Daily News Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Tue, 21 May 2019 20:00:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Omar Gaafar  appointed as vice president, investment banking at Renaissance Capital in Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/omar-gaafar-appointed-as-vice-president-investment-banking-at-renaissance-capital-in-egypt/ Tue, 21 May 2019 20:00:11 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698743 Omar will be covering Egypt and MENA, and will report to Amr Helal, CEO, North Africa. Omar will be based in Cairo, Egypt.

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Renaissance Capital, a leading emerging and frontier markets investment bank, announced on Tuesday, that Omar Gaafar has been appointed as Vice President, Investment Banking, in Cairo.

Omar will be covering Egypt and MENA, and will report to Amr Helal, CEO, North Africa. Omar will be based in Cairo, Egypt.

“We are delighted that Omar is joining the team. His extensive and strong experience will allow us to enhance our client offering. We are actively building our on-the-ground team in line with the expanding pipeline. Since the establishment of Renaissance Capital’s office in Cairo back in 2017, we have gained a strong local foothold in the MENA region, consistently growing our market share across the region and winning new mandates,” said Amr Helal, CEO, North Africa, Renaissance Capital.

Omar Gaafar, Vice President, Investment Banking, Renaissance Capital, said: “I am happy to join the

team at a time of its active development. Robust growth of the Egyptian economy bodes well for new

opportunities in M&A and capital markets. Renaissance Capital is ideally positioned to provide a full scope of investment banking services across the region.”

Omar brings over 10 years of experience in investment banking. In his most recent role as Associate Director at Beltone Financial, he was involved in the origination of major complex transactions and the execution of M&A and ECM deals.

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New Zealand Christchurch mosque attacker charged with ‘terrorism’ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/new-zealand-christchurch-mosque-attacker-charged-with-terrorism/ Tue, 21 May 2019 19:55:56 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698751 Man accused of gunning down 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch formally charged with terrorism

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New Zealand police said Tuesday they had filed a terrorism charge against the Australian national accused of killing 51 worshippers in attacks on Christchurch mosques in March. 

“A charge of engaging in a terrorist act under section 6A of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 has now been filed,” police said in a statement.

The offense carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment. It is also a test case for New Zealand’s Terror Law, which was enacted in 2002 following the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States.

The 28-year-old suspected white supremacist is also facing 51 murder charges and 40 attempted murder charges. 

He is currently being held in a high-security prison and has been ordered to undergo psychiatric assessment. His next court appearance is scheduled for 14 June.

The 15 March attacks on the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch were the worst shootings in New Zealand’s history.

The attack shocked the population and prompted the government to tighten the country’s Gun Laws. It also sparked widespread criticism on social media platforms, which allowed the lone gunman to livestream the massacre.

The New Zealand government has made a swift decision to make dramatic changes to Gun Laws after the deadly attacks. The ban applies to semi-automatic weapons and “military-style” semi-automatics· It also prevents people from owning parts, magazines, and ammunition that can be used to assemble prohibited weapons. It also banned semi-automatic shotguns which can be fitted with detachable magazines, and pump-action shotguns.

Christchurch has been on high alert since the attack. On 30 April, New Zealand police arrested a man in Christchurch following reports of a suspicious item at a property in the city. Police said a 33-year-old man was being questioned in relation to the incident in a residential neighbourhood of the city.

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Protesters continue their sit-in before defence ministry in Khartoum https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/protesters-continue-their-sit-in-before-defence-ministry-in-khartoum/ Tue, 21 May 2019 19:51:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698749 Last week, the Sudan's ruling Transitional Military Council and the opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change have agreed on the arrangements for the structure of the transitional authority within a three-year transitional period.

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Talks between the Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council and the opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change have failed to make a breakthrough on political transition in the country, the council announced early on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, protesters continue their demonstrations on the streets as well as a sit-in in front of the defence ministry’s headquarters in Khartoum. Protesters are calling for a swift transition to civilian rule and revenge for the dozens who were killed since protests swept across Sudan on 19 December.

Last week, the Sudan’s ruling Transitional Military Council and the opposition Declaration of Freedom and Change have agreed on the arrangements for the structure of the transitional authority within a three-year transitional period.

However, the two parties did not reach a decision on whether civilians or military men would control a sovereign council that would have absolute power.

In a statement on Tuesday, the council said that the main bone of contention remains between the two sides on the presidency of the sovereign council between civilians and military, and the percentage of representation of each party in the council.

The opposition blamed the military council for renewed violence in the streets last week, and complicating efforts to negotiate a handover after overthrowing former president Omar Al-Bashir who was toppled last month.

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General Prosecutor orders release of five prominent detainees https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/general-prosecutor-orders-release-of-five-prominent-detainees/ Tue, 21 May 2019 19:43:43 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698746 Detainees include Diplomat Maasoum Marzouk, economic researcher Raed Salama, geologist Yahya El-Qazzaz

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Egypt’s General Prosecutor released five prominent detainees, including former diplomat Maasoum Marzouk, and others who were charged of joining a banned group, local media reported on Monday.

The decision was published in the media according to judicial sources who indicated that the detainees will be released within hours.

The detainees include economic researcher Raed Salama, academic and geologist Yahya El-Qazzaz, and political activist Nermine Hussein.

Security forces arrested the five opponents after they criticised the current leadership nine months ago and have remained in detention ever since.

The prosecutors charged the detainees of joining a banned group and supporting its goals, receiving funds for terrorist purposes, disturbing public peace, security, and publishing false news.

Reuters quoted another security source as saying that the prosecution may decide to keep the cases under investigation, or refer the accused to a Criminal Court.

An official security source said that the decision comes in response to pleas by right groups and the detainees’ families calling for their release after coordination between security services and the prosecution, which has acquitted the defendants of the charges against them. 

On Friday, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree to pardon 560 prisoners of those convicted in cases between 2013 and 2017.

Prominent journalist Abdel Halim Qandil was among those pardoned based on their medical condition. Qandil was sentenced in October 2017 to three years in prison for insulting the judiciary and criticising court rulings. His sentence was upheld in October 2018.

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Shoukry, Furey discuss Egypt’s foreign policy, reforms https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/shoukry-furey-discuss-egypts-foreign-policy-reforms/ Tue, 21 May 2019 19:36:18 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698740 Canadian official also met with Grand Imam of Al-Azhar earlier on Monday

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Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, met on Monday with the Canadian Senate Speaker, George Furey, and discussed bilateral relations and Egyptian reforms.

During the meeting, Shoukry discussed with the Canadian official ways of boosting bilateral relations and asserted its importance on all levels for both countries, especially in light of Canada’s international influence in advancing peace and stability efforts in the region.

He also reviewed economic, social, and security situation developments in Egypt, and discussed ways of economic and investment cooperation.

The two officials also addressed giant projects implemented by Egypt and promising investment opportunities available for Canadian companies, as well as regional issues of common interest, including the situation in Libya

Shoukry further reviewed the principles which govern Egypt’s foreign policy toward regional crises, which aim to achieve security and stability and meet the aspirations of the peoples in the region.

Moreover, also on Monday, Furey met with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed El-Tayeb, who expressed the readiness of the world’s leading Sunni Islamic institution to boost cooperation and ties with Canada in order to serve as an example of coexistence and social peace on a global scale.

El-Tayeb noted that millions of students attend the Islamic institution, which has been playing a pioneering role for more than 1,000 years, adding that Al-Azhar has succeeded in establishing genuine communication between the east and west through dialogue with major religious institutions worldwide.

As for Furey, he said that Al-Azhar’s moderate dialogue contributes toward confronting terrorism and extremism, expressing his appreciation for its successes in establishing communication with various religions.

Since his arrival to Cairo, Furey also met with President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal, where they focused on boosting cooperation and mutual partnerships.

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Egypt name national team’s initial squad for AFCON 2019 https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/egypt-name-national-teams-initial-squad-for-afcon-2019/ Tue, 21 May 2019 19:28:44 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698681 The team is expected to enter a closed camp in Borg El Arab, Alexandria on 6 June to prepare for two friendly matches against Tanzania and Guinea on 13 and 16 June at Borg El Arab Stadium

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The coaching staff of Egypt’s national football team, led by Javier Aguirre, has announced the initial squad of the Pharaohs in preparation for the Africa Cup of Nations 2019 (AFCON) to be held in Egypt from 21 June to 19 July.

The team is expected to enter a closed camp in Borg El Arab, Alexandria on 6 June to prepare for two friendly matches against Tanzania and Guinea on 13 and 16 June at Borg El Arab Stadium. The squad saw the return of Abdullah El Saeed, Waleed Soliman, Ahmed Ali (top scorer of the Egyptian Premier League), and Ali Ghazal who plays in the Portuguese league.

The squad included 17 players in the local league, including five players from Pyramids, who are Ahmed El Shenawy, Ahmed Ayman Mansour, Nabil Emad, Omar Gaber, and Abdullah El Saeed. This is in addition to four players from Al Ahly who are Mohamed El Shenawy, Ayman Ashraf, Marawan Mohsen, and Waleed Soliman. Four players on the list are from Zamalek, including Mahmoud Abdelreheem, Mahmoud Hamdy, Mahmoud Alaa, and Tarek Hamed, in addition to two players from Smouha SC, who are Mohamed Abo Gabal, and Ahmed Aboul Fotouh, a player from Ismaily, Baher El Mohamady, and a player from the Arab Contractors, Ahmed Ali, in addition to eight players, including Ahmed El Mohamady (Aston Villa), Ahmed Hegazy (West Bromwich), Mohamed El Ninny (Arsenal), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Ali Gazal (Feirense), Amr Warda (Atromitos), Ahmed Hassan (Olympiacos), and Trezeguet (Kasimpasa).

In AFCON, Egypt was placed in Group A with Uganda, DR Congo, and Zimbabwe.

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CBE to consider interest rates on Thursday amid expectations of no change https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/cbe-to-consider-interest-rates-on-thursday-amid-expectations-of-no-change/ Tue, 21 May 2019 19:22:13 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698737 April's inflation slowdown is temporary, may pick up again by end-May: analysts, investment banks

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The monetary policy committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) will hold its third regular meeting this year to discuss the fate of interest rates, which is the most prominent indicator of the direction of interest rates on the Egyptian pound in the local market.

The committee’s meeting this time comes amid strong expectations that it will be stabilised at the same levels reached on 14 February, despite the decline in the rate of headline and core inflation at the end of April.

At its 14 February meeting, the committee decided to reduce the basic interest rates by 1% to 15.75% for deposits, 16.75% for lending, and 16.25% for credit, discount, and main operation.

On 28 March, the CBE disagreed with market expectations and decided to fix those prices at this level, despite expectations of a reduction.

The CBE reported drop in core inflation to 8.1% year-over-year (y-o-y) in April from 8.9% in March.

The monthly core inflation rate was 0.4% in April from 0.5% in March.

The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) said that the annual inflation of consumer prices index (CPI) in cities fell to 13% y-o-y in April, compared with 14.2% in March.

The CPI scored 308.1 points for April 2019, registering a rise of 0.4%, compared to March 2019.

Mohamed Abdel Aal, a member of the board of directors of the Suez Canal Bank and a banking expert, said that the changes in the international and domestic markets support the CBE’s trend to stabilise its interest rates, and weakens the trend to reduce them. He expected the CBE to cut interest rates in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2019.

Abdel Aal added that despite the decline in inflation during the month of April, yet removing subsidies and freeing the price of gasoline-scheduled for implementation starting next July-will lead to increased inflation again.

He pointed out that the exchange rate of the pound is stable and significantly improving, which may push the CBE to stabilise interest rates, so as not to pressure the local currency by raising or lowering interest rates, adding that the interest rate must be attractive to foreign investors in government debt instruments.

According to Abdel Aal, the CBE may also want to maintain the remarkable return on household savings to compensate for high inflation rates, and avoid possible inflationary pressures, especially as the country moves to liberalise energy prices in accordance with the agreed timetable with the International Monetary Fund in the second half of this year, in addition to rising global oil prices.

Furthermore, Abdel Aal pointed to the existence of external factors which could affect the monetary policy of Egypt, including the escalating trade war between the United States and China, which may push inflation to rise in the US, which may force the Federal Reserve to raise the interest rate on the dollar, which may be then force the CBE to raise the interest rate.

Tarek Metwally, a banking expert who predicted interest rates to remain unchanged on Thursday, also agreed, noting that the probability of keeping rates unchanged is greater than a cut in rates as the government moves to lift subsidies on fuel in June.

A report by the research department of HC Securities said that the MPC of the CBE will set the interest rate at its meeting scheduled for Thursday.

The research also expected the CBE to keep interest rates unchanged at its next three meetings, so that the market absorbs the first and second impact cycles to increase fuel prices.

“While monthly inflation was exceptionally low in April, it is expected to rise in May due to increased consumer demand during Ramadan,” Sara Saada, macroeconomic analyst at the company’s research department, said.

However, HC expects the CBE to resume its interest rate cuts by the end of Q3 or in Q4 of 2019 as prices stabilise but the reduction decision remains subject to the market’s position at the time.

In a research note issued by Pharos Holdings, it expected the pound interest to be stabilised at Thursday’s meeting, but also expected 100 basis points (bps) rate cut to 200 bps in Q4 of this year.

It pointed out that the monthly inflation figures were less than expected, pointing out that the discounts on food items by the government contributed to curbing inflation.

Pharos expected the annual inflation rate to rise again in the coming months due to the removal of fuel subsidies and for the headline inflation to increase by 3% in June and September, in conjunction with the beginning of the school year, which tends to come with 1% inflation increase.

On an annualized basis, Pharos sees inflation as between 12.5% and 13.5%.

The investment bank Shuaa also predicted that the CBE will keep interest rates unchanged until the end of the year, with Ramadan and Eid, followed by fiscal controls, expected to continue inflationary pressures.

In contrast, investment bank Beltone said there was a chance to cut the pound’s interest rate further by 100 bps at the MPC meeting on Thursday.

“In our view, the recent cut in interest rates ahead of February’s forecast, aimed to boost investor confidence, by sending a strong confidence message in the current monetary policy, as well as confidence in the local currency course.”

However, the most likely scenario is to cut interest rates by 100 bps by the end of the year, amid the repercussions of inflationary pressure as the automated fuel pricing mechanism is applied.

Fitch Ratings had forecast that the CBE would cut interest rates again by 100 bps during the rest of 2019.

The agency said in a report that the risks of further easing monetary policy maintains substantial risks.

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SODIC’s advance cheques for real estate projects reach EGP 4bn https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/sodics-advance-cheques-for-real-estate-projects-reach-egp-4bn/ Tue, 21 May 2019 19:17:13 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698735 Company disburses EGP 1.8bn out of EGP 3.2bn worth credit facilities

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Six of October Development and Investment (SODIC) has advance cheques worth EGP 4bn that have not yet been encashed, according to the company’s Managing Director and board member, Maged Sherif.

The company obtains advance payments and cheques covers for the full sales value in advance and before the delivery of units to customers.

Sherif told Daily News Egypt that the company has a strong financial solvency, liquidity, and credit facilities that are not fully utilized, thus SODIC does not need securitisation and avoids such an activity due to its high cost.

“We do not plan to launch a mortgage finance company currently, especially in light of banks’ high interest rate,” Sherif added, noting that his company is studying some innovative mechanisms and payment facilitations for customers wishing to buy any unit of SODIC’s projects.

SODIC has disbursed EGP 1.8bn of the total amount of credit facilities, amounting to EGP 3.2bn, according to Sherif.

“We are in the period of disbursement of these amounts of money and there are timetables for the repayment period of each loan and facility, and we use a large part of the credit facilities this year because we started construction in the current year,” Sherif said.

The company’s total land bank is 7m sqm. The company expects to achieve future sales of more than EGP 150bn over 10 years, he elaborated, pointing out that the company will also consider any strong and serious investment opportunity to appear in the market at any time in order to expand and diversify its projects’ portfolio.

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Trump says he can negotiate when Iran is ‘ready’ for talks https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/trump-says-he-can-negotiate-when-iran-is-ready-for-talks/ Tue, 21 May 2019 19:13:13 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698733 Saudi Arabia accused Tehran of being involved in alleged attacks on their crude oil pipeline

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United States President Donald Trump signalled he would negotiate with Iran, if Tehran took the first step on Monday, nevertheless he pledged to respond with “great force” to any threats from Iran.

“If they call, we will certainly negotiate, but that is going to be up to them,” he told reporters. “I only want them to call if they are ready.”

He also acknowledged his country had “no indication that anything has happened or will happen.”

Trump’s latest comments come amid fears of war between Washington and Tehran and a day after Trump himself threatened “the official end of Iran,” if the fight starts.

The US has been boosting its military presence in the Middle East, citing the risk of hostile actions from Tehran. Earlier this month, the Pentagon deployed an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf and started flying B-52 bombers on “deterrence missions” in the region. Last week, the US evacuated all non-emergency diplomatic staff from their Baghdad embassy and the Erbil consulate, and also put its troops in Iran and Syria on high alert.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia accused Tehran of being involved in alleged drone attacks on their crude oil pipeline and sabotaging oil tankers in the region.

On Sunday, a rocket landed near the US embassy in Baghdad, with no reported injuries. Some have speculated that Iran-allied militias were behind the attack, but the incident is still being investigated, according to US government sources cited by Reuters.

Early on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he was in favour of using diplomacy to overcome the crisis with the US, but added that conditions were not right.

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Egypt’s domestic debt exceeds EGP 4tn in December 2018: CBE https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/egypts-domestic-debt-exceeds-egp-4tn-in-december-2018-cbe/ Tue, 21 May 2019 18:59:57 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698731 The CBE said in its monthly report on Tuesday that the domestic debt reached 78.2% of GDP.

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The domestic public debt of Egypt reached EGP 4.1049tn at the end of December 2018, against EGP 3.887tn at the end of September 2018, up by EGP 220bn (5.66%), according to the Central Bank of Egypt.

The CBE said in its monthly report on Tuesday that the domestic debt reached 78.2% of GDP.

CBE added that this debt includes 85.3% owed by the government, 8.3% owed by public economic authorities, and 6.4% owed by the National Investment Bank.

According to the CBE, the net government domestic debt amounted to EGP 3.50tn at the end of December 2018, an increase of EGP 383bn compared to December 2017.

The net debt of public economic authorities amounted to EGP 340bn at the end of December 2018 with an increase of EGP 22.3bn compared to December 2017, while the net debt of the National Investment Bank reached EGP 263.1bn, with an increase of EGP 6.1bn compared to December 2017.

Moreover, Egypt’s external debt rose to $96.6bn at the end of 2018, compared to $82.8bn in 2017, an increase of 4.3%.

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Households electricity prices hike by EGP 4-93.5 per month https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/households-electricity-prices-hike-by-egp-4-93-5-per-month/ Tue, 21 May 2019 18:54:12 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698729 EGP 17bn proceeds of Electricity sector from price increases

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Egypt’s Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker revealed the new electricity prices, with an average increase of 14.9% to be implemented starting from next fiscal year (FY) during a press conference on Tuesday. The increase in the value of the electricity bill starts from EGP 4-93.5 depending on consumption.

According to Shaker, the first category in terms of consumption, from 0 to 50 kW’s new price is EGP 0.30; from 51 to 100 kW it is EGP 0.4; from 101 to 200 kW it is EGP 0.5,; from 201 to 350 kW it is 0.82; from 351 to 650 kW it is EGP 1; from 651 to 1,000 kW it is EGP 1.4, and the seventh bracket of more than 1,000 kW it is EGP 1.45 instead of EGP 1.35.

Furthermore, the ministry revealed that the consumption category between 101-200 kW has the highest number of electricity subscribers, with 9.5 million users, or around 36% of the total users, followed by the 201-350 with 6.8 million users, or 25.7%.

Shaker explained that the Ministry of Finance is still supporting the electricity sector by EGP 16.5bn billion during the fiscal year 2019/20, and that the result of the price increase of will be EGP 17bn.

The minister told Daily News Egypt that Shaker the prices remained low compared to neighbouring countries for ultra-high, high and medium-level voltage.

He explained that the factories bear a higher cost to support household uses and not to burden the citizens, adding that “ There is no other solution, there must be mutual subsidies”

He explained that the average price of the sale of electricity 96.1 piasters, and the average cost on the low voltage 114.2 piasters per kilowatt hour, did not increase the bill for electricity consumption of more than 1000 KW/h.

On the other hand, the tariff for ultra-high-voltage (UHV) consumers in FY 2019/20 will be EGP 1.09 per kW, increasing by 10%; EGP 1.17 per kW for high-voltage increasing by 9.1%; EGP 1.23 per kW for medium-voltage increasing 9.9%, and EGP 0.83 per kW for (LV) low-voltage increasing by 19%.

The tariff for the current FY was EGP 0.99 per kW for UHV consumers; EGP 1.08 per kW for high-voltage; EGP 1.12 per kW or medium-voltage, and EGP 0.71 per kW for LV.

LV consumers use medium, high, and ultra-high-voltage networks so its tariff is higher.

The new tariff was based on the dollar exchange rate between EGP 17.5-17.78 and a natural gas price of $3 per million thermal units, and in the event of a decline in the dollar rate, prices will be revised.

He said that the cost of natural gas on the state is more than $4.5 per million thermal units, and bought by power plants at $3. The fuel received by the electricity sector reached EGP 80bn, including EGP 66bn for gas so if the price paid is not real, a gap of EGP 37bn will be created.

The minister revealed that household consumption makes up around 42.1% of Egypt’s total electricity consumption, while industrial uses stand at around 27.9%.

Consumers of over 1,000 kW will pay more to subsidise low-income citizens.

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Fashionably featuring beguiling beauty of Maasai people https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/fashionably-featuring-beguiling-beauty-of-maasai-people/ Tue, 21 May 2019 14:30:48 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698665 Exhibition presents traditions of tribe through fashion eyes of photographer Zaher

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In what was planned to be a normal family tourist visit to Kenya, young photographer Amina Zaher could not help but twist it due to her passion, and view the life of Maasai tribe as one giant fashion show. The appealing, vibrant in colour outfits, were the famous designs which have been worn for thousands of years, yet are still trendy, and every passing person in Zaher’s eyes was a model awaiting to be internationally spotlighted, with the timeworn alleys of the ancient village being the runway through which swaying models took grabbed her heart. The photographs of Zaher’s 10-day visit brought her to her very first art exhibition, “Kenya Aesthetics.”

At Maadi’s Arcade Art Gallery, Zaher captured peoples’ hearts with her photographs in which she featured the large number of the Maasai people. Specialised in fashion photography, Zaher presented the life of the village in a creative way, through a number of art-directed photographs featuring the people in an authentic form without it being a “staged fashion photography or a candid documentary photography.” It was a passion-driven output, which reflected the “mutual visual, aesthetic, and intimate conversation that I was having with them,” as she described it.

“The moment I laid eyes on the people of the Maasai, I could not believe they were real. Their captivating skin tone, and the layered vibrant clothes, along with the way they mixed these things together–it was like they were out of this world,” Zaher told Daily News Egypt.

Through her project, Zaher aimed to let people explore the Maasai culture through her eyes, as a fashion stylist and art mixer. The 27 captured images brought the tradition of the Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting northern, central, and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, with their culture which has not changed despite being well-educated and capable of change.

“At first, I saw a number of them walking separately in Kenya, that is when I was moved and made the decision to photograph them. I asked the driver to take me into the village which was the heavenly gate to tremendous hidden treasures,” Zaher explained.

Like thousands of foreign photographers, Zaher was touched by the way the tribe is dressed in Shuka, which is a piece of fabric that can be worn in different styles, their huts which are mainly built of cow dung, marriage rituals that require women to shave their heads, and their lifestyle in which they drink blood. However, Zaher did not only capture random moments, she created that a mini setup to portray the images instead of just spontaneously snap them.

She captured the life of these people in thousands of photographs that were taken in a fashion composition, with fixed backgrounds from the same fabric people wore. She explained the reasons behind taking a photo with a background that is covered with the same fabric the model was wearing as it would grab the attention to peoples’ faces “which is most expressive.”   

“I was shocked with the fact that they willingly stick to the inherited tools, not because they are financially forced to, but beautifully because they are willing to; they still live in homes mainly made of cow dung, and wear the outfits their ancestors have been wearing for ages,” she added.

In her photographs, Zaher focused on human features and figures, something which she explained to be normal as the faces of the Maasai people are what attracted her the most, and also because it is a part of her professional photography experience.

“Each one of the people I came across had his/her own character, which is way more important that the way they looked like. Having a unique personality popping out of a photo is the whole target of photography,” Zaher asserted.

The exhibition runs until 30 May.

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Drugs, terrorism, judicial authorities’ bills top Parliament’s agenda in June https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/drugs-terrorism-judicial-authorities-bills-top-parliaments-agenda-in-june/ Tue, 21 May 2019 14:00:17 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698663 Parliament suspended general session until 9th of June

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Several government draft laws including combating terrorism, drugs, regulation of internal navigation, increasing pensions, amending the documentation, Real Estate Law, and the Judicial Authorities Law, are expected to be discussed during the last two months of the fourth legislative term following the end of the month of Ramadan and Eid (feast celebrations).

On 14 May, Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal suspended parliamentary sessions until 9 June. Over the past seven months since the beginning of the fourth session, specifically in October, the House of Representatives passed 76 bills, including reconciliations in building violation, real estate taxes, regulation of universities, the Weapons Law and the Education Law.

Parliament Spokesperson, Salah Hasaballah, said that currently there are number of important laws which should be urgently finalised including the judicial authorities bill and the Senate Law. Furthermore, Hasaballah said this will be linked to a number of complementary laws such as the Political Rights Law and the Division of Constituencies Law, which will come as an application of constitutional amendments, in addition to the existence of other laws such as criminal procedures and local administration.

“We are working through the arrangement of priorities, and therefore the discussion of the state budget is necessary, and we have to finish it before 30 June, so it currently tops the council’s agenda, and I think this would lead the parliament speaker to extend the current term in order to finish a number of important pending bills, but personally I think it is difficult to discuss these laws during the fourth term because of the lack of time,” he added.

Daily News Egypt reviews some of those bills, and the reason for their amendment and what are the significant changes expected for them.

Beginning with the anti-terrorism bill, it is set to face terrorist elements taking advantage of rented properties in order to facilitate the implementation of their crimes, or to hide weapons and explosive devices and harbour criminal elements.

The bill includes creating a system to regulate notifying the authorities about the rental of any apartment as a proactive step to prevent the threat of terrorism, and also to decide the appropriate penalties against those who violate this obligation.

 

The draft law could lead to the confiscation of any property in the event of being convicted of hiding terrorists, after the approval of the authority of the Public Prosecution or the competent investigative authority, and to close any property used for manufacturing or the design of weapons used in any terrorist crime.

Increasing Pensions Bill

The draft law will increase pensions, due to increase until June 30, 2019, according to Social Insurance Laws, by 15% of their value. This will start from next July, with a minimum of EGP 150 per month.

 

The bill also includes sets a minimum pension of EGP 900 per month as ordered by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, including all increases and subsidies, and the public treasury has to bear the financial burden of implementing these raises.

Amendment of the Constitutional Court Law

The amendment includes the replacement of the first and second paragraphs of the law with the following text: The President of the republic shall choose the head of the court from among the oldest five vice-presidents of the court. The President of the republic shall appoint the vice-president of the court from among two candidates, one of whom shall be appointed to the General Assembly of the Court. This will be amended in accordance with the recent constitutional amendment in April.

The Draft Law of Judicial Authorities

The recent constitutional amendments require amending legislations dealing with judicial authorities, the performance of the state council, the Supreme Constitutional Court, the General Prosecution and military courts.

The government-drafted law on the setting up of the Higher Council for Judicial Authorities was referred to the constitutional and legislative affairs committee to be discussed this week.

The list includes the law regulating the Supreme Constitutional Court Law No 48 for 1979, the Administrative Prosecution Authority Law No117 for 1958, the Military Prosecution Law No 25 for 1966, the Judicial Authority Law No 46 for 1972, and the State Council Law No 47 for 1972.

The council will be headed by the President of the republic and the membership of the president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, the president of the Court of Cassation, the president of the council of state, the Head of the State Litigation Authority, the president of the Administrative Prosecution Authority, the president of the Cairo Court of Appeal, and the General Prosecutor.

The draft law will amend Article 35 of the Administrative Prosecution Authority Act, the second paragraph of Article 16 of the State Litigation Authority Act, and the addition of an article number 55 of the Code of Military Justice and replace the article of the second paragraph of Article 44 of the Judicial Authority Law. This would be to stipulate that the President shall appoint heads of the Administrative Prosecution Authority, the State Litigation Authority, the military judiciary and the Court of Cassation, for a period of four years or for the remaining period until they reach retirement age-whichever is the earliest-one-time throughout the duration of his work.

The draft law also included the amendment of the first paragraph of Article 119 of the Special Judicial Authority Law in the manner of appointing the Attorney-General, to be by a decision of the President of the republic, out of three candidates nominated by the supreme judicial council. One would be for the post of vice president of the Court of Cassation, for a period of four years, or for the remainder of the period until he reaches retirement age, and for one time throughout his employment.

The President of the republic shall be informed of the names of the candidates before the end of the General Prosecutor’s term for at least 30 days, in the event of a non-nomination of candidates before the end of the period mentioned in the preceding paragraph, or the nomination of a number less than three, or the nomination of those who do not comply with the controls mentioned in the first paragraph.

The bill also included replacing the first paragraph of Article 83 of the of the State Council Law to specify the appointment of the president of the council of state from among the seven oldest vice presidents of the council for a period of four years or for the remaining period until retirement age, whichever is the nearest and one time throughout his term.

The Internal Navigation Draft

The internal Navigation Draft Law achieves a number of key objectives, foremost of which is to ensure the safety of internal navigation through the amendment of licensing rules and regulations for the management, use, and command of units and to allow them to avoid accidents caused by technical and human errors. This is in addition to encouraging investment in river transport through issuing licenses and controlling the ownership of river units by documenting all the actions contained therein.

The draft law also aims to establish databases for the river transport system and global river units which will be under the hands of the General Authority for River Transport so that it can be aware of all the actions which occur by the river unit and authorise the administration to control crimes determined by law.

In addition, it will include power of administrative withdrawal or cancellation of the license or reservation of the vessel in accordance with specific controls, as well as the authority to revoke licences or take necessary measures in order to ensure the safety of the passage of river units during navigation.

Combating Drugs Law

The amendment aims to add new kinds of narcotic drugs to the current list of drugs of the existing law, including the traditional types, and does not cover the materials which have been recently produced and became even more lethal than typical materials.

The draft law will contribute toward tackling the problem of narcotic drugs, both chemical and botanical, and will eliminate the Strox narcotic drug that a large number of people have recently been using, along with other new types of drugs which have negatively impacted the spread of domestic violence and crimes.

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Traditions, folk customs of Ramadan in Bosnia, Herzegovina https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/traditions-folk-customs-of-ramadan-in-bosnia-herzegovina/ Tue, 21 May 2019 13:30:31 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698657 Geographically, Bosnia represents the central, eastern, western and Herzegovina regions of the Neretva river basin region.

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The Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a Balkan country in south-eastern Europe. It is nearly a country that is closed off without any coasts except for a coast extending on 26 km on the Adriatic Sea. The difference between the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a geographical difference. The majority of them are Muslims.

Geographically, Bosnia represents the central, eastern, western and Herzegovina regions of the Neretva river basin region.

Bosnia and Herzegovina are considered a Muslim country and Muslims are called “Bosniaks”. The people of Bosnia and Herzegovina maintain their Muslim identity, which has not changed over time since the opening of Bosnia and Herzegovina by the Ottoman armies. The name of the capital Sarajevo is of a Turkish origin, and Muslims represent 80% of its population.

Welcoming Ramadan

Preparing for Ramadan starts a while before the month begins, as Muslims go about cleaning the mosques which volunteers and young people fill and decorate.

When the start of Ramadan is confirmed by the state, different forms of celebrations start in Bosnia, and you can see lanterns and lights everywhere.

Ramadan is considered a chance in Bosnia to spread the sense of takaful (sponsorship) and paying the debts of the indebted as well as collecting donations for the needy.

In Bosnia, Ma’edet Al Rahman (Mercy Table) brings together people of all religions and families, relatives and neighbours are all invited.

The historic yellow citadel is one of the most beautiful places chosen by the people of Bosnia for iftar (breaking the fast) given the beautiful view. From there, the Azan (call to prayer) and cannon (to signal the beginning of eating) can be heard throughout the entire city, announcing that it is time for iftar.

Firing the cannon is a tradition that developed in the 20th century and stopped during the period that followed WWII as firing cannons was banned. The tradition then came back to life in 1997, two years after the Bosnia and Herzegovina war.

Ramadan in Sarajevo is distinguished with a kind of pastry called “Somon”. Its distinctive smell and taste spread are noticeable in Ramadan, so the people of Sarajevo believe that the smell of Somon is the real smell of Ramadan, and that is why you can easily see long queues in front of bakeries during Ramadan.

Bosnian people prepare popular dishes that are specially made in Ramadan. One of their famous dishes is “Tupa”, which is a mix of eggs, milk, and cheese. It is served as a side dish. Also, specific kinds of bread are baked in Ramadan as a way of honouring for the month. Some of the most famous foods on iftar tables in Bosnia include pita bread, cabbage, stuffed turkey, salads, kabab, pies stuffed with meat or potatoes, cheese, and spinach.

In Ramadan in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the markets get crowded as the period between noon and afternoon witnesses great demand by fasting individuals who purchase their vegetable, meat, and legume needs to prepare iftar before Azan Al Maghrib (sunset call to prayer). Politicians and public figures in Ramadan in Bosnia pray Taraweeh (special Ramadan prayers) around the country without tight security.

After iftar and Taraweeh prayers, coffee shops open their doors before the people of the city and tourists from various countries.

One of the main things that distinguishes Bosnians is their strong connection to coffee. To them it is more than a drink that they have known since the time of the Ottomans. Coffee is a national drink and all families have manual copper devices to crush and brew coffee.

One of the main daily habits of Bosnians in Ramadan includes reading the Qur’an during the period from noon to afternoon. This allows Bosnians who do not know Arabic to listen to Qur’an in Arabic. In the capital, Sarajevo, a Ramadan Festival is organised to offer many cultural, social, and religious activities such as a group iftar, shows, and classes in mosques. The festival starts on the first day of Ramadan at the yellow citadel. The activities continue in various historic buildings in the city.

The people of Bosnia get excited about the Eid (feast) following Ramadan and congratulate one another. Their main traditions before the Eid are decorating homes, spraying nice-smelling air fresheners, and wearing new clothes. Usually, the first day of the Eid is devoted for family and cemetery visits. Bosnians also have the habit of giving young children money during the Eid.

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Daily News Egypt test drives Audi A3 https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/daily-news-egypt-test-drives-audi-a3/ Tue, 21 May 2019 12:30:49 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698649 To appreciate the beauty of A3, it must be seen at night on the dark roads being equipped with intelligent LED lights which melt your mind and make you fall in love with the car immediately.

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Exterior design

The Audi A3, of course, is based on the A family’s design guidelines, but on a smaller and more sporty structure that specifically meets the requirements of young people, from the hood lines and the 16-inch sports rims to the great design of the headlamps, reflecting the sporty identity mixed with the beautiful spirit.

For the rear part of the vehicle, we can find an attractive trunk with simple taillights. The aerodynamics of the car have been developed significantly, reaching the highest speed in record time.

To appreciate the beauty of A3, it must be seen at night on the dark roads being equipped with intelligent LED lights which melt your mind and make you fall in love with the car immediately.

Cabin

The A3 is very impressive in all its parts, but the most distinctive feature of it is the cabin. The car is predominantly sporty, but the cabin is characterised by a simple blend of luxury and simplicity. The steering wheel is a multi-function wheel that helps the driver to focus on driving only because it provides control over most of the car’s functions. It can be used to switch gears, control the entertainment system, make calls via Bluetooth, and access navigation computer. The driver can also use the cruise control from the back of the steering wheel.

Looking behind the wheel, we find a carefully selected harmonised colour display panel, but more than that, the animated information screen, which mediates the 12.3-inch car dashboard, gives you enough information about the car’s parts and systems, as well as navigation systems. 

Engine and performance

The A3 is small but comes with a revolutionary three-cylinder engine with a turbocharger that delivers 115 HP at 5,000 RPM and a 200 Nm torque, linked to a 7-speed S-Tronic automatic transmission, to easily nail a zero-to-100 km/h pull of 9.9 seconds, a limit we have reached during our test drive and not in similar driving conditions to those experienced by the company’s drivers but on Cairo streets. The car’s top speed is 280 km/h.

We used some car enthusiasts to test the engine’s ability without first knowing the car’s specifications. We asked what they expect the size of the engine, they all said it must be over 1.4 litre with a turbocharger. When we told them the real engine capacity, some doubted us.

This small engine has made the small car so graceful, adding to its unforgettable sporting personality.

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Info-graph: New electricity tariffs for households https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/info-graph-new-electricity-tariffs-for-households/ Tue, 21 May 2019 12:14:11 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698655 The post Info-graph: New electricity tariffs for households appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Why Egypt dominates squash: juniors’ training plans, says Khalifa https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/why-egypt-dominates-squash-juniors-training-plans-says-khalifa/ Tue, 21 May 2019 12:00:02 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698646 We rely on Ministry of Youth, Sports for funding

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Egyptian squash occupies a significant position in the world at the present time, where the top 10 rankings in early May included five Egyptian players, comprised of four players in the top five ranks, namely Ali Farag, Mohamed Shorbagy, Tarek Moamen, and Karim Abdel Gawad, in addition to Mohamed Aboul Ghar in ninth place.

On the women’s level, the list of top 10 players in the world includes four Egyptian women, among them are the first three players, Renem Al-Waili, Noor Sherbiny, and Nour El Tayeb, along with Nouran Gohar in seventh place.

With this great distinction and clear Egyptian control of the game in the world, Daily News Egypt spoke with Assem Khalifa, head of the Egyptian Squash Federation, about the reasons for the success of the game in Egypt, and the plans of the federation to maintain this excellence, the transcript for which is below, lightly edited for clarity:

What explains the superiority of the Egyptian squash globally during this period?

Squash in the whole world happens to be controlled by some countries, such as sometimes England, Australia, and Pakistan. Egypt is one of the oldest unions established in 1931. There was Egyptian control over intermittent times, such as Abdul Wahid Abdul Aziz, Abdel Fattah Abutaleb, and others. With the current federation, we put a plan based on the continuity of generations, started 10 years ago. We dealt with squash as a product that needs a lifecycle to reach the production stage. The main dependence in this plan is spending on the juniors’ sector, as developing squash champions needs seven years, starting with youngsters who are 10-years-old.

What are the sources of funding?

We rely on plans with the ministry of youth and sports. We present a study to the ministry against results. With these results, we are fully committed to the ministry. This has happened with all ministers who took the post, even the current minister, Ashraf Sobhy.

How much is the squash federation’s budget?

The budget is EGP 4-5m per year. We look at plans which require expenditures. We are working to provide private resources. We do not rely solely on government support. What happens is that we send out our plan for the size of the activity and the expenses involved–not a fixed figure. Sometimes, we continue what we did to maintain our plans with sponsors. We, however, have a fixed sponsor, namely the Commercial International Bank (CIB), which helps with many tournaments and plans at variable numbers. Dealing is done through specific suggestions we present to them in order for them to study and either approve or decline them based on the study. The CIB has been our strategic partner.

What are the preparations for the Women’s World Cup in October?

The organisation of the Women’s World Cup in October in Cairo is funded by the International Federation through its committees which work in cooperation with the Egyptian Federation, because these competitions require a substantial effort and spending which burdens the Egyptian Federation. The establishment of stadiums is beyond our capabilities, which focuses only on the players. In previous times, Al-Ahram has been organising competitions for 15 years. It was of great benefit to the game and pushed it forward. Under the current circumstances, no one can replace it except for the attempts of some businessmen such as Naguib Sawiris in the El-Gouna Championship, Hisham Talaat Moustafa with the Madinaty Championship, or Ahmed El Abd with the Black Ball Competition. These are the developments of what Al-Ahram did. Presentation only focuses on football, and it generates their revenues and plans. Those who organise squash tournaments do not earn much but do it for the love of the game.

How much does it cost to organise a tournament?

The cost of organising a tournament for squash is EGP 6m. Egypt is not a rich country but we are proud to have four major competitions like the United States despite the huge economic differences between the two countries.

Why is squash described as the game of the rich?

The shift from hobby to professionalism is what makes some feel that the game is dominated by the rich since spending has grown. The racket alone costs EGP 3,000 and players need special shoes, a good trainer, and other requirements. The lack of infrastructure for the game also limits where it can be practiced.

Does the federation use foreign trainers?

The federation does not rely on foreign coaches at all. Egypt exports trainers abroad. The salaries for top notch trainers could reach EGP 50,000 per month.

How much time is needed for training?

The good player would spend six hours of training per day. Good players know how to organise their time well.

Is squash a financially profitable game?

Good players earn well, but they have to dedicate their lives to the game. The currency floatation contributed to maximising the value of the awards. One of the reasons why squash is successful is the presence of role models like Aly Farag, Nour Sherbiny, Tarek Moamen, Nour El Tayeb, and Ranim El Walily among others.

Does the federation have a role in the sponsorship contracts?

The federation is not a party to private sponsorship contracts between players and companies, but it is a party to the contract between the player and the club. The federation has a limited role for ranked players and focuses on juniors. We already cared for professional players until they reached their current positions.

What is the difference between the Squash Federation and the other federations?

The administration is prudent and wise to manage squash, based on a strong history. It can be said that the success of the Squash Federation may have not occurred if the administration was focused on other games. Squash has some advantages, as the federation continues to develop plans to stay atop the global ranking.

Are there plans for your sports investment?

So far, there are no plans for sports investment. After the new rules, there are new clubs which we came up with. We have economic ideas which we are studying and we need the right time and climate.

How did Egyptian women excel in squash?

Women know how to adapt their own lives, the federation does not intervene, and treats all equally. This is shown by the fact the both men and women are excelling on global rankings. 

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“Kushaf”: most famous Ramadan drinks https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/kushaf-most-famous-ramadan-drinks/ Tue, 21 May 2019 11:30:17 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698641 In Egypt you would see Egyptian families' great demand for Yamish, and each Egyptian kitchen would have Kushaf where a mix of Yamish is prepared.

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One of the most authentic Egyptian traditions is buying Ramadan “Yamish” to make “Kushaf” and other kinds of Ramadan sweets. 

Many history scholars believe that eating Yamish dates back to ancient Egyptians who made sweets and decorated them for children to eat.

Yamish is an Egyptian word used in the Fatimid era. It means dried fruits and nuts. Dried apricots, figs, coconut, hazelnuts, peanuts, and cashews are among the main types of Yamish.

The caliphs in the Fatimid era would distribute Yamish to the poor all Ramadan.

In Egypt you would see Egyptian families’ great demand for Yamish, and each Egyptian kitchen would have Kushaf where a mix of Yamish is prepared.

Egyptians usually began the habit of buying Ramadan Yamish during the reign of the Fatimid state in the period 365 AH – 567 AH, which ruled Egypt for some two centuries.

One of the most famous selling markets of Yamish in Egypt is the Qusun area founded by Prince Saif al-Din Qusun at Bab Al-Nasr street during the 18th century AH. The market was the destination of most merchants coming from Syria and with their goods of oil, soap, pistachios, hazelnuts, and walnuts to be sold before Ramadan.

The market of Yamish moved in the 9th century AH to the area of ​​Gamaliyah and then to Boulaq Abul Ela, then to Rawd al-Farag and then to Souq El Sokareya, which sells varieties of Yamish and Ramadan drinks as a main commodity provided as a kind of entertainment and also to guests and it is likewise given to children who carry lanterns and roam around houses singing famous Ramadan songs.

Kushaf means a drink made from dried fruits, dates, and raisins drenched in water. It is a word of Persian origin.

Qamar Al Din

Ramadan drinks vary, but the most famous of them all is Qamar Al Din. It is famous in the entire Arab world and is made of squeezed and dried apricot kept in plastic packages. It then drenched and has sugar added to it before it is ready for drinking.

It is said that the origin of Qamar Al Din dates back to 1400 AH in Syria which was famous for making it. It is believed that Al Waleed bin Abdel Malik, the Umayyed caliph, used to order the drink to be distributed to the people in celebration of Ramadan.

Liquorice juice

Ancient Egyptians used the drink Liquorice juice as a treatment for stomach diseases, which is why they called it the Royal Drink. Doctors would mix it with bitter medications to hide its taste, but it has then become the drink of the public in the Fatimid era.

The character of the Liquorice juice seller is folkloric with special distinctive clothes and statements he repeats.

Liquorice juice comes from a plant found in Syria, Europe, and Egypt but is mainly famous in Egypt as a Ramadan drink.

Jallab

It is one of the drinks Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine are famous for. It is a mix of dates, grapes, water, rose water, pine, and raisins.

Carob

It is famous in the Mediterranean region as it is cultivated in Libya, Palestine, levant, Morocco, and Cyprus. It moved from there to Ramadan tables through Arab merchants. It treats illnesses of the respiratory system. It was mentioned in the Bible under the name “Bread of St Hanna”. Carob is drenched in water for several hours then filtered and has sugar added to it.

Tamarind

It is a drink coming from India. The pulp of the Tamarind is soaked in water and mixed with hibiscus and you can have it during iftar because it counters thirst.

Sobia

An Egyptian drink made from coconut, milk, and sugar or honey. Some say it dates back to the era of Mamluks.

Vemto

Vemto first appeared in Manchester city in Britain as a healthy alternative for beer. It was marketed as a drink that gives energy and vitality. It is one of the most famous drinks in Gulf countries as about 35m bottles of Vemto are sold every year, and half the quantity is sold in Ramadan.

Doum

Recently added to the list of Ramadan drinks, doum is a tree found in Africa and Upper Egypt, and has many medical benefits. It is known that Doum is one of the juices which treats stress, cools the body, and improves digestion.

To get doum, soak it for a long time in water or boil it and add sugar and filter it.

Abri

It is one of the main drinks on a Sudanese table, as it gets prepared even before the start of Ramadan. It is made of white corn sprayed with water until it blossoms then left under the sun. Corn is then minced and mixed with sweet spices like cinnamon and ginger. It is mixed and left for fermentation and subsequently shaped into circular slices heated on stoves and put away until Ramadan. It helps those who are fasting resist thirst.

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Forgotten sites in El Gamaleya District https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/forgotten-sites-in-el-gamaleya-district/ Tue, 21 May 2019 11:00:06 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698643 Visitors have to inter into El Gamaleya district through Bab El-Nasr gate, and on the right side after entering, people see Wakala al-Sultan Qaytbay.

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El Gamaleya District is one of the main historical areas in Cairo. This area has traces of Islamic civilisation from the Mamluk era. Although this area has many historical sites, however El Gamaleya district is best known only for Al-Mu’izz street–yet there are many forgotten places in this district.

It is said that El Gamaleya is named after prince “Jamal al-Din Mahmud al-Istdar” due to the school built by him in 1409 AH. That school was one of the greatest schools in Cairo. Al-Istdar  was a Mamluk prince from the reign of the Burji Mamluks. The Burji dynasty was a Circassian Mamluk dynasty which ruled Egypt, in the Mamluk Sultanate.

Visitors have to inter into El Gamaleya district through Bab El-Nasr gate, and on the right side after entering, people see Wakala al-Sultan Qaytbay.

Wakala al-Sultan Qaytbay

The Wakala was an inn built by Sultan Qaytbay in 1481 AH, and it was called the dishisha inn which translated into English is crushed corn or barley. People named the inn dishisha because after the pilgrimage season, Qaytbay built the inn and decided that with all the profits, he would buy crushed corn or barley and distribute it to the poor.

Khanaqah Baybars al-Jashankir and the worst months for Egypt

Baybars al-Jashankir was a Circassian Mamluk of Sultan Qalawun. Baybars’s name is a Turkish-Mongolian name, which stands for cosen by the Lord, and his title was al-Jashankir which described his job in Persian, as Jashnkir means food connoisseur, He was the Mamluk prince who tastes the sultan’s food to make sure it is not poisoned.

Al-Jashankir ruled Egypt in 1308 AH for a period of nine months, which were the worst months for Egypt. Nile flooding had declined, leading to lack of planting due therefore non-existent taxes. The Khanaqah is equal to the university nowadays. The Khanaqah was described as the most beautiful Khanaqah in Cairo. The Khanaqah and the golden Quran which currently located in England are the only archaeological monuments left by the Sultan Baybars. The Khanaqah had a kitchen which distributed on a daily basis meat, rice, bread, and sweets to the Sufis and the poor living there.

Bayt Al-Suhaymi and marriage proposal

This place has a different story, it is said that in the house, there is a Mashrabiya overlooking the courtyard of the house and when a groom comes to propose to one of the girls in this house, she will look at him from the Mashrabiya and if she accepts his proposal she will throw her handkerchief as a sign of approval.

The house is an old Ottoman era house, built by Abdel Wahab el Tablawy in 1648.

Wekalet Bazaraa, is the reason why coffee is associated with Egyptian funerals

Wekalet Bazaraa was built in Egypt during Ottoman era in the 17th century by Hassan Kutkhda. This Wekala was for selling wood. Then Muhammad Bazaraa bought Wekalet Kikhya, Bazaraa was a coffee merchant, so he dedicated it for the sale of Nabulsi soap and Yemeni coffee.

At that time, people loved coffee and drank it in excess, which made scholars issue a fatwa prohibiting coffee.

The traders demonstrated against the judge, and many traders died during the clashes between the judge and the merchants. So, the ruler changed the judge who permitted drinking coffee so people drank coffee during the funeral of the traders. From here on Egyptians got used to drinking coffee in funerals.

The seat of Prince Mamay al-Sifi or Bayt el Aady, the judge’s house

The seat is part of the palace of Prince Mamay al-Sifi, which was built in 1469 AH. The prince was responsible for the army’s weapons in Sultan Qaytbay region.

The length of the seat is 32m and the ceiling height is 1,120m. The prince used to sit in this place to watch the military parade.

Then the seat was named after the judge’s house because it became the judges’ headquarters during the period of the French occupation.

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Women availed from Takaful, Karama programme cap 88% of total beneficiaries https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/women-availed-from-takaful-karama-programme-cap-88-of-total-beneficiaries/ Tue, 21 May 2019 10:09:52 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698639 This is in addition to supporting women to benefit from the Takaful and Karama programme, where the percentage of women benefiting from it exceeded 88% of the total beneficiaries of the programme

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Minister of Social Solidarity, Ghada Waly, said that her ministry is keen on supporting and empowering Egyptian women at all levels, starting by economic empowerment through to the provision of thousands of jobs and projects–mainly Mastoura projects which facilitated the establishment of more than 17,000 projects.

This is in addition to supporting women to benefit from the Takaful and Karama programme, where the percentage of women benefiting from it exceeded 88% of the total beneficiaries of the programme. Furthermore, the ministry has established centres to host battered women who are exposed to any kind of violence.

She mentioned that the hosting centres are among the most important means of the ministry of social solidarity to protect women who are victims of violence, through the provision of housing, care and rehabilitation shelters.

The minister highlighted that in Egypt there are eight housing centres located in Cairo; Giza; Qaliubiya; Daqahleya; Alexandria; Minya; Beni Suef, and Fayoum.

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“Cover Up Your Daughter, So Men Can Fast Appropriately,” campaign evokes anger https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/cover-up-your-daughter-so-men-can-fast-appropriately-campaign-evokes-anger/ Tue, 21 May 2019 10:08:27 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698633 Men used the hashtag "cover up your daughter, so men can fast appropriately," believing that indecent clothes worn by women during Ramadan distract men from their fasting. On the other hand, the people who refused this campaign explained that that this it is insulting to women.

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Men: “Please, dress modestly in public so that we can fast appropriately, as we are in the holy month of Ramadan. Also dear parents, please ensure that your daughters are modestly dressed in public.

Women: “We cannot understand the relationship between your fasting and our clothes?!”

Men: “Indecent clothes worn by you during Ramadan distract us from our fasting.”

This dialogue is not an imaginary one, but a realistic combative conversation that took place and recently went viral on social media platforms between Egyptian females and males under the hashtag of “cover up your daughter, so men can fast appropriately”, calling on parents to ensure that their daughters dress modestly in public so that males can fast.

Men used the hashtag “cover up your daughter, so men can fast appropriately,” believing that indecent clothes worn by women during Ramadan distract men from their fasting. On the other hand, the people who refused this campaign explained that that this it is insulting to women.

Therefore Daily News Egypt investigated further into this social, male-dominatedconflict that is occurring on social media, to receive extra information regarding the opinion of the Egyptian street on this campaign, and to reveal the reasons behind the campaign.

Naturally, women and most of the society became more aware about women’s rights and revealed to DNE that this campaign is really insulting to women.

For her part, 26-year-old Aliaa Ahmed, told DNE that she is completely against this campaign, explaining that it gives an excuse for sexual harassment for it leads to questions such as “what makes her dress this way?” or “why did she go to this place?” All these questions are excuses for sexual harassment.

Agreeing with Ahmed, Mona Abdel Satar, 36, stated that in addition of giving an excuse to sexual harassment, it is considered an insult to women, giving men the right to control how women can dress.

“The difference between the human creatures and animals, is that human creatures can control their sexual urges while animals cannot, so if men even saw an undressed woman they should respect her and must not to look at her as Islam ordered them,” she asserted.

On the other hand, a 40-year-old woman called Hanya Ali told DNE that she agrees with the campaign explaining that according to religion, intercourse could be performed through eyesight therefore by dressing inappropriately women encourage men to commit a sin.

“I think it’s not wrong to advise each other in order to gain entrance into heaven,” Ali said.

“In Islam, no one must see a female’s beauty except her family,” she added.

At the same time, Ann Gamal, 26, stated that maybe the founder of the campaign’s intention was to change or encourage people to do their best during the holy month of Ramadan which is known for purification of the soul and body, however the way they abused it and the hashtags that they used are really in bad taste and reflect negative intentions toward people.

She called on the founders to apply moderation and to apologise for this distasteful campaign.

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Women’s participation in Ramadan series https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/21/womens-participation-in-ramadan-series/ Tue, 21 May 2019 10:07:17 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698632 Daily News Egypt dug deeper to learn more about women's participation in most series.

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Ramadan season is known for the production of a large number of series, but unfortunately this season witnessed the least number of series since 2010– only 25 series.

Having 25 series only in this season compared to 30 series in last Ramadan seems negative, but the question is has this decrease impacted women’s participation in Ramadan series, both in front, and behind the camera?

Daily News Egypt dug deeper to learn more about women’s participation in most series.

Only Eight eight dramas only include female lead characters

There are 25 series this year, and from them there are only eight dramas that which included female lead characters.

The eight dramas are “Zai El Shams” (like the sun), starring Dina Al-Sherbini; “Hadotet Mora” ( Story of Mora), starring Ghada Abdel Razek; “Hekayty” (My story), starring Yasmin Sabry; “Badal Al Hadota Talata” (Instead of one story there are three), starring Dounia Samir Ghanem; “Super Mario,” starring Emy Samir Ghanem; ” Priness Bissa” , starring Mai EZZ ElDein, and finally the last one is ” Mamlaket ElGhagar,” (Kingdom of gypsies), in which there is an equal starring lead roles between Fifi Abdo and Horaya Farghaly.

Compared to last year, where there were 30 series, with 11 dramas which included female lead characters or equal leads between males and females. For women lead characters were only seven.

The 11 dramas were “Ekhtefa” (Disappearance), starring Nelly Karim; “Ded Maghol”, starring Ghada Abdel Razek; “Laanet Karma” (Karma’s Curse), starring Haifa Wahby; “Rasael”, starring Mai Ezz Eldin; and “Mamnoa El Ektarab wel Tasweer” (Approach and Photography are Forbidden), starring Zeina. In addition there were “Ladina Akwal Okhra,” (We Have Other Statements), starring Yousra; “Malika” for Dina El Sherbiny; “Azmy wa Ashgan”, starring Emy Samir Ghanem; “Layaly Eugene”, starring Amina Khalil, and “Bel Hagm El Aely”, starring Mervat Amin.

Maryam Naoum is still the most prominent name in terms of writing dramas

Maryam Naoum is still the most prominent name in terms of scriptwriting when discussing women in the field of drama series.

Despite the fact that Naoum is always proving that women can be perfect screenwriters, however, unfortunately, this season she is considered the only writer.

Naoum is participating in this Ramadan season as the director of the writing team in the series of “Zai El Shams,” (Like the Sun).

This is considered a very limited contribution for women; it is less than 1%.

That situation is not too different from the situation last year, where there was also– in addition to Naoum–Enjy El Kasem and Sama Abdel Kahlek who co-write the “Layaly Eugene” series.

Thus the situation became increasingly disappointing.

Like last year only one female director

Unfortunately, last year there was only one female director among the 30 series, who was Hala Khalil in “Bel Hagm El Aely.”

This year also there is only one female director also who is Sheren Adel who directs two series which are, “Sha2et Fesal,” (Fisal’s Flat), and “Hogan.”

Meanwhile the absence of Kamla Abou Zakry this year from this season remains quite disheartening.

Noteworthy, it was planned that the series of “Zai El Shams,”(Like The Sun) was to witness a beautiful cooperation between directors Abu Zakry and Naoum, who worked together before in three successful series during past years, namely ” Zaat,” ” Segn El Nasa,” (Women`s prison,) and “Wahet El Ghorob,”( Sunset Oasis).

But unfortunately, this cooperation failed this season due to a disagreement between Abu Zakry and the producer which lead to the withdrawal of Abu Zakry from completing the directing of the series and she was replaced by director Sameh Abdel Aziz.

Unfortunately, no women in the shooting field 

This year witnessed the absence of the name of Nancy Abdel Fattah who is considered as the only female name in the field of shooting, whether in cinema or television.

Most of dramas this year have been based on folk songs

Most of the dramas this year have been based on folk singers rather than on tunes with singers’ voices.

Furthermore, we hear the voice of Angham singing the song of the introduction of “Hekayet Mora,” and the voice of Carmen Soliman in the introduction of “Hekayty,” in addition to the voice Donya Samir Ghanem in the introduction of ” Badal Al Hadota Talata.”

Meanwhile, most of the dramas last year have been based on musical tunes rather than on tunes with singers’ voices.

Furthermore, we heard the voice of Angham singing the introductory song of the “Mamnoa El Ektarab wel Tasweer”(Approaching and Filming are Forbidden), and the voice of Nesma Mahgoubin in the introduction of “Layaly Eugene,”in addition to the voice of Yasmin Ali on the introduction of “Amr Wakeaa” (A Matter of Fact), as well as Elissa’s voice in “Rasael.”

Therefore, last year there were also three female singers.

Monopoly dominates production scene in Ramadan

This season witnessed the monopoly of the Synergy company for most series, where it produces 15 series out of the 25 ones being broadcasted, representing 60% from the total number of series this year.

Hence this led to a decreased competition in general and no female producers this year.

Compared to last year, the number of producers last season reached 22, but unfortunately there were only two female producers: Maha Selim for “El Rehla” (The Trip) and Mona Kotb for “Bel Hagm El Aely.”

Finally, this season appears rather unsatisfactory in terms of female representation especially behind the camera. But we hope to see a better representation next year compared to this one.

Also in hope to see a better portrayal of women this season than any year before, and in that context, the President of National Council of Women (NCW), Maya Morsi, announced days before the start of Ramadan that the NCW formulated a committee headed by Suzan Al-Kalini, head of the media committee at the NCW, to monitor the image of women in the series, commercials, and programmes to be screened on television during the holy month of Ramadan.

Morsi noted that this committee will prepare a content analysis to produce a report on the media’s treatment of the image and issues of women in reference to the media code established by the NCW’s media committee and approved by the Supreme Council for Media Regulation.

A final report will be prepared by the end of Ramadan, including the monitored results and recommendations. Subsequently, the analysis will be submitted to the Supreme Council for Media Regulation and publicised in various media outlets.

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Apple provides 20,000 educational applications for special needs children https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/20/apple-provides-20000-educational-applications-for-special-needs-children/ Mon, 20 May 2019 21:00:15 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698629 Company holds seminar on skills of dealing with persons with special needs in Cairo

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Jihan Zahran, an accredited training expert and training officer at Switch Plus, Apple Premium Reseller in Egypt, said that Apple provided over 20,000 educational iPads, and an entire Special Education application section for special needs children.

Zahran added that special needs children do not have to be limited to just special needs or therapeutic applications. They can benefit from essentially any iPad application designed for their mainstream peers.

Zahran noted, “To keep learning fun for a special needs child, start with educational applications based on TV characters or activities they find entertaining.”

Additionally, she pointed out that a seminar was held on the skills of dealing with persons with special needs on Thursday at the Canadian Cultural Center, Cairo, in cooperation with Switch Plus, Apple’s agent in Egypt and one of Al-Safi Group.

The seminar aimed to introduce the application and iPad programmes to facilitate for children the various materials they need.

For his part, Khaled Fathy, aligner manager of Switch Plus, said that Apple has developed tools to make it easy for you to guide how your students use devices and applications in the classroom, and to provide valuable insight into each student’s progress.

Fathy added that the iPad includes numerous built-in modifications, making it easier for children with a variety of physical needs to reap the benefits a tablet has to offer. Features include Voice Over, which reads the screen out loud, Zoom, which magnifies the screen’s content, and Assistive Touch, which allows you to adapt the touch screen prompts to the user’s unique physical needs.

He pointed out, “As we teach and prepare students for 21st century careers and college, effective integration of technology is an effective pedagogical tool for meeting the needs of diverse learners. Technology tools, like the iPad in the classrooms, are particularly useful in meeting the diverse needs of our students with special needs.”

Technology makes what was once inaccessible for many students, accessible. Since iPads are relatively easy to use and do not have a significant demand on fine motor skills, they are becoming increasingly popular for instructing our students with special needs, he elaborated.

Furthermore, “there are thousands of applications that can be used to develop students’ skills.  I am always collecting applications that can be effectively integrated into instruction,” he concluded.

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EFG Hermes, Vietnam’s ACBS sign partnership agreement https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/20/efg-hermes-vietnams-acbs-sign-partnership-agreement/ Mon, 20 May 2019 20:54:32 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698627 Partnership provides clients access to Hanoi Stock Exchange, Ho Chi Minh City Exchange, UPCOM, says Khalpey

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EFG Hermes, a leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets (FEM), signed a partnership agreement with Asia Commercial Bank Securities (ACBS) of Vietnam, the securities trading arm of Asia Commercial Bank (ACB), on Monday.

Under the agreement, EFG Hermes’ clients will receive on-ground access and intelligence to trade the Hanoi stock exchange, Ho Chi Minh City Exchange, and UPCOM, some of Asia’s most compelling capital markets.

“The new partnership is yet another manifestation of our strategy to widen our geographic footprint and identify new opportunities. While the past two years witnessed rapid expansion in African and Asian frontier markets with offices launched in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Kenya, we are now entering Southeast Asia to complete our FEM setup. Through our partnership with ACBS, one of the country’s leading brokerage providers, EFG Hermes is now the first FEM investment bank to establish an on-the-ground presence in Vietnam, an increasingly important destination for global investors given the size of the market and its liquidity,” said Ali Khalpey, CEO of EFG Hermes Frontier.

Furthermore, Khalpey explained that the partnership will provide EFG Hermes’ clients access to the Hanoi Stock Exchange, Ho Chi Minh City Exchange, and UPCOM using ACBS’ platform.

On the other hand, Kato Mukuru, head of Frontier Markets Research at EFG Hermes, said that the firm is intensifying their involvement in Vietnam at a highly opportune moment, adding that the country’s dynamic export-oriented manufacturing sector is seeing considerable gains as more multinationals seek to relocate production away from China and toward Vietnam.

“This continuing shift comes against a backdrop of exchange rate stability and consistently rapid economic growth, which registered 6.79% in the first quarter of 2019, Vietnam’s second-strongest first quarter growth rate since 2009. Vietnam is seeing remarkable growth in exports, manufacturing, and foreign investment, while domestic demand remains robust as the middle class forms an ever-larger share of its 95 million-strong population,” he revealed.

Trinh Thanh Can, CEO of ACBS explained that the bank will work to ensure that this mutually beneficial partnership allows them to leverage EFG Hermes’ institutional heft, global network of clients, and capability to create lasting value, while furthering the institutionalisation of Vietnam’s capital markets.

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Trade minister witnesses first Egypt-UAE Business Council meeting https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/20/trade-minister-witnesses-first-egypt-uae-business-council-meeting/ Mon, 20 May 2019 20:48:37 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698615 During their first meeting with the council, he said the restructuring of the council came within the framework of the ministry's policy to establish new bodies capable of promoting cooperation with the UAE.

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The Minister of Trade and Industry, Amr Nassar, stressed the importance of activating the Egypt-UAE Business Council due to its important role in boosting joint investments and increasing the trade exchange between the two countries.

During their first meeting with the council, he said the restructuring of the council came within the framework of the ministry’s policy to establish new bodies capable of promoting cooperation with the UAE.

Nassar noted that the UAE is considered one of the most important trading partners for Egypt, and the Emirati investors have one the highest volume of business in the Egyptian market.


The minister referred to the necessity of benefiting from the current trend of some European countries outsourcing their labour-intensive industries outside the continent, which allows the establishment of new projects with joint European-UAE investments in Egypt.


Moreover, Hossam Farid, advisor to the trade minister for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship, stressed Egypt’s aspiration to participate in the Expo 2020, a world exhibition to be hosted by Dubai, opening on 20 October 2020.


Meanwhile, Gamal El Sadat, head of the Egyptian side of the council, stressed the importance of exerting more efforts by the government and the Egyptian business community to enhance trade and investment relations between Egypt and the UAE during the next period.

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Average weekly wage in Egypt amounts to EGP 1,104 in 2018: CAPMAS https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/20/average-weekly-wage-in-egypt-amounts-to-egp-1104-in-2018-capmas/ Mon, 20 May 2019 20:42:34 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698621 In the private sector, the average weekly wage amounted to EGP 877 in 2018, compared to EGP 779 in 2017.

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The average weekly wage in Egypt amounted to EGP 1,104 for employees in both public and private sectors (10+ employees), up from EGP 1,050 in 2017, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).

In its annual bulletin of employment, wages, and working hours statistics, the CAPMAS explained that the average weekly wage for an employee in the public sector increased to EGP 1,278 in 2018, compared to EGP 1,247 in 2017.

In the private sector, the average weekly wage amounted to EGP 877 in 2018, compared to EGP 779 in 2017.

The average weekly wage for male employees in both public and private sectors amounted to EGP 1,120, compared to EGP 1,063 in 2017, the CAPMAS added. While the average weekly wage for female employees in both public and private sectors amounted to 1,022 EGP last year, compared to 985 EGP in 2017.

Furthermore, the agency revealed that the financial intermediation and insurance activities scored the highest average of the weekly wage by EGP 3,289, up from EGP 3,106 in 2017.

Meanwhile, education activity scored the least average of weekly wages by EGP 521 in 2018, compared to EGP 490 in 2017.

All the wages and salaries are expected to increase in 2019 after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi had decide at the end of March to raise the country’s minimum wage to EGP 2,000 starting from July.

In addition, the government announced a EGP 150 exceptional bonuse to all public employees to absorb the high inflation.

This move will increase the salaries and wages item in the state budget by EGP 30.5bn to EGP 300bn.

Talking about the average weekly working hours for employees, the CAPMAS stated that the average weekly working hours for employees in both public and private sectors (10+ workers) recorded 52 hours in 2018.

It explained that the average working hours for employees in the private sector is more than that of employees in the public sector, as it amounted to 55 hours in the private sector.

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It is now time for everyone to invest in Africa as main driver of global growth: Ezz Al-Arab https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/20/it-is-now-time-for-everyone-to-invest-in-africa-as-main-driver-of-global-growth-ezz-al-arab/ Mon, 20 May 2019 20:34:10 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698618 CIB chairperson stresses need to develop systematic frameworks to increase investment in continent

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Chairperson of the Commercial International Bank (CIB), Hisham Ezz Al-Arab, Egypt’s largest private sector bank, said it was now time for everyone to invest in the continent, as the main driver of global growth, stressing the importance of developing systematic frameworks to achieve that goal.

The statements of Ezz Al-Arab came during his participation in the Transform Africa 2019 conference held in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, under the theme “Promoting the digital economy of Africa,” to discuss ways to further advanced digital innovations in Africa and promote the digital economy. The summit will continue for four consecutive days.

The summit was held under the auspices of the JICA and the World Bank with the presence of a number of African leaders, headed by President of the Republic of Rwanda Paul Kagame and the presidents of Kenya and Mali. Egyptian Minister of Communication, Amr Talaat, is attending the event as a representative of President Abdel Fattah Sisi.

Ezz Al-Arab participated as a keynote speaker in the session, which included the leaders of the countries participating in the summit. He stressed the importance of using the Blockchain technology applied by the CIB, being the safest technology to date.

He added that there are many African countries which have started to use this technology, such as the state of Sierra Leone, west Africa.

Furthermore, Ezz Al-Arab also stressed that Blockchain technology represents a new era that is comparable to the invention of the internet in terms of data preservation, banking operations, and transactions between customers and banks, or between banking institutions and each other.

During the summit, Ezz Al-Arab signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Smart Africa in the field of information and communication technology (ICT).

Under the memorandum, CIB and Smart Africa will work together to promote and develop literacy in the field of ICT and activate e-services awareness and digital leadership.

The first summit of the “transformation of Africa” was held in the Rwandan capital of Kigali in October 2013 under the auspices and in the presence of the President of Rwanda with the participation of the Presidents of Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Kenya, Southern Sudan, Uganda, and Gabon.

During this summit, the Smart Africa initiative was launched aimed at using means of communication and information technology to promote economic and social development of the African continent and to meet the challenges of sustainable development in the continent’s countries.

Egypt joined the initiative in November 2016.

Ezz Al-Arab participated in the conference in recognition of the bank’s efforts and commitment toward introducing innovative products and services, as well as its continued support to entrepreneurs and emerging companies, especially in the field of financial services technology and efforts to develop high quality banking services tailored to the needs of all customers.

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Syrian Army forces cease fire ‘unilaterally’ in north western Idlib https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/20/syrian-army-forces-cease-fire-unilaterally-in-north-western-idlib/ Mon, 20 May 2019 20:27:04 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698613 Syria intercepts rockets from Israeli territory for second time in 24 hours

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The Russian army has said the Syrian Army forces had ceased fire “unilaterally” in north western Idlib province, where the UN fears a “humanitarian catastrophe”.

“From 00:00 on 18 May, Syrian armed forces unilaterally ceased fire in the Idlib de-escalation zone,” the Russian military’s centre for reconciliation in Syria said in a statement.

The statement came after Britain, France, the United States and eight other countries at the UN Security Council warned on 10 May of a potential humanitarian catastrophe from an all-out assault in Idlib region, in a statement opposed by Russia.

Western powers are concerned that the Russia-backed Syrian government will launch a full-scale assault, despite a deal reached with Turkey, who back rebel forces, to set up a de-escalation zone in Idlib.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, however, said that shelling by the regime’s forces had continued, despite the announcement by the Russian army.

Syria accused Israel of launching a strike against targets outside Damascus on Saturday night, and claimed the country’s air defences intercepted a number of missiles for the second time in 24 hours.

The Syrian government said that its air defences have shot down drones and projectiles fired early Saturday, according to the state-run news agency SANA.

Syria’s Hmeimim airbase, which is operated by Russia, responded to the projectiles which were fired by militant groups inside Israeli-controlled territory. One person was killed and several others were wounded in the attacks close to the south-eastern coastal city of Latakia, it added.

SANA said the base’s aerial defences “targeted luminous objects coming from the occupied territories (Israel), shooting down a number of them.”

A subsequent report described the projectiles as “hostile targets” which were fired “toward the province of Quneitra” near the Golan Heights, parts of which are annexed by Israel.

In July 2018, Syrian aid workers began distributing 50 tonnes of French aid to eastern Ghouta after Russia agreed to facilitate its delivery in what is the first Western humanitarian effort into a government-controlled area during the seven-year civil war.

The aid, including blankets, clothes, tents, and urgent medical supplies, arrived on a Russian plane to Russia’s Hmeimim military base in north-western Syria from France.

In a different context, the head of UN Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), Rosemary DiCarlo, told members, “We have been here before: in Aleppo, Eastern Ghouta, and Raqqa” where civilian casualties increased, consequently an all-out offensive was carried out by the Syrian government and its allies.

“If the escalation continues, and the offensive pushes forward, we risk catastrophic humanitarian fallout and threats to international peace and security”, she said, during her meeting with the new Turkish-Russian working group, convened to try and salvage the military buffer-zone deal reached between the two nations last September over Idlib.

The top former United States diplomat said the UN had followed the intensifying violence which has reportedly killed more than 100 civilians, and displaced around 180,000 already displaced civilians, “with great concern.”

She noted the presence of the terrorist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), which reportedly now holds sway in much of Idlib, saying that “the international community agrees” that its presence “must be addressed. But with three million civilians in close quarters, combatting terrorism cannot be allowed to supersede obligations under international law.”

DiCarlo said the UN-facilitated political track needed to be revitalised, adding that if the council can work together in support of Russia and Turkey’s ceasefire commitment “then we can work toward restoring a nationwide ceasefire and consensus” in line with previous resolutions.

“International cooperation and support of the Geneva process is critical if Special Envoy (Geir) Pedersen is to realise his mandate” she said, adding that “the conflict is Syria is complex but there is a path forward.”

“Let us unite today for the first step – to support an immediate de-escalation of the violence in greater Idlib and work toward a political solution that meets the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people,” she concluded.

Despite repeated warnings from the UN Secretary-General and others, the decision by the Syrian government and allies – which includes the Security Council permanent-member Russia – to intensify a military offensive on Idlib in recent weeks, means that “our worst fears are now coming true,” said Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock.

He reminded council members that “the innocent civilians of course hugely outnumber the men with guns” across Idlib. While many of the 180,000 newly displaced have moved to camps in the past three weeks, “more than 80,000 people have found themselves with nowhere to go, so they are simply parked in open fields or sheltering under trees.”

At least three IDP camps had been attacked with resulting deaths and injuries, with 17 schools damaged and destroyed, and more than 400,000 were unable to sit for important exams. The UN humanitarian response would be completely overwhelmed if a full military incursion takes place, he added.

The escalation in attacks on medical facilities inside the escalation zone, was the biggest cause for concern he said, noting the World Health Organization (WHO) had confirmed 20 attacks on 18 different facilities – or one per day, in the past three weeks.

He ended his briefing with a chilling list of factual responses to some key questions put to his office in recent weeks, by member states, NGOs, doctors, and families affected by fighting in the Idlib zone.

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Shell, Revolta agree to develop charging points for EVs https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/20/shell-revolta-agree-to-develop-charging-points-for-evs/ Mon, 20 May 2019 20:21:40 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698587 Shell’s investments in new energies reach $2bn annually, says Shell Egypt chairperson

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Shell signed a cooperation protocol with Revolta Egypt for an exclusive two-year partnership. The partnership aims to support Egypt’s transition strategy to clean and renewable energy, in addition to promoting the concept of using electric vehicles (EVs) in Egypt, by providing more than 100 charging points in Shell-branded shops.

The partnership was signed by Saher Hashem, general manager of Shell lubricants Egypt, and Mohamed Badawy, CEO of Revolta Egypt.

Chairperson and Managing Director of Shell Egypt, Khaled Kacem, said that Shell Global is keen on providing alternative clean and renewable energy, to work on reducing carbon emissions by less than 50% by 2050.

He added that Shell’s new energy business is investing around $2bn annually to produce clean energy sources–making it the preferred partner in the clean energy transition globally and locally.

Hashem said that the partnership reflects Shell’s confidence in the strength and prosperity of the Egyptian economy, adding that Shell is keen to create and develop EVs charging infrastructure through several acquisitions of EV charging companies and battery.

On the other hand, Badawy said: “We are proud of signing this cooperation protocol with Shell Egypt, which has gained the trust of leading local and global automotive companies, and is one of the Egyptian government’s most important strategic partners, in addition to its extended history that spans for more than 100 years.”

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US to promote investment in Palestinian territories during June conference https://dailynewsegypt.com/2019/05/20/us-to-promote-investment-in-palestinian-territories-during-june-conference/ Mon, 20 May 2019 20:16:58 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=698597 US officials did not clarify whether Palestinian, Israeli officials would or not attend

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United States officials said on Sunday that the White House will unveil the first part of US President Donald Trump’s long-awaited peace plan between Israel and Palestine during an economic conference in Bahrain next month.

The conference aims to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, according to Reuters.

It will include officials and businesspeople in an effort to enhance the economic situation of the US-brokered peace plan, which is also expected to include proposals to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Previously, Trump described the anticipated plan as “the deal of the century,” but Palestinian officials criticised the US effort as they believe it will be highly biased toward Israel.

The conference, which will be hosted by Manama on 25-26 June, is expected to bring together representatives and business executives from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.

US officials did not clarify whether Palestinian and Israeli officials would attend the conference or not.

The Palestinian Authority has boycotted the US manoeuvres since late 2017 when Trump decided to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognise the city as the capital of Israel.

Despite the US statements that many Palestinian businesspeople showed great interest in the conference, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday that the Palestinians were not consulted about the conference.

Israeli Minister of Finance, Moshe Kahlon, said that his government did not receive an invitation yet.

In April, Jared Kushner, Trump’s senior adviser, said that Trump’s long-awaited plan to break the deadlock between Israel and Palestine would be unveiled after the end of the holy month of Ramadan (end of June).

Kushner, who is one of the authors of the plan, noted that the plan which has been postponed for several reasons over the past 18 months, has two main aspects, one political and the other economic. The political aspect addresses main issues such as the situation of Jerusalem, while the economic aspect is aimed at helping Palestinians strengthen their economy.

“Our focus is really on the bottom-up which is how do you make the lives of the Palestinian people better, what can you resolve to allow these areas to become more investable,” Kushner said.

The post US to promote investment in Palestinian territories during June conference appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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