogue sessions on the new system. Kamal suggested that to change the system, it is necessary to amend the country’s law on secondary education and to discuss proposed articles. He said the changes will likely be challenged in parliament, and then approved, which will take long time.

The members of the committee have different concerns regarding the new system. Parliament is still waiting for the Ministry of Education to send it the plan to hold discussions and community dialogues with educational experts.

Gamal Sheha, head of the committee, asserted that the secondary school system will only change by amending the law, and that he is not supporting the system, but is still waiting to hear discussions of experts and the minister, as he feels that the new system “may turn thanaweya amma into a trade and increase private lessons.”

Egypt will sign a deal with the World Bank for $500m to fund the government’s plan for the system, to support increasing access to quality kindergarten education, improve the quality of learning, and adopt technology as a vehicle to achieve reform objectives. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ordered all tablets used in exams to be manufactured in Egypt, in cooperation with the Ministries of Military Production and Communication and Information Technology.

The post New secondary school system to be computerised, application remains unclear appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/24/new-secondary-school-system-computerised-application-remains-unclear/feed/ 0
Egypt to implement electronic linkage of food commodity outlets: Supply Ministry https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/23/egypt-implement-electronic-linkage-food-commodity-outlets-supply-ministry/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/23/egypt-implement-electronic-linkage-food-commodity-outlets-supply-ministry/#respond Mon, 23 Apr 2018 09:30:36 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=657635 Ahlan Ramadan food exhibition to be held at Cairo International Convention Centre

The post Egypt to implement electronic linkage of food commodity outlets: Supply Ministry appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Egyptian citizens perhaps do not pay attention to the statements or decisions made by different ministries as much as they do to those of the Ministry of Supply, as it is responsible for providing food commodities, especially bread.

The Ministry of Supply is responsible for many issues that concern Egyptians, including food subsidies and ration cards, and its importance only increases as the month of Ramadan is approaching.

Daily News Egypt had an interview with Mohammed Sweid, spokesperson for the Supply Ministry.

Is there truth to rumours about raising food commodity prices?

There will be no increase in food commodity prices in Ramadan. To the contrary, the price of sugar will decrease by EGP 1 per kg during the holy month, as a result of the wise policies pursued by the ministry in the last period. There is a comprehensive plan with the Federation of Chambers of Commerce to provide all the required commodities at large outlets.

The ministry adopted a number of measures in the last six months to develop internal trade, notably the application of price labelling on food packages.

The Supply Ministry also adopted an effective mechanism to control the local market since last year after the chaos witnessed in commodity prices following the liberalisation of the exchange rate.

The Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Supply Investigation Bureau are monitoring the Egyptian market regularly to assure the success of that mechanism.

How does the Supply Ministry prepare for Ramadan?

The ministry will hold a large food exhibition under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi at the Cairo International Convention Centre. Similar exhibitions will be held nationwide under the slogan “From producer directly to consumer”. These exhibitions do not aim to achieve profits and will offer a 10-15% discount.

There will be no increase in food commodity prices in Ramadan. To the contrary, the price of sugar will decrease by EGP 1 per kg during the holy month, as a result of the wise policies pursued by the ministry in the last period

How will the ministry benefit from consumer goods complexes and wholesale outlets across different governorates during Ramadan?

There is a plan to reorganise consumer goods complexes and provide employment training with a possibility of launching a partnership with the private sector in the management of these complexes. This potential partnership aims to benefit from the private sector’s expertise in the management of supermarket retail chains.

There are more than 1,000 consumer goods complexes nationwide; most of them are located in Cairo, Giza, and Alexandria. The Supply Ministry aims to implement electronic linkage of all these food commodities outlets and complexes.

What is the ministry’s plan for aiding families most in need and cooperating with NGOs?

The Egyptian government will offer 1m Ramadan charity packages, of which 600,000 will be distributed by the Ministry of Endowments based on the database of the Ministry of Social Solidarity. The Ministries of Petroleum and Tourism will contribute EGP 200,000 each to prepare these charity packages. There will be many similar initiatives to ease the burden on citizens.

Did the ministry face any problems with regard to wheat supply this year?

The ministry was not criticised for the delay in announcing the date of wheat supply that was caused by the long negotiations within the government to increase the purchasing price of wheat from local farmers.

The supply price of wheat with a purity rate of 23.5% reached EGP 600 per ardeb, wheat with a purity rate of 23% is sold at EGP 585 per ardeb, while wheat with a purity rate of 22% costs EGP 570 per ardeb. It means that the purchasing price of wheat will increase by EGP 180 per tonne compared to last year.

The Egyptian wheat supply price is EGP 200 higher than the world price. The ministry could not raise the price more than this because of the recent corruption case in the ministry.

The high price difference can lead to corruption as the wheat suppliers will mix local production with the imported wheat.

Did you communicate with farmers to see if these prices are fair?

We have contacted some groups of farmers because there is no comprehensive union for all farmers.

If we considered the costs of planting wheat, which is estimated at about EGP 3,000 per feddan, so the return will reach EGP 13,000, which is reasonable.

We hope to offer more than this, but everyone should know that any further increase in the purchasing price of wheat will affect the bread subsidies.

According to the latest reports, the ministry received 119,000 tonnes of wheat so far compared to 1,500 tonnes in the same period of last year.

What about the supplies and prices of meat?

The ministry will provide 17,000 tonnes of Sudanese meat during Ramadan at EGP 85 per kg. Poultry will be available at the ministry’s retail outlets at EGP 17 per kg until the end of Ramadan, despite the real market price being EGP 30 per kg.

How has the review of ration cards gone so far?

The first stage of reviewing ration cards has been completed and those who are not entitled to subsidies were excluded. Moreover, the ministry excluded duplicated names and citizens living abroad. We now have about 80 million Egyptians who receive subsidised bread and 70 million who receive other subsidised goods via ration cards.

The ministry has recently seized thousands of ration cards that were illegally used without the knowledge of their real owners.

We developed a new electronic system through which the citizens can obtain ration cards via text messages within seven days.

The cabinet formed a committee called Social Justice to redefine the criteria for the granting of ration cards. There will be no change in the current database of citizens eligible to receive subsidised goods until after a community dialogue over criteria, in coordination with parliament.

How did the ministry deal with rumours about suspending the ration cards of those who did not vote in the recent presidential election?

The ministry issued a statement to refute this rumour and the minister described it as a ridiculous rumour. The ration cards are crucial for most citizens and grab the attention of everyone, so we follow carefully such fake news to prevent controversy.

The post Egypt to implement electronic linkage of food commodity outlets: Supply Ministry appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/04/23/egypt-implement-electronic-linkage-food-commodity-outlets-supply-ministry/feed/ 0
Power of social media: Young Egyptians turn to online platforms to spread their talents  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/20/power-social-media-young-egyptians-turn-online-platforms-spread-talents/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/20/power-social-media-young-egyptians-turn-online-platforms-spread-talents/#respond Tue, 20 Mar 2018 09:30:06 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=654220 ‘We came from social media.’ Gifted people speak out about their stories, starts 

The post Power of social media: Young Egyptians turn to online platforms to spread their talents  appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Social media has become an undeniable force in the world today, giving people better opportunities to spread their talents and promising projects. Some of them have attained relative fame, with thousands of followers on online channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, which sometimes leads to better professional offers for them, yet others are still trying to capture attentions.

Daily News Egypt interviewed six young people to tell their stories and experiences with social media and reveal how they plan to reach what they have always have dreamed of. Mohamed Nasser is a prominent cartoonist, who said he started illustrating cartoons in high school to “express his suffering with studying.” He was lucky with audiences of his colleagues; very limited supporters at that time, as he described.

“My cartoons had been well received by my colleagues. After I went to university, the impact got wider, with a larger number of followers, but still [relatively] limited. Then I decided to turn to social media, posting my work there. Few people followed me until it got larger,” said the engineering student at Alexandria University.

Mohamed Nasser

However, things unexpectedly changed; Nasser’s cartoons went viral, shared and circulated by thousands of users. “I didn’t expect this intensive interaction. I am lucky for all those followers and their feedback. Thanks to that, I received freelance offers and accepted some of them”, noted the 23-year-old cartoonist.

The Alexandrian future engineer hopes to mix painting with his major, computer engineering, saying “I feel that I can do that. I adore painting and can’t say I don’t like my studies too. I am looking to improve my skills in game developing”.

Later on, Nasser began using his cartoons to express mixed feelings of depression and about relationships. He joined some professional courses in graphic design, character illustration, and cartooning to enhance his talent. Moreover, he has ambitious plans to issue his own worldwide comic series in the future, with big dreams he wishes to achieve in his career.

Nasser’s cartoons were never published on websites or in print. “I don’t know if I can take it to the commercial market, as I always paint and illustrate what I feel or believe in,” he noted.

Fortunately, the internet now allows people to connect easily, sharing their initial experiments with larger audiences. Social media also helped Yara

Alieldien. She became a member of “Tegy nelwnha” (Let’s colour it) campaign, which painted art and literature figures such as Nobel prize recipient Naguib Mahfouz and the internationally renowned Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum on Opera metro station walls, aiming to “spread street art among all segments of the population, backed by Moubdioun (Innovators) association, headed by Zainab Mohamed.

“Zainab saw my painting on my Facebook page, and then she asked me to join them,” Alieldien told DNE, adding that she started publishing her work three years ago.

The 18-year-old painter, a first-year student at the Faculty of Fine Arts at Helwan University, found the path to her dream through social media. She published her paintings on her own Facebook page and groups related to young painters, got some good feedback, and criticism, which helped her improve her talent.

A while later, she feels quite confident. “I am always working on improving my paintings. In late 2016, my work went viral,” she noted.

Ahmed Gaber

Alieldien also added that thanks to social media, international media outlets noticed her work in the Opera metro station, saying “BBC and other international media wrote about us. Social media is now the fastest way of communicating with people. She receives, from time to time, orders to paint portraits, but she rarely accepts them. “I feel that I still need much more time to take this professional step.”

When the 25 January revolution broke out in 2011, many young people got passionate about photography, especially the kind that documents street and political events. Ahmed Gaber found himself interested in this field nearly five years ago. He bought a camera and started his journey. “I kept saving money to buy my own camera, especially when many people turning to photography, I wanted to take my chance too,” Gaber said.

Gaber, 21 years old, is a senior student at the Faculty of Arts at Alexandria University. He used his account on Instagram to publish his own photographs, saying he now has more than 10,000 followers. “Actually, it doesn’t matter how many people follow you. What matters the most is the people who appreciate the photo itself, [people] with an artistic eye,” Gaber noted.

He now does some freelance work, including wedding and ceremony photography. He wants to take his chance in the photojournalism field, but according to him, there is no longer journalism in Egypt. “I hope I can go abroad to follow my goals and dreams,” he said. However, he gets most of his experience on the streets. “This is the best practice, better than any courses or training. I am also familiar with global photographers.”

It is not just photography that has attracted young people in the past seven years. Aly Galal, when he was just 16 years old, got involved in political comics, as many artists did at that time, “Following the 25 January revolution, political events encouraged us to express our opinions. I did this in my own way by illustrating comics,” said Galal.

Aly Galal

The 23-year-old young comic artist would post comics tackling political issues. “At first, they got some interaction. But it took years to achieve a noticeable impact,” noted Galal. He added that the impact was “slow,” however, he tried to send his work to local newspapers and online platforms. He only received a response from Al-Shorouk newspaper, where he worked.

He is now studying graphic design and media arts at Modern Sciences and Arts University and publishes his paintings and comics only on social media. He once participated in Cairo Comix Festival with a comicbook called “Mangaha” in association with another cartoonist named Sherif Adel.

After years of work, despair and frustration crept up on him. “I am no longer illustrating on politics. I left all this because despair dominated our lives and feelings. I post comics on naïve and simple things. They don’t tackle any critical issues and aren’t related to any activism”.

He looks forward to enhancing his skills in the animation field, he already started some freelance work with the website Yaoota!, saying “I get so passionate about animation. It’s my next step”. Galal concluded that social media helped him but “not that much,” as he isn’t following up with trends. “I do respect trendy work, but some artists can’t have a great impact because their works aren’t trendy.”

With more than 2.2 billion monthly active users on the social media giant Facebook, it has become the most desired destination for video producers, short movies directors, and sometimes even filmmakers, as video production has flourished in the past several years, with the ability to experiment on online platforms.

Laila Kamal

Away from individual experiences, there is a promising initiative that produces videos, mini documentaries, and short movies called “Egyptian Vibes,” started on Facebook by two young women and a man. Laila Kamal, one of the members, said, “our purpose is to spread a positive mood among Egyptian youth, telling them ‘you are not alone in your struggling,’ whether it is financial, social, or related to their wellbeing. We show you samples of people who were able to overcome their challenges and difficulties, reaching a better life.”

As written in their Facebook page bio, Egyptian Vibes is a project of “demonstrated feelings, memories, stories, and moments. We make short videos to let people speak their own minds and hearts, revive chapters of their lives to once more taste their happiest moments, celebrate their victory over challenges, and to inspire others to value their own journeys in life.”

“We launched our project in May 2017, starting with short videos that were well received by users after a few months. We got encouraging feedback and useful comments on the quality of the productions,” Kamal said. She, with Nermeen Hazem, worked on the pre-production stage, which includes writing, preparing questions, coming up with ideas, and finding inspiring stories, while Hussam Hamed, a filmmaker, proceeded with video production.

They want to help young people, who cannot find exposure, to be shown in their videos, offering them the opportunity to talk about their projects and businesses. Most importantly, they seek to improve their productions’ quality and content, planning to produce documentaries and short films. “We already started shooting our first short movie, as unfortunately, it was not accepted into any festivals, so we are going to post it on Facebook. Anyway, it’s where we came from,” Kamal said.

Ashraf Hamdi

The project is self-financed. They usually rent a camera to shoot on the streets or in agreed locations. However, they decided to stop for a while. “We want to improve our work further,” Kamal explained, adding that they “have a message; a better way to spread it is though social media.”

Meanwhile, Ashraf Hamdi, a filmmaker, actor, and script writer, has a success story to share. Thanks to social media, his short films and videos have gained widespread attention, giving him bigger chances in his career as an advertising director to work with big and international brands. “I start to shoot short movies and videos and posting them on Facebook. I was already well-known as an actor, but this helped me to work with brands such as Samsung and Huawei,” Hamdi said.

The burgeoning director acted in the 2016 film “Ishtibak” (Clash), directed by Mohamed Diab. He began his career in acting in 2007, co-writing scripts with Egyptian scriptwriter Mohamed Hefzy and others. But as he became more involved in the advertising field, he felt like he needed an “outlet” to make something he is passionate more about, so he started his own project through Facebook, “Voice Note,” producing “short videos that are not traditional, away from clients’ requirement,” he pointed out.

“A project where sincere voice notes [are] told by tortured souls,” the bio of the project reads. “I turn to that to produce short movies that are poetic, reaching the Egyptian and Arab audience,” he noted, adding that his short films have garnered impressive engagement, hitting more than one million views, as well as thousands of shares and comments.

Ashraf advises young filmmakers to start from social media, as it helped him a lot. He is now working on his first feature film. “I am looking forward to making movies that will be internationally and locally well received, gain the recognition of critics and audience, and be screened at prestigious festivals,” he said.

The post Power of social media: Young Egyptians turn to online platforms to spread their talents  appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/20/power-social-media-young-egyptians-turn-online-platforms-spread-talents/feed/ 0
Gender pay gap: Noticeable presence, slow decline https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/13/gender-pay-gap-noticeable-presence-slow-decline/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/13/gender-pay-gap-noticeable-presence-slow-decline/#respond Tue, 13 Mar 2018 12:30:37 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=653427 Everybody works to make a living, yet, it is not uncommon to look at the salaries of men and women and find a gap between their incomes that is hard to overlook, a phenomenon that has been occurring almost everywhere across the world. According to an infographic chart recently published by the Organisation for Economic …

The post Gender pay gap: Noticeable presence, slow decline appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Everybody works to make a living, yet, it is not uncommon to look at the salaries of men and women and find a gap between their incomes that is hard to overlook, a phenomenon that has been occurring almost everywhere across the world.

According to an infographic chart recently published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Korea has the widest gap between the pay of men and women as the struggle continues with clear economic inequality between the two sexes. In 2016, a male worker in South Korea would out-earn his female counterpart by 36.7%, Forbes reported. Japan came second with a close 25.7% gap between the pay of men and women.

In Europe, according to new data released during the first week of March by Eurostat, the statistics agency of the European Union, women on average earned 16% less than men in 2016.

“The Czech Republic, Estonia, and Germany reported the widest gaps although all three countries have seen them narrow in the last five years. With a widening pay gap of 21%, the UK ranks fourth, well above the European average,” The Financial Times reported.

The smallest gender gap was found in Romania and Italy, but according the OECD, these smaller gaps, especially in smaller economies, are often the result of what is known as the “selection effects”, as “only the more highly-qualified females tend to remain in the labour force.”

The gender pay gap has noticeably increased between 2011 and 2016 in countries such as Portugal and Slovenia. On the other hand, the most noticeable decreases were recorded in Romania, Hungary, Spain, Austria, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Overall, the gender pay gap has decreased by 0.6% in the EU since 2011.

In the United Kingdom (UK), women work for free more than two months a year as a result of the country’s gender pay gap, according to the Trade Union Congress (TUC), in a report published coinciding with International Women’s Day on 8 March. Based on the report, the TUC called upon the UK government to require employers to conduct audits and action plans to close the gap in their workplaces, The Guardian reported.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said that with all workers included, whether full-time or part-time, the gender pay gap is found to be 18.4%. “This means that women effectively work for free for the first 67 days of the year,” TUC said.

However, it is worth noting that in April 2017, the gender pay gap for full-time employees decreased to 9.1% from 9.4% in 2016, which is the lowest since the survey of the ONS started in 1997, as the gender pay gap was 17.4% before that. However, the gender pay gap still changed relatively little over the past few years, according to the ONS.

The 2017 Global Gender Gap report, published by the World Economic Forum, included 144 countries and attempted to show the magnitude of gender-based disparities, including those in incomes. The report’s findings said that the average progress generally made on closing the global gender gap stands at 68%. “This means that an average gap of 32% remains to be closed worldwide across the four Index dimensions in order to achieve universal gender parity, compared to an average gap of 31.7% last year,” according to the report.

“In 2017, out of the 46 countries in the high-income group covered by the Global Gender Gap Index, five have closed more than 80% of their overall gender gap, 26 have closed 70-80% of their gender gap, 14 have closed 70% -60%, and one country is yet to cross the 60% threshold. Among the 40 countries in the upper-middle income group, 21 have closed 70-80% of their gender gap, 17 have closed 60-70%, with two countries having closed less than 60%. In the lower-middle income group, out of 40 countries, one has closed more than 80% of its gender gap, nine have closed 70-80%, 26 have closed between 60% and 70%, and four countries have not yet reached 60%,” the report said.

In February 2018, Iceland announced that it is illegal to pay women less than men. However positive that sounds, this is the case in many countries where it is illegal to pay women less than men. “What makes the Iceland plan different is that the onus will no longer be on an employee to prove they are underpaid—which can involve years of court battle. It’s up to their boss to prove they are paying workers fairly as Iceland made it a criminal offence for employers not to take action on unequal pay. They’ve effectively made it like a health and safety violation,” the BBC reported, adding there will be a penalty for inaction which will trigger job evaluation schemes.

With hope on the horizon, there may be a chance for income equality soon and narrowing gender pay gaps over the few upcoming years as initiatives are taken by women across the world to demand equality in all life aspects.

The post Gender pay gap: Noticeable presence, slow decline appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/13/gender-pay-gap-noticeable-presence-slow-decline/feed/ 0
Pro-equality groups aspire for more dialogue on fair inheritance https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/13/pro-equality-groups-aspire-dialogue-fair-inheritance/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/13/pro-equality-groups-aspire-dialogue-fair-inheritance/#respond Tue, 13 Mar 2018 12:00:13 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=653432 Several days of protest continue in Tunisia by women's organisations to demand equality with men in inheritance rightsa

The post Pro-equality groups aspire for more dialogue on fair inheritance appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
Calls for equality between men and women in inheritance have arisen once again in Egypt, after protests continued in Tunisia by a number of women’s organisations to demand equality with men in inheritance rights.

Dozens of Egyptian social media users, women and men, have changed their photos on social media channels with frames including slogans of “equality in inheritance is a right not a privilege,” and further expressed solidarity with issue through opinion posts and hashtags.

Calls of equality between men and women in inheritance have long been an issue of debate. Supporters of the issue believe that females continuously inherit less than men, which is something that exposed many females to facing injustice. Meanwhile, others believe that calls of equality are in violation of the Islamic religion’s provisions.

Islamic countries’ judiciaries determine issues of inheritance according to Islamic law, which determines its distribution in all cases, as it stipulates that if a family consists of one man and two females, the man will inherit 50% of the wealth and each woman 25%. If a family is comprised of two men and one woman, each male will recieve 40% of the inheritance and the female 20%. In some cases, brothers of the deceased will join his or her sons in their inheritance.

 

Discussions over equality in inheritance is considered a taboo subject in the Arab world, for being considered an attempt to change the consistency of the Islamic religion and a violation of the Holy Quran’s verses.

“Allah instructs you concerning your children: for the male, what is equal to the share of two females,” reads verse 11 in Surat Al Nisaa of the Quran, which was used to legalise procedures of inheritance between men and women and determined different percentages among inheritances.  Demands to modify laws’ provisions to provide equal inheritance to women was not only demanded in Tunisia, as it was further called for by people of other Arab countries.

In a phone interview with Yasmin Osama, a mass communications lecturer, said, “clerics have always stated that provisions of Islamic law are eligible for every age and time. I see that they did not succeed in changing things or providing reasons in ways compatible with today’s conditions. When you ask any cleric: why do men receive more inheritance than women, they always respond that men are the ones in charge of spending, which is, in fact, not always what is really happening.”

She continued, “we can perform changes based on the modern conditions and changes of society and statistics showing that there is a large percentage of females who are breadwinners.”

Osama gave an example that a son can receive a greater share of his father’s wealth, regardless of the fact that he could be already receiving a high income, while his mother will take the lesser share and will be dependent on assistance from her son, who may not be willing to support her.

“In such cases, the wealth may not be large enough to secure a wife’s life, particularly if she is living alone and may be in greater need of financial support. Similarly, for a man who has only has daughters, their uncles will join their inheritance,” Osama said.

When asked what she thinks is the solution, she said, “Although I am not be the best candidate to discuss Islamic Sharia, but still, religious scholars should do their best to provide logical reasons for banning equality.”

She added, “I believe that there should be practical laws that will guarantee equality, from a material point of view. I don’t think that, in this case, it can be against Islamic religious teaching, but an attempt to avoid unfair situations for females,” noting that in several villages in Upper Egypt, men believe that sisters don’t have the right to inherit and the men are the ones that are in charge of managing their money.”

Solutions start when people admit that everything can be discussed far away from phases such as “this violates Islam, this will change religion” and understand that there are no taboos, Osama concluded.

Tunisia took a stance 

In August 2017, Tunisian President Beji Caid Essesbi expressed his support for the demand for equality between women and men in his country, and ordered a review of the laws of inheritance, which stipulate that men inherit double what women do. Also, the government set up a committee to prepare proposals that would allow women to give their children their family name and create equality between men and women in inheritance.

Tunisia has become one of the most advanced Arab countries in the area of women’s rights. In 2017, it lifted the prohibition not on Tunisian Muslims from marrying non-Muslims.

The decision was enthusiastically welcomed by various feminism groups who believe that families should have equal rights in inheritance to avoid being exposed to unfair situations by men in their families.

Women’s organisations in Egypt described the statements of the Tunisian president as progressive for women’s rights, and demanded finding solutions to be applied in Egypt, and discussed in a national social dialogue, in order to empower women.

The number of Egyptian families that are headed and supported by women has registered 34%, accounting for around 8 million families, according to a National Centre for Social and Criminological Research report released in November.

Previously, Hoda Badran, president of the Egyptian Women’s Union and the Arab Women’s Union, said in a press statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm that she strongly supports these demands, and that it was a courageous move by the Tunisian president, but difficult to apply in Egypt. However, women in Egypt have the right to compete with men in inheritance, especially that a majority of them are financially supporting their families.

On the other hand, Egypt’s Al-Azhar, the world’s most prominent authority on Sunni Islam, condemned the statements of the Tunisian president. “[The] concept of equal inheritance is against Islamic teachings. Equality in inheritance is unjust for women and is not in line with Islamic Sharia,” said deputy of Al-Azhar, Abbas Shuman, in a statement.

The post Pro-equality groups aspire for more dialogue on fair inheritance appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/13/pro-equality-groups-aspire-dialogue-fair-inheritance/feed/ 0
Instagram: New ad board for marketing business? https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/06/instagram-new-ad-board-marketing-business/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/06/instagram-new-ad-board-marketing-business/#respond Tue, 06 Mar 2018 09:00:23 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=652639 Platform is free marketing opportunity, win-win situation, says social media specialist 

The post Instagram: New ad board for marketing business? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
“Only through an Instagram account can anyone become a famous and successful business owner. Posting photos or ads on Instagram has become more effective than spending hundreds of pounds on billboards, TV ads, flyers, and street posters,” said Farah Sherif, a social media specialist.

Throughout the past three years, the popularity of Instagram has been strongly growing among worldwide users. Among millions of accounts on Instagram, some are personal ones, but a sizeable bulk of users are marketers. Instagram has become mostly a marketing platform, filled with photos of fashion, food, and other businesses’ products. It is the second most popular social media platform after Facebook, attracting more marketing and customers than other social media sites such as Twitter.

In a phone interview with Sherif, who is also food blogger, she explained how people can achieve fame through Instagram and to what extent marketing through social media, specifically Instagram, is powerful.

First of all, Instagram users are from specific social categories, but Facebook’s users are of all types. Bluntly, not all people have Instagram accounts, but now, rarely is there someone without a Facebook account, she noted, adding that marketing on social media varies from one platform to another. “We cannot deny that Facebook remains supreme as it has the largest number of active users worldwide who spend long hours on the platform. However, Instagram users interact and engage more with products,” she said.

Sherif continued that anyone can start any type of project on Instagram, believing that there is no doubt that it could ever fail due the strong customer engagement on the platform. Instagram is different than any other platform; people socialise and interact through photos and short videos, which is a method focusing on capturing live moments, she said.

Commenting on why brand owners prefer Instagarm, she said, “it is a free marketing opportunity and a win-win situation as the blogger, certainly a famous one, will post a photo with a commentary review, and in exchange, the brand owner will give them money or gifts or invitations to public events.”

“With a very low-cost, you can market your product to your target audience during your desired timing on Instagram,” Sherif said. This service or product can be food, catering, cosmetics, clothes, decorations, or accessories, among others, she concluded.

Food and nutrition marketing empire

No one can ever deny how Instagram boosted the food market in Egypt, through self-proclaimed “foodies”; those who continuously post photos of food and tagging the locations of different restaurants and spots.

Aya Hussien, 26, who considers herself an active user on Instagarm, said, “I know new food spots only through Instagram. I follow many foodies who regularly post about new restaurants. They are my source of information to learn about new places to enjoy on my weekends and try new cuisines. They also tell me about new offers and discounts. I also see their reviews as beneficial for me before jumping into any bad experience.”

Dozens of accounts publish photos of food with eye-catching filters, lights, and portions, along with a large number of hashtags so marketers can easily find them for business. People also create text or video recipes and post them to their accounts.

Food marketing on Instagarm is not only about restaurants; online catering projects are becoming increasingly prominent on the platform, as they publish their menus and list their numbers for orders.

Salma El-Banan, 23, said Instagram was the first thing that came to her mind when she wanted to make her sister a birthday cake. “On this platform, many accounts are making really amazing baked goods. I was able to surprise her with a very sweet candy corner, like those posted on Instagram.”

Moreover, Instagram also plays a good role in marketing healthy food through giving nutritionists space to market their recipes and post about them. Nermeen Wahby, a coach at BeFit (a fitness company), is followed by over 37,000 users. She helps others design and follow an eating plan that helps them meet their health goals. Wahby publishes, on a daily basis, new recipes for her followers, clarifying their nutrition facts. She also posts photos of those who followed her plans and succeeded in reaching their weight goals, in order to motivate her business.

Instagram is a good space for exhibiting art

Photographers, painters, designers, and other artists have found that Instagram is a good place for exhibiting and circulating their artwork and attracting fans and clients.

Nada Khaled, 25, has over 5,000 followers. She draws doodling sketches in notebooks and on other items. Her artwork on Instagram helped her doodle the walls of famous restaurants in Egypt, in exchange for payment, and marketing them on her page.

You can learn about beginner event designers who have great talent through Instagram, as they publish their designs which then attract people to request their services to decorate their celebration through very affordable packages.

Furthermore, in Egypt, makeup has become a form of art. One can find dozens of its artists on Instagram. Makeup artists’ presence has greatly increased on Instagram. Their accounts on this platform are more effective than any other social media platform due to their ability to upload visual content which is more effective at showcasing their skills.

“I don’t usually wear makeup. I am not very aware about famous makeup artists, but I know that there are a lot on Instagarm. For my engagement, I kept on searching through hashtags for the one who can offer me a very simple and decent look for that day,” said Sahar Saad, a 28-year-old dentist.

Fashion is dominating Instagram

Fashion bloggers, known on Instagram as fashionistas, are occupying a large share of the platform’s activities, making it more like something of a style blog.

Female users on the platform post their stunning photos, mentioning the brand of every piece of their clothing. At times, they could be wearing colours that are not even matching nor pieces that are particularly attractive. Nevertheless, they are more focused on marketing certain brands. In return, the brands send items from their new collections to those bloggers to further market them to the large number of followers they have.

In today’s age, Instagram has become a platform where anyone can start their business, promote a product, and quickly get famous. As such, many brands and services that first started on Instagarm have become very reputable among users. On this platform, the majority of users are famous people worldwide. Meanwhile, personal accounts are not as effective on Instagram compared to the prowess of public bloggers.

The post Instagram: New ad board for marketing business? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/03/06/instagram-new-ad-board-marketing-business/feed/ 0
Divorces on rise in Egypt due to traditional marriages, female empowerment  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/13/divorces-rise-egypt-due-traditional-marriages-female-empowerment/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/13/divorces-rise-egypt-due-traditional-marriages-female-empowerment/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 10:00:45 +0000 https://dailynewsegypt.com/?p=650222 In 2017, Egyptian census confirmed total number of divorced people reached 710,850

The post Divorces on rise in Egypt due to traditional marriages, female empowerment  appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
People can never know how long their marriage will last; it is always hard to know what will happen after a wedding. Once two partners get married, they never know what will meet them in the future.

Sometimes, it is understandable that two partners could get divorced because one of them was not interested from the beginning and was pressured by family or society, but it is difficult to understand the reasons why two partners who loved each other for years could suddenly decide to separate.

Divorce rates in Egypt have been on the rise during the past years. In 2017, the Egyptian census, according to the deputy minister of health and population, confirmed that the total number of divorced people reached 710,850. Divorce cases occur mostly in the age group between 25 and 30 years old. The causes of divorce are varied, including financial troubles, social incompatibility between spouses, lack of responsibility, drug addiction, and the interference of family and friends in married couples’ lives, all of which can lead to child exposure to violence, neglect, and school dropouts.

/

A total number of 240 cases of divorce occur daily in Egypt, making the country first in the world in terms of divorce rate, which rose to 40% over the past half century, at a rate of approximately one divorce every six minutes. The country, according to cabinet reports, has 2.5 million divorcees.

Divorces have become a disturbing phenomenon because they threaten social cohesion, especially in the presence of children, and the issue requires a community response to solve its causes.

In a previous interview with psychologist Hoda Zakariya, she highlighted that one of the main threats that would damage any relationship is being concerned on money more than the value of human beings especially in modern societies.

Focusing on the concept of fancy marriages is the reason why most relationships end, as in the beginning, they care for money, big apartments in high-class areas, and expensive jewellery and dowries, Zakariya said, adding that marriage should be accepted not just by the bride and groom, but also by the families of the bride and groom, and what is more attractive to parents is money and social class, believing that this what secures their children’s live.

“We can rarely find supportive families, who teach that life can began step by step, and that both partners should build their houses together, and that marriage life should be more important than money,” she said, noting that sometimes when a family accepts a partner who is from a lower social class or not financially the same as their children, they will never accept them on personal basis and will always show unflattering feelings towards them in way that could increase tensions between married partners.

The nature of marriage in our society has become based on a mere “contract,” in which both parties agree to a divorce benefits and what will happen after it, instead of agreeing on a way of life and understanding; everyone seems to only be concerned about planning how it will inevitably end.

Money has dominated the course of married life in our society, not only at the beginning and end of marriage, but also as husbands and wives seek money. The definition of happiness is believed to be summed up in a luxurious life more than about human coexistence of spouses and their children, the psychologist said.

Interference of family, relatives, and friends 

Zakariya explained that families have been greatly interfering in the lives of their married children, inciting partners against each other, instead of calming the situation and supporting them.

Nowadays, some brides and grooms tell each and every detail to their friends and parents, usually hearing different views that could be against the interest of their marriage which leads them to do things that would damage their lives in wedlock.

Mahera Mohsen, a 33-year-old divorced lady with one son, said, “my ex-mother in law was interfering in everything; my husband used to tell her everything happening between us, even our sexual relations. This was really always annoying me; I talked with him hundreds of times about changing this. I needed us to maintain our privacy as his mother was telling everything [about our marriage] to all his family members. He never listened to me and kept defending himself by saying that she is his mother and I have to accept this, otherwise we could split up.”

As a normal habit of human beings, when one feels depressed or upset, he or she chooses to go to a friend or relative, perhaps subconsciously, to confide in them their thoughts or sufferings, and in order to hear others’ views to fix their issues. Sometimes hearing what others could recommend for a certain problem could not be a solution for the issue, but an action that will perpetuate it.

By surrounding themselves with an environment of friends, or even parents, does not support the continuation of marriage, and could even encourage divorce, said Zakariya. She added, now we hear a lot of words like “why do you bear her or him, what forces you to do so?”

Violence is on the rise, females have changed

Zakariya, who is also a professor of sociology, emphasised that domestic violence is one of the manifestations of a feeling of inferiority of masculinity, as well as the absence of the concepts of pride and dignity, and a lack of respect for women, nor protecting and treating them well.

Maysa Mahmoud, 26, said after one year of marriage, her husband “started to slap me. This was really surprising at the beginning. I talked to him once, but he repeated it again. I was shocked because we used to love each other for four years; he was older than me by three years. I got divorced and I am completely fine with the decision, I can’t live with an aggressive man, despite how much I loved him. In the future, this would have impacted our children’s behaviours and respect for us.”

Moreover, in Egyptiann society, it was common for women to live for their men, take care of them, and respond to all their commands. Marriage was their only purpose; in their heads, there was no option but to be enslaved to their families and men, without it mattering whether the man was good or bad.

Feminism and education taught women how to be powerful, as they now can easily complain about flawed husbands without fear of being badly treated or assaulted, and can fight with them, and also even request a divorce in some cases, which was not the case in the past.

Females have become more independent and strong after being welcomed in Egyptian society to work and contribute to develop it, which resulted in adopting the idea that marriage is not a big deal and that women can live alone or can remain as single mothers who can perfectly raise their children, said Nourhan Saad, a journalist on feminism topics.

Generally, divorces happen when expectations of both couples are not met. One can have a perception in his or her mind while reality may be the complete opposite, which is why they get frustrated and seek divorce as the solution, Saad also said, adding that if there is no option to divorce, like in the past, people would remain married, but not necessarily happily married.

Moreover, Walaa Hassan, a 33-year-old divorced woman, said females have totally changed and are not weak as they use to be. Before, she said, females use to bear, wait, and try to be understanding, but now, they have less patience with men, and are not waiting for anything from them as they can work for themselves and earn money and go and enjoy their lives on their own.

Hala Hossam, a 40-year-old married woman, said that girls are no longer getting married just for the sake of being in a relationship and neglecting the responsibilities that come with marriage that they will surely face if they get marry very young without being sure if they are ready or not, and the same also applies to men nowadays.

It is also common for women to get pregnant a few weeks after marriage, Hossam said. However, they do not usually wait, as they should, for at least one year or a few months to make sure they are good partners for each other in marriage life, she added.

Parents themselves should provide their children with marriage awareness as sometimes, they are the ones who pressure people into disastrous marriages, she concluded.

The post Divorces on rise in Egypt due to traditional marriages, female empowerment  appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

]]>
https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/02/13/divorces-rise-egypt-due-traditional-marriages-female-empowerment/feed/ 0