Daily News Egypt https://dailynewsegypt.com Egypt’s Only Daily Independent Newspaper In English Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:48:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 Beltone Financial selected for Global Investor Group’s Best Asset Manager in Egypt 2018 award https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/beltone-financial-selected-for-global-investor-groups-best-asset-manager-in-egypt-2018-award/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/beltone-financial-selected-for-global-investor-groups-best-asset-manager-in-egypt-2018-award/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:48:46 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681640 Company manages seven funds, out of which 6 listed as best performing funds in last 12 months

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Beltone Financial has been awarded the Best Asset Manager in Egypt for 2018 by Global Investor Group, a subsidiary of Euromoney, based on the evaluation prepared by a group of senior industry arbitrators and experts.

Beltone is one of Egypt’s leading asset management firms, and the country’s largest asset manager in terms of assets under management with around EGP 32bn. The company was the first to introduce various products to the Egyptian market, including Money Market Funds, and Indexed Funds.

“The award recognises the company’s outstanding performance and its ability to offer a range of asset management products in the Egyptian pound and the US dollar, including investment in local and regional equities, cash and fixed income funds and portfolios,” said Beltone’s Asset Management Director Karim Naema

In 2004, Beltone collaborated with Banque Misr to launch Egypt’s first Money Market Fund, which catalyzed the Egyptian liquidity market growth, and paved the way for the launch of 27 investment funds in Egypt. Beltone manages seven funds, out of which six are listed as the best performing funds in the last 12 months.

Moreover, Beltone Financial was the first to introduce the idea of fixed income investment portfolios with assets under management of more than EGP 5.2bn ($298m). Since June 2017, Beltone has focused on increasing its locally and globally managed assets, leading to an increase in its managed assets from EGP 23.1bn ($1.3bn) to EGP 31.6bn ($1.8bn), marking an annual growth of 37%.

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Right time to invest in Egypt: Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/right-time-to-invest-in-egypt-asian-infrastructure-investment-bank/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/right-time-to-invest-in-egypt-asian-infrastructure-investment-bank/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:42:03 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681636 Egypt has come long way in developing SCZone, attracting many local, foreign investments, with contracts worth over billions of dollars, says Mamish

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Now is the right time to invest in Egypt, said Shixin Chen, head of the delegation of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) members and board directors who are currently visiting Egypt.

Chen’s remarks came during a tour to the Suez Canal Special Economic Zone (SCZone), and the new tunnels of the Canal and East Port Said Port, in the presence of Sahar Nasr, minister of investment and international cooperation, and Mohab Mamish chairperson of the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), and the SCZone. The delegation marks the first visit of the AIIB’s officials to a non-Asian country.

Furthermore, the delegation visited the New Administrative Capital, and reviewed the investment opportunities, and is scheduled to visit the solar power projects in Aswan’s Benban on Wednesday, in which the bank invests $210m, praising the great investment opportunities in the SCZone.

He noted the bank’s aspiration to enhance cooperation with Egypt by investing in infrastructure projects, as Egypt enjoys an important strategic position to make it part of the Asian continent.

Moreover, Mamish said that the SCZone management is on track to complete the implementation of all the infrastructure needs of the zone, adding that it includes the power stations and the development of the logistics network in the ports of the economic zone.

He stressed the importance of implementing the intelligent transport system and increasing the capacity of the ports to transform Egypt into a global centre for the transport and logistics industry.

Mamish added that Egypt has come a long way in developing the SCZone, attracting many local and foreign investments, with contracts worth over billions of dollars, reflecting the confidence of local and foreign investors in the Egyptian economy.

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EGP 1.393bn net profits of HDB by end of September 2018: Chairperson https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/egp-1-393bn-net-profits-of-hdb-by-end-of-september-2018-chairperson/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/egp-1-393bn-net-profits-of-hdb-by-end-of-september-2018-chairperson/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:37:55 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681634 EGP 2.4bn net income from return with 64.9% increase rate compared to September 2017, says El Sebaey

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The Housing and Development Bank (HDB) has achieved net profits of EGP 1.393bn after taxes by the end of the third quarter (Q3) of this year, compared to EGP 887.6m by the end of Q3 of 2017, according to Fathy El Sebaey, the bank’s chairperson.

He explained that the profit increase during the first nine months of 2018 (9M18) reached 57%, noting that these profits have increased by 112% compared to the profits targeted by the bank during that period, thanks to the professional administration of the bank and its employees’ efforts.

According to El Sebaey, the loans portfolio in the bank increased by EGP 2bn by the end of September 2018 by 17.4%. The capital adequacy ratio reached 20.49% in light of optimal application of credit policies, with the investment portfolio of the bank being free of any risky assets.

HDB’s operating income has increased during 9M18 by EGP 909m, with 40.7% increase, compared to September 2017, which indicates the bank’s success in achieving actual returns from the activity, indicated El Sebaey.

The growth rates in the operating income items achieved reasonable increases by 9M18 compared to the same period in 2017, noting that similar loans and incomes reached EGP 4.6bn by 9M18, with an increase rate of 56.6%, compared to September 2018. The net income of the return reached EGP 2.4bn, with an increase of 64.9%, while the net income from fees and commissions amounted to EGP 28.6m, with 16.2% increase, declared the bank’s chairperson.

Within the same context, El Sebaey revealed that the distribution of the profits of the companies affiliated to the bank have increased by EGP 77.9m by 9M18 with an increase of 10.7% compared to 9M17, pointing out that the profits of the bank’s housing projects have increased by EGP 73.4m reaching EGP 370.3m by 9M18, with an increase rate of 24.7% compared to 9M17.

“The bank’s administrative expenses increased by 31.4% by 9M18, compared to 9M17 due to the increase of the number of branches of the bank, and opening new branches in order to reach all segments of the society, especially the one that do not deal with banks, in order to achieve the ambitious goals of the concept of financial inclusion in a way that enhances the position of the bank in the banking market and increase the spread across the country,” El Sebaey remarked.

According to El Sebaey, the HDB pays special attention to carrying out necessary developments for the technological infrastructure of banking work in order to offer the best and fastest service to clients, all of which had an impact on increasing depreciation expenses, which led to an increase in general and administrative expenses.

The bank continues to maintain communication with its clients through offering the most distinct services that meet the client needs, as well as their trust in the bank as a banking institution able to offer new vessels that encourage saving and enhances that culture for all segments of the society, El Sebaey stressed.

This comes in in line with the bank’s ambitious plan to increase the number of its branches by the end of 2018, as well as increase the bank’s investments in digital technology, in order to offer excellent service to clients with the aim of achieving the bank’s strategy, which is based on improving the standards and quality of the service and obtain sustainable development, El Sebaey concluded.

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Eni completes production tests for 9th Zohr field well https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/eni-completes-production-tests-for-9th-zohr-field-well/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/eni-completes-production-tests-for-9th-zohr-field-well/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 19:26:14 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681631 150m scfd initial production rates of well, according to sources

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Italian company Eni completed drilling of the ninth well in the Zohr deep-water natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea at a cost of $300m, with initial production of 150m standard cubic feet of gas per day (scfd) according to production tests.

A source in the oil sector told Daily News Egypt, that the ninth well was closed after the company finished drilling because the current gas treatment plant lacks available processing capacity.

He explained that the ninth well will be connected to production by the end of this year, after the completion of the implementation of the sixth gas processing unit in the gas treatment plant with a capacity of 400m scfd.

Moreover, the source pointed out that the production of the ninth well will gradually increase to reach 250m scfd, bringing the total Zohr field production to 2.25bn scfd.

Furthermore, Zohr’s second development phase is to be completed in July 2019, bringing the field’s total production to about 2.95bn scfd, up from the of 2.7bn scfd previously estimated in the development plan.

He explained that Eni aims to invest about $4bn in the development of the second phase of the field next year, bringing the company’s total investment in the gas field to $16bn.

Moreover, the source confirmed that the ministry of petroleum is seeking to accelerate the completion of the next stages of the field development, after the instructions of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to accelerate the linking of the entire production of the Zohr gas field to the natural gas grid.

He added that the ministry succeeded, in cooperation with the Italian foreign partner, in shortening the specified time plans, increasing Zohr’s gas production rates to 2bn scfd in November.

Zohr development was achieved in record time, as the exploration phase was completed within one and half years after the signing of the agreement. It took just 28 months from the discovery until the start of production in mid-December 2017, compared to a period of 6 to 8 years that is achieved globally in similar projects.

The production will be connected to the new gas treatment land station in the Gemayel area in Port Said, afterwards, it will be pumped into the national gas network. Following will be the completion of technical tests of the processing units and the gas transmission lines from the field wells to the treatment plant.

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Fighting resumes in Yemen’s Hudaydah despite UN ceasefire calls https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/fighting-resumes-in-yemens-hudaydah-despite-un-ceasefire-calls/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/fighting-resumes-in-yemens-hudaydah-despite-un-ceasefire-calls/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 18:10:43 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681607 Saudi- UAE-led coalition conducted airstrikes against Houthis’ positions in city

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Fighting between the Saudi -and the UAE-led coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi movement broke out late on Monday in the Yemeni city Hudaydah, despite United Nation (UN) calls for a ceasefire to end the crisis in the war-torn country.

The Saudi-led coalition launched nearly 10 airstrikes against the Houthis positions in the city according to Reuters, following clashes between the Yemeni forces and the Houthis rebels.

Last week, the Saudi-led coalition, under Western pressure, ordered a halt on its intensive offence against Houthis in the Yemeni city.

Similarly, the Houthi rebels said they agreed on halting drone and missile attacks against Saudi Arabia after a request from the UN.

The UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen Martin Griffiths announced last Friday that the Yemeni forces and Houthis are committed on working towards a political solution. Griffiths added that he received “firm assurances from both sides, of a renewed commitment to attend talks.”

Since the fighting intensified in the rebel-held city located on the Red Sea, which is the gateway for food supplies to Yemen, hundreds of Yemeni people have been trapped in their homes inside the city due to the continued clashes, while thousands others fled their homes.

Saudi Arabia, which supports the embattled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi’s government against Houthi rebels, intervened in the Yemeni conflict in 2015 to prevent the fall of Hadi.

Saudi and the UAE-led Coalition, backed by the US, have launched hundreds of strikes in Yemen, killing thousands of Yemeni people including civilians.

According to the UN Human Rights office, over16,000 civilians have been killed since the war began, most of them by the coalition’s airstrikes. Additionally, over 80% of the population are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

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Saudi leadership’s alleged involvement in Khashoggi murder claims has ‘no basis in truth’: FM https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/saudi-leaderships-alleged-involvement-in-khashoggi-murder-claims-has-no-basis-in-truth-fm/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/saudi-leaderships-alleged-involvement-in-khashoggi-murder-claims-has-no-basis-in-truth-fm/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 18:06:20 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681629 Saudi Arabia's Al-Jubeir rejected claims that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered murder of journalist as lies

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Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said Tuesday that any allegations implicating Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi have “no basis in truth.”

Al-Jubeir told the Saudi-owned Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper in an interview that the kingdom “categorically” rejects such charges as they are not backed up by “conclusive evidence.” 

The statements come after the US Central Intelligence Agency was quoted by American media outlets stating that the Saudi leadership directly ordered the murder Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey last month.

“The leadership of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented by the king and the crown prince, is a red line, and we will not permit attempts to harm or undermine them,” he added.

US Vice President Mike Pence said there would be consequences for Khashoggi’s murderers but declined to comment on the intelligence agency’s assessment.

“The United States is determined to hold accountable all of those responsible for that murder,” he told journalists on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea.

Last Thursday, Saud al-Mojeb, the kingdom’s top prosecutor, announced that he was recommending the death penalty for five of the 11 suspects who have been charged with ordering and carrying out the killing of Khashoggi.

He did not name the suspects. In total, 21 people have been arrested in connection with the case.

The prosecutor, however, claimed the crown prince was not involved in the killing. He said the highest-ranking member of the Saudi leadership implicated in the operation was former Deputy Intelligence Chief Ahmad al-Assiri, who has since been fired for ordering Khashoggi’s forced return.

A spokesperson for the prosecution told reporters that plans to assassinate Khashoggi were set in motion on 29 September.

Khashoggi — a Washington Post contributor who often wrote critical columns about the kingdom’s leadership — was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2.

Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on 2 October to get paperwork for his upcoming wedding. His fiancée raised the alarm when he did not return.

Three of the individuals targeted in Thursday’s sanctions were Saud Al-Qahtani and Maher Mutreb, both of whom are top aides to Bin Salman, and Mohammed Alotaibi, consul general at the Istanbul consulate at the time Khashoggi was murdered.

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Finance ministry to cancel RTA’s right to appeal property rental value assessment https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/finance-ministry-to-cancel-rtas-right-to-appeal-property-rental-value-assessment/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/finance-ministry-to-cancel-rtas-right-to-appeal-property-rental-value-assessment/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:52:31 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681608 Interest of delay in tax payment is calculated as follows: the CBE's discount rate + 2%

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The Ministry of Finance is working on some amendments to the real estate tax law including cancellation of the Real Estate Taxation Authority’s (RTA) right to appeal the rental value evaluation reached by assessment and inventory committees, Head of the RTA Samia Hassan said on Tuesday.

This came during the meeting held by the customs and tax committee in the American Chamber of Commerce in Cairo headed by Hassan Hegazy, which was attended by a large number of members of the chamber and major companies.

She added that the amendments will also include the extension of the period allocated for inventory and evaluation, noting that there has been no re-evaluation of properties since the law came into force in 2013, as the evaluation is conducted every five years ending in December 2018, in accordance to the law.

The proposed extension will last until the end of December 2020, which means that the current evaluation will remain unchanged for two years. However, the parliament called for further extension of that period to three years.

Hassan revealed that the RTA aims to collect EGP 5.8bn in taxes during the current fiscal year, against EGP 3.2bn last year.

Hassan noted that owners of residential units should pay their taxes for this year before 31 December to avoid fines, as the law allows taxpayers to pay their taxes throughout the year.

The deadline for submitting tax declarations was extended until the end of June 2019 only for the owners of real estate units that are exempted from tax, if their properties’ market value is less than EGP 2m, Hassan pointed out.

According to the law, everyone who owns a real estate unit must submit its tax declaration whether the unit is subject to taxation or will be exempted.

This tax applies to all properties established on Egyptian land other than the non-taxable properties, whether rented or occupied by the owner himself who is the taxpayer, or if they are finished and inhabited, finished and uninhabited or inhabited and unfinished. This means that all current established properties are taxable, whether established villas, buildings, floating houses, or chalets wherever their locations are.

Hassan said a fine ranging from EGP 200 to EGP 2,000 shall be applied on taxpayers in the event they do not submit their tax declaration on time, adding that interest of delay in tax payment is calculated as follows: the Central Bank of Egypt’s discount rate + 2%.

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Al-Sisi repeats call for renewal of religious discourse amid division of scholars https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/al-sisi-repeats-call-for-renewal-of-religious-discourse-amid-division-of-scholars/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/al-sisi-repeats-call-for-renewal-of-religious-discourse-amid-division-of-scholars/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:42:14 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681602 President called on clerics, intellectuals to work on spreading teachings of Prophet Muhammad, which will help combat extremism

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Despite President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s prolonged calls over the necessity of reforming the religious discourse to the concerned institutions, the state’s top clerics are still unable to agree on a fixed vision for the reform of the discourse.

On Monday, during an event held to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, Al-Sisi repeated his calls for the renewal of the discourse, noting that this is the fourth or fifth time to signal for this issue. He said that he believes that the renewal of religious discourse and tolerant Islam must originate in Egypt to come forth to the whole world.

Heads of Egypt’s top Islamic institutions, Minister of Endowment, Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa, and Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayeb, both attended the event and gave speeches which highlighted their contradicting visions over the new anticipated discourse.

Both entities showed division on several occasions over different Islamic topics that included the unifying of Friday sermon according to a state decision in 2016.

Gomaa began his speech with support for the president’s call, saying, “We thank you for your courageous call to renew the religious discourse, which has become the first priority for scholars and intellectuals, and it is a dynamic process that should not stop nor be limited, while preserving fixed principles”.

The minister urged that renewal of religious discourse should consider the requirements of the current time and place as well, saying that the “early scientists succeeded to come up with religious discourse equivalent with the conditions and circumstances of their time, so in terms of changes and developments, now we had to take into account the circumstances of our times and conditions”.

Gomaa cited one of the sayings of the prophet that was applicable with previous eras, explaining that it cannot be followed in the current era due to developments and changes.

Meanwhile, Al-Tayeb said that he rejects doubts over the validity of the sayings of the Prophet and the Sunnah in general, while Gomaa suggested coming up with a new legislation that will be suitable with the current life conditions of people.

He also highlighted that Al-Hadith is the second source of legislation in Islam followed by Al-Quran, pointing out that it provided more details that were not mentioned in Islam’s holy book, and that there is a need to maintain the Hadith texts along with Al-Quran in the legislation and provisions for Muslims.

His statements came in response to calls of excluding some of the Hadith from the legislation process, highlighting that these calls are not new, as they were initially launched in India early in the 20th century.

In a similar context, the president called on clerics and intellectuals to work on spreading the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, which will help to combat extremism.

The event was organised by the ministry of endowments and attended by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Grand Mufti Shawki Allam and several ministers.

Discussions about the renewal of religious discourse were immensely tackled in the media during the past years, while also being addressed in different seminars and conferences which were also held on the issue, in order to combat terrorism and protect young people from joining extremist groups.

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Picasso’s found painting suspected to be fake https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/picassos-found-painting-suspected-to-be-fake/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/picassos-found-painting-suspected-to-be-fake/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:39:21 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681600 Painting stolen among many other famous paintings in Rotterdam in 2012

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A painting that the Romanian Prosecutor claimed last Sunday to be a work by Pablo Picasso that was stolen in 2012, was proven to be fake, and was most likely created as a publicity stunt, according to Reuters.

Based on Dutch media, Reuters reported that that local media cited author Frank Westerman who helped turn out the painting entitled “Tête d’Arlequin” (Harlequin’s Head) to the police last Sunday, while stating that it is not original.

Westerman told local media that he had received a mail from a theatre company preparing a play about a famous art forgery which stated that the painting is a “forgery hidden as part of an elaborate hoax.”

A former museum curator which had the real paining, also told Dutch television that the pictures he had seen of the found painting proves it is not identical to the one the museum had.

The Romanian Prosecutor who stated on Sunday that authorities are working on verifying the authenticity of the paining was not reachable, after the painting was announced to be fake.

The painting was stolen among many other famous paintings in Rotterdam in 2012. A Romanian man with partners were convicted of the robbery, however, the stolen objects were never found by authorities.

Among the stolen paintings were several famous portraits including Matisse’s “La Liseuse en Blanc et Jaune”, Monet’s “Waterloo Bridge, London” and “Charing Cross Bridge, London”.

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International, local financial institutions offer to invest $1.913bn in Egyptian T-bills https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/international-local-financial-institutions-offer-to-invest-1-913bn-in-egyptian-t-bills/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/international-local-financial-institutions-offer-to-invest-1-913bn-in-egyptian-t-bills/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:33:02 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681598 Interest slightly up, highest bid at 3.7%, lowest 3.68%, average 3.697%

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International and local financial institutions have offered to invest $1.913bn in the Egyptian Treasury Bills (T-Bills) tender launched by the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) on Monday.

The CBE has offered the tender on behalf of the ministry of finance, worth $1.675bn.

The CBE received 32 bids for investment by local and international banks and financial institutions worth $1.913bn. The CBE accepted 26 offers worth only $1.703bn.

The interest rate obtained by international and local financial institutions against their investment increased to 3.7% as a highest price, 3.68% as a lowest price, and 3.697% as an average, compared to 3.3%, 3.28%, and 3.297% on the last similar tender launched by the CBE in June 2018. The CBE refused other offers in which the price of the return reached 4.4%.

The proceeds of this tender are allocated to paying the value of a previous tender launched by the CBE in November 2017, worth $1.7283bn.

The CBE allows local banks and foreign institutions to offer in these T-bills a minimum offering of $100m and its multiples.

The return of these dollar T-bills are determined based on several indicators, most importantly, the volume of dollar liquidity in the market, the chances for alternative investments available before banks, local and foreign financial institutions, as well as the country’s credit rating.

Banks operating in the domestic market rely heavily on these bills to invest their liquidity in dollars in a government-guaranteed pot with an adequate return, with no other investment available for that liquidity, except of rare syndicated loans offered on lengthy periods and investing in global financial markets, with a low return and high risk.

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Shoukry in Bulgaria to address enhancing cooperation, combating illegal immigration, terrorism https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/shoukry-in-bulgaria-to-address-enhancing-cooperation-combating-illegal-immigration-terrorism/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/shoukry-in-bulgaria-to-address-enhancing-cooperation-combating-illegal-immigration-terrorism/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:27:36 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681596 Last October Egypt, Bulgaria agreed on forming joint committee to bolster bilateral cooperation

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Egypt’s Foreign Minister, Sameh Shoukry, headed on Wednesday to Sofia, Bulgaria, for talks on illegal immigration, combating terrorism and other bilateral issues.

Shoukry is scheduled to hold meetings with Bulgarian President Rumen Radev, the country prime minister, foreign minister and other top Bulgarian officials according to the Egyptian foreign ministry’s statement.

Officials of both countries will address international and regional issues of common interest and countering terrorism, and crime as well as addressing recent crises in the Middle East.

They will also discuss enhancing bilateral cooperation on economic, trade and political levels.

Earlier in October this year, a high-level delegation of Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and top Bulgarian officials visited Cairo and met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

Al-Sisi announced during a joint press conference at that time that an Egypt-Bulgarian joint committee will be formed to enhance bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

The committee will be primarily held at the beginning of the next year in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, then in mid-2019 in Cairo. It will be held every year alternatively in the two capitals, according to the Egyptian President.

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Finance ministry considers increasing customs’ dollar exchange rate, importers oppose https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/finance-ministry-considers-increasing-customs-dollar-exchange-rate-importers-oppose/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/finance-ministry-considers-increasing-customs-dollar-exchange-rate-importers-oppose/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 17:18:54 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681593 Inflation will rise by 1%, if customs’ dollar exchange increased, says Pharos Holding official

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The Ministry of Finance is considering increasing Egypt’s customs’ dollar exchange rate next month as the ministry reviews the rate on a monthly basis.

Governmental sources told Daily News Egypt that there is an intention to raise the value of the customs dollar next month to about EGP 17 per dollar, to approach the current dollar price at the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), but the final value has not been agreed so far.

The ministry has fixed the customs exchange rate at EGP 16 per dollar since September 2017, and said it will review the rate each month.

The sources added that moving the customs dollar price is one of the mechanisms being studied by the ministry to compensate its losses due to the full implementation of the Egyptian-European Partnership Agreement.

Other governmental sources told DNE in previous statements that the full activation of the Egyptian-European Partnership Agreement will increase the value of customs’ exemptions next year to reach EGP 6bn instead of EGP 4.5bn.

Mohsen Al-Tagoury, a lumber importer and deputy head of General Division of Importers at the Federation of Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (FEDCOC), said any increase in the customs’ dollar price would lead to an average rise of 15-20% in lumber import costs.

He pointed out that the General Division of Importers demanded during its last meeting to reduce the customs’ dollar exchange rate next year to activate sales after the recession that recently faced the market.

Al-Tagoury added that the current customs’ dollar exchange of EGP 16 has already affected the volume of imports in different sectors.

Radwa Al-Swaify, head of research at Pharos Holding, said the rise of customs’ dollar exchange by EGP 1 would lead to increasing inflation rates by 0.5-1% on a monthly basis.

A large number of imported goods are not included in the basket of goods when measuring inflation rates, she added.

“The customs dollar price of gas is to be adjusted in accordance with the CBE’s exchange rate as was the case in the past,” Al-Swaify said.

She explained that the last fixing of customs’ dollar at EGP 16 was based on expectations that the dollar price would decline to EGP 16-16.50, which did not happen due to the recent emerging markets crisis.

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Prosecution orders investigation into reports of inserting female Kuwaiti MP name into airport watchlist https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/prosecution-orders-investigation-into-reports-of-inserting-female-kuwaiti-mp-name-into-airport-watchlist/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/prosecution-orders-investigation-into-reports-of-inserting-female-kuwaiti-mp-name-into-airport-watchlist/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 16:04:13 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681586 Safaa Al-Hashim was under fire over her ‘racist statements’ toward Egyptian expats

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Egypt’s Prosecutor General, Nabil Sadek, has ordered an investigation into the fake reports circulated on social media regarding inserting the name of a female Kuwaiti MP on the airport’s watch list, according to the prosecution’s statement.

Sadek previously ordered another investigation into accusations against Safaa Al-Hashim of insulting Egyptians. The lawsuit ordered a ban against the Kuwaiti MP from entering Egypt.

Last week, Al-Hashim was under fire over her recent statements against Egyptian expats inside Kuwait. She criticised Egyptian Minister of Immigration, Nabila Makram, over her comments on an assault against an Egyptian woman in Kuwait.

Al-Hashim said that as long as Makram respects the Kuwaiti judiciary and authorities, it is better for her not to address the issue of dignity or mention that “Egyptians’ dignity is a red line”. She also asserted that the Kuwaiti judiciary respects peoples’ dignity.

Al-Hashim went on to say that Kuwait treats Egyptians better than their homeland.

Al-Hashim was reprimanded and accused of “racism” by Egyptian social media users. Some of them shared past statements and stances against Egyptian expats.

Earlier, Makram said that the dignity of the Egyptian citizen, in particular, the Egyptian woman, is a line not to be crossed. She said so after an Egyptian expat, Fatma Aziz, living in Kuwait was beaten with her children by Kuwaiti women in the street.

Makram asserted in a statement that she respects the Kuwaiti judiciary and authorities, calling on Egyptians not to circulate a video Aziz posted to reveal what happened with her. Makram also condemned Aziz for using social media rather than her country’s embassy in Kuwait. “Why do we not trust our embassies abroad?” Makram asked.

Aziz posted a video and said that five women assaulted her verbally and physically following a verbal squabble erupted after her child was hit by their bikes. She said that they ran over her body with shoes before her children.

“It was a deadly moment that I got beaten before my children, ” Aziz recalled in televised statements, adding that what she is looking for is the accountability of the offenders.

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Energy price shock, unemployment tops MENA’s regional risks for doing business: WEF https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/energy-price-shock-unemployment-tops-menas-regional-risks-for-doing-business-wef/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/energy-price-shock-unemployment-tops-menas-regional-risks-for-doing-business-wef/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 15:54:32 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681585 Report uses results of large-scale Executive Opinion Survey carried out by forum to detect how concerns about global risks differ across regions, countries

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Economic risks such as the energy price shock, and unemployment or underemployment topped the 10 risks for doing business in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Regional Risks for Doing Business report recently published.

The report uses the results of the large-scale Executive Opinion Survey carried out by the WEF to detect how concerns about global risks differ across regions and countries.

According to the report the top 10 risks in MENA are: energy price shock; unemployment or underemployment; terrorist attacks; failure of regional and global governance; fiscal crises, cyber-attacks; unmanageable inflation; water crises; illicit trade and finally the failure of financial mechanism or institution.

However, the survey results point to the deep fissures within and among many of the region’s countries. In Lebanon for example, the most cited risk to doing business was “state collapse or crisis”, with “terrorist attacks” second and “failure of national governance” came in third position.

Despite the dominance of geopolitical and economic risks in the region, but cyber-attacks are a growing concern as the regional economy becomes more sophisticated.

In Egypt’s case, water crises came in first place, while unemployment risk ranks second, followed by the energy price shock, and unmanageable inflation.

Likewise, unemployment came in the top three for four other countries the MENA: Bahrain, Morocco, Oman and Tunisia. Nevertheless, unemployment is a pressing issue in the region, particularly for the rapidly expanding young population: youth unemployment averages around 25% and is close to 50% in Oman.

On the other hand, security, domestic and regional fractures were prioritised in various countries, such as Tunisia, where “profound social instability” ranked first, and Algeria, where respondents ranked “failure of regional and global governance” first. While both Israel and Jordan, “terrorist attacks” topped businesses’ lists of concerns.

In Yemen, the country suffering from conflict, the gravity of conditions was reflected in the survey results, as there were spread of concerns that respondents prioritised from our list of 30 global risks, including: “failure of national governance”; “failure of regional and global governance”; “failure of financial mechanism or institution”; “failure of critical infrastructure” and “spread of infectious diseases”.

According the report, even though “energy price shock” has risen from second place last year to become the top-ranked risk across the region, this development needs to be balanced with the fact that “fiscal crises” dropped sharply in the survey rankings, from first position last year to fifth in 2018.

The report attributed this change to the fact that oil prices increased substantially between our 2017 and 2018 surveys, from around $50 to $75. This represents a significant fillip for the fiscal position of the region’s oil producers, with the IMF estimating that each $10 increase in oil prices should feed through to an improvement on the fiscal balance of three percentage points of the GDP.

However, vulnerabilities to swings in oil prices have not disappeared, and are particularly pronounced in countries where government spending is rising.

Saudi Arabia, is one of such countries, which the IMF estimated in May 2018 had seen its fiscal breakeven price for oil – that is, the price required to balance the national budget – rise to $88, 26% above the IMF’s October 2017 estimate, and also higher than the country’s medium-term oil-price target of $70–$80.

Consequently, Saudi Arabia remains one of five countries in the region that rank “energy price shock” as the top risk to doing business in our survey, along with Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar.

A sharp rift in risks’ perception was witnessed in the United Arab Emirates,  where respondents focused on technology-related risks in a very similar way to their counterparts in Europe and North America, with “cyber-attacks” ranked first, “misuse of technology” in third place and “data fraud” in fourth.

The report indicates that the combination of increasing sophistication in the regional economy and a global trend towards increased corporate focus on cyber risks in particular, is evident in a number of other MENA countries. For example, “cyber-attacks” was ranked as the second most important risk in three countries other than the UAE: Israel, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

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Egypt signs framework document for negotiations on FTA with Eurasian countries https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/egypt-signs-framework-document-for-negotiations-on-fta-with-eurasian-countries/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/egypt-signs-framework-document-for-negotiations-on-fta-with-eurasian-countries/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 06:43:22 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681553 Agreement to create a continuous discussion on issues of bilateral, international economic cooperation of common concern: Nassar

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Egypt and the Eurasian Economic Community signed a framework document for negotiations on the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two sides. 

The sides, Amr Nassar, Egyptain minister of trade and industry, and the Eurasian member states, Veronika Nikishina minister of trade of the Eurasian Economic Community, agreed to hold the first round of negotiations in mid-January in Cairo. 

Nassar said that both sides agreed to hold a joint business forum between Egypt and the Eurasian countries during the first half of next year to strengthen the economic and trade partnership between the two parties’ business communities.

In addition, the two sides agreed on the necessity of concluding the FTA between Egypt and the Eurasian Community in 2019. 

Nassar pointed out that the framework document of the agreement aims to create a continuous discussion on the issues of bilateral and international economic cooperation of common concern. 

Furthermore, it aims to enhace economic and trade relations and liberalise trade between the two parties through the establishment of a long-term and stable institutional legal framework.

Moreover, The FTA will promote closer cooperation and contribute to increased international trade. Additionally, it will provide room for future negotiation on any additional issues, according to Nassar.

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Al-Sisi call for tolerance during prophet birthday celebration  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/al-sisi-call-for-tolerance-during-prophet-birthday-celebration/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/al-sisi-call-for-tolerance-during-prophet-birthday-celebration/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 06:42:05 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681558 President further discussed renewal of religious discourse

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Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi called on upholding Islam’s reputation and spreading tolerance during the event held to celebrate Prophet Muhammad’s birthday. 

The event was organised by the Ministry of Endowments and attended by Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly, Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam Ahmed El-Tayeb, Grand Mufti Shawki Allam and a number of ministers.

The president called on clerics and intellectuals to work on spreading the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, which will help to combat extremism.

 The president further discussed the renewal of religious discourse, which he also did in previous occasions.

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‎‎Engineering Export Council organises trade mission to Ethiopia  https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/%e2%80%8e%e2%80%8eengineering-export-council-organises-trade-mission-to-ethiopia/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/%e2%80%8e%e2%80%8eengineering-export-council-organises-trade-mission-to-ethiopia/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 06:36:55 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681531 15 Egyptian companies will participate from five sectors

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The Engineering Export Council of Egypt will organise a trade mission to Ethiopia from 19-22 November, with the participation of 15 Egyptian companies in five sectors: electrical industries; automotive components; machinery and equipment; metal forming and  agricultural machinery.

The council said in press statement that during the mission’s visit, 100 Ethiopian companies will meet Egyptian ones.

The statement added that the visit will be attended by a representative of the ministry, in cooperation with the Egyptian Exporters Association and in cooperation with Banque Misr, which provides financing solutions for Egyptian and Ethiopian companies.

The mission aims to link Egyptian manufacturers with their counterparts in Ethiopia to boost Egypt’s exports.

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Nine French companies establish a health coalition https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/nine-french-companies-establish-a-health-coalition/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/nine-french-companies-establish-a-health-coalition/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 06:30:39 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681513  Egypt keen to attract more French investments, especially in health sector, says Nasr

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A group of French companies announced the establishment of a health coalition, according to a Monday statement from the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation, noting that companies coalition includes Sanofi SA, Danone, AXA, L’Oréal and others.

Sahar Nasr, minister of investment and international cooperation, stressed Egypt’s keenness to attract more French investments, especially in the health sector which is witnessing a qualitative leap, following the issuance of the new comprehensive Health Insurance Law. 

Nasr’s speech came during the inauguration of the Egyptian-French Health Forum, organised by the French embassy in Cairo, in the presence of representatives of the World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development EBRD, EU and the French Development Agency.

Nasr said that France is financing the project of supporting primary health care in five Egyptian governorates, which is funded by the French Agency for Development with€31m.

The minister affirmed the Egyptian government’s appreciation for the continuous support of the French government and French private sector companies in Egypt, noting that cooperation with France is a strategic partnership and fruitful in various sectors, especially in the health care sector.

Egypt has exerted great efforts to remove any obstacles facing investors in the health sector, asserted the minister, noting that France is one of Egypt’s most important economic partners at the European and global level. 

French companies are strongly represented in the Egyptian market in many vital sectors such as industrial, agricultural sectors, as well as infrastructure and medicines, added the minister.

Egypt is keen to attract new foreign investments in various sectors, affirmed the minister, noting that the government provides several advantages the market.

The Egyptian government is keen to create a favorable environment for investment in the light of the new investment law, said the minister.

Additionally, Nasr discussed with the French ambassador to Cairo، Stéphane Romatet and a number of French companies attracting new investments in Egypt, said the statement, noting that the French companies affirmed that the current business climate is suitable to attract more French investments to Egypt.

French companies in Egypt are offering the Egyptian market about 35,000 jobs in the fields of industry, tourism, agriculture, telecommunications, transport, infrastructure and financial services.

French companies increased their investment by $200m during the fiscal year 2017/18, according to the statement.

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Al-Tayeb asserts Hadith significance on Mawlid Al-Nabi https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/al-tayeb-asserts-hadith-significance-on-mawlid-al-nabi/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/al-tayeb-asserts-hadith-significance-on-mawlid-al-nabi/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 06:20:43 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681510 Grand Imam emphasises that Hadith is second source of legislation in Islam

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Egypt Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Ahmed El-Tayeb, asserted the significance of Al-Hadith of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed, denouncing calls of its exclusion from the legislation process.

El-Tayeb added, during a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Endowments on Monday in observance of Mawlid Al-Nabi (the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday), that there is a need to maintain the Hadith texts along with Al-Quran in the legislation and provisions for Muslims.

El-Tayeb highlighted that Al-Hadith is the second source of legislation in Islam followed by Al-Quran, pointing out that it provided more details that were not mentioned in Islam’s holy book.

Furthermore, Al-Tayeb highlighted that those calls of excluding Hadith are not new, as they were initially launched in India early in the 20th century.

Al-Tayeb added that nearly a billion and a half Muslims around the world are celebrating the birthday of the Prophet Mohamed, who was a great figure and his greatness should be appreciated in all times.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi attended the ceremony and also delivered a speech before a huge attendance of ministers, top state members, religious figures and ambassadors of Islamic and Arab countries.

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King Salman urges political settlement in Yemen https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/king-salman-urges-political-settlement-in-yemen/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/king-salman-urges-political-settlement-in-yemen/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 06:15:11 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681503 King’s notes come amid intention of Houthi militants to stop attacks on Saudi Arabia, UAE

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King Salman of Saudi Arabia has said his country supports a political solution to end the conflict in Yemen, during remarks delivered on Monday in his annual policy speech to the kingdom’s most senior officials, military officers, clerics and princes.

He said Saudi Arabia supports a political solution in line with a UN resolution that calls on Yemen’s rebel Houthis to withdraw from all major cities which the Shiite rebels have seized during the three-year war.

In the meantime, Houthi militants announced on Sunday that they would stop their “drone and missile strikes” against Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and their allies in Yemen.

The rebels said they were ready for a broader armistice if “the Saudi coalition wants peace” in a statement signed by Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, the head of the rebels’ Supreme Revolutionary Committee’.


The warring parties had previously given “firm assurances” to UN envoy Martin Griffiths that they would meet for peace talks in Sweden. While the date has not been set, Griffiths said it would be “soon,” and that he plans to travel to rebel-held Sanaa later this week to discuss arrangements.

Al-Houthi also called on fellow rebels to stop launching attacks against the Saudi alliance to show goodwill and deprive the alliance of any justification for further attacks against Houthi forces.

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Health topped priorities of Egyptian government https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/health-topped-priorities-of-egyptian-government/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/health-topped-priorities-of-egyptian-government/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 06:07:16 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681502 Egypt, France to sign agreement in January, aiming to improve health sector in Egypt

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The Minister of Health, Hala Zayed, and Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, stated that health and education are among the top priorities of the Egyptian government.

This came during the Egyptian–French Health Forum that took place in Cairo on Monday.

The forum aims to discuss the government’s strategy to develop the country’s health sector.

It brought together a group of experts, companies and decision-makers from the French and Egyptians three round tables on comprehensive health insurance, and future medical sector reform and the French integrated healthcare experience. 

For her part, the Minister of Health, stated that the strategic relations between France and Egypt reflect the common interest to boost relations between the two sides in the health sector, noting that this forum represents an opportunity to strengthen partnership with France in the health sector.

She noted that she met on Sunday with the French delegation that came to attend the forum, where they discussed many topics including ending the waiting lists in the hospitals, ending the problems of hepatitis C virus, enhancing hospital systems in Egypt, and improving the blood bank. 

She pointed out that the meeting also dealt with discussions of plasma manufacturing.

Zayed indicated that they discussed the areas that the French side could cooperate with Egypt in, including helping Egypt in making amendments in the legislations of the pharmaceutical field with the aim of improving the health sector in Egypt.

She highlighted that Egypt will sign an agreement with France in January, aiming to improve the health sector, feeling optimistic that before the signing Egypt might take some advanced implementation steps.

She assured that Egypt will witness a significant shift in the health sector in the next period.

Agreeing with Zayed, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, stated that Egypt will witness a significant shift in the health sector during the coming period, due to the Universal Healthcare Law.

She stressed Egypt’s keenness to attract more French investments, especially in the health sector.

She noted also that the ministry is working to support the Egyptian President’s initiative to invest in the human element through supporting the health sector, and communicating with international financial institutions, which praised the success achieved by Egypt in this area.

Nasr mentioned that the Egyptian government appreciates the continued support of the French government and French private sector companies in Egypt, which is evident through the strategic and fruitful partnership in various sectors, especially in the health care sector, which is considered a priority for Egypt.

The minister added that Egypt has exerted great efforts to remove any obstacles facing investors in the health sector.

Forum

The Minister called on the various French companies to intensify their presence in Egypt, and expand their activities to benefit from the Egyptian competitive advantages and the great guarantees provided by the New Investment Law.

In that context, she declared that she will meet with the French delegation after the forum in order to explain to them the investment opportunities in Egypt in general, and in the health sector specifically.

Finally, she assured that France is one of Egypt’s most important economic partners on the European and global level, noting that French companies are strongly present in the Egyptian market in many vital fields such as industrial, agricultural, food, infrastructure and medical sectors.

For his part, the French ambassador to Egypt, Stephane Roumtier, stressed that France wants to support Egypt in the field of health, which is a priority for President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi during his second term, and to provide the necessary means of funding for public health in Egypt.

Roumtier noted that France seeks to cooperate with Egypt in many areas in the health sector, including renewing the health sector, providing treatment for cancer diseases, in addition to providing training for doctors in Egyptian hospitals, as well as helping in improving the medicines’ manufacturing industries.

France also seeks to provide the funding needed to support improving the health sector in Egypt.

Meanwhile, Lamine Gharbi, president of the Medef delegation and chairperson of the French  Federation of the private hospitals, stated that the Medef consists of 130 hospitals in France of the private sector.

He noted that the French delegation, which consists of the Medef delegation in addition to 14 health leaders in France, expressed their keenness to support Egypt in improving its health care sector through any means they need, covering all the afore mentioned areas that the ambassador mentioned before, especially cooperation in the areas that are related to the infrastructure of the health sector in Egypt.

He mentioned that France has a very intelligent, elegant experience in improving the health sector, so Egypt will benefit also through knowing how to deal with the challenges that already faced France before.

Discussing the Universal Health Law that Egypt is currently implementing, Ahmed El Sobky, Ministry of Health`s assistant for monitoring and control and supervisor of the Universal Health Insurance stated that the Universal Comprehensive Health Law is a historical step in Egypt`s history, noting that implanting this law needed a super power, but due to the efforts and the great attention of the government to this file, Egypt has been able to implement it.

He noted that the law is formed on six important pillars, including health technology, governance, funding, etc.

For his part, Ahmed Nasef, managing director at AXA General Egypt, stated that Egypt has taken bold and courageous steps in health reform, noting that in 2015, Egypt used to spend an average of $45 for health care on each citizen.

He continued that after implementing this law, Egypt will spend similar to what developed countries spend which is more than $3,000. He stated that AXA spends over $18bn globally every year on health care.  

 

 

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Nissan shares tumble after chairman's arrest https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/nissan-shares-tumble-after-chairmans-arrest/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/nissan-shares-tumble-after-chairmans-arrest/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 03:25:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681521 The post Nissan shares tumble after chairman's arrest appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Nissan’s stock prices plummeted as the automaker prepares to oust arrested chairman Carlos Ghosn. The Brazil-born executive was detained on accusations of financial misconduct.Shares of Nissan Motor Co. dipped 4.3 percent on Tuesday, a day after its high-flying chairman Carlos Ghosn was arrested on suspicion of falsifying financial reports and other misconduct.

Ghosn, 64, was arrested on Monday in Tokyo and is being held as prosecutors conduct an investigation into allegations that he underreported his income by around 5 billion yen ($44.5 million, €38.8 million) over five years.

"He basically deprived Nissan's shareholders of opportunities to judge if the amount of his salary was appropriate," said Toru Ibayashi, executive director of Wealth Management at UBS Securities Japan.

"This incident will make investors review if Japanese corporate governance is working."

Nissan and Mitsubishi, two parts of the Nissan-Mitsubishi-Renault alliance Ghosn led, have announced their intention to remove him as chairman, with Renault's board also meeting to decide his fate.

It is unclear how long Ghosn could be held, or even when prosecutors would officially announce the charges against him.

dv/rt (AFP, Reuters)

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

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Berlin's economic power creates 'new fear of Germany' across EU https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/berlins-economic-power-creates-new-fear-of-germany-across-eu/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/berlins-economic-power-creates-new-fear-of-germany-across-eu/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 02:30:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681523 The post Berlin's economic power creates 'new fear of Germany' across EU appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Europe today fears Germany’s economic strength rather than its military might, historian Andeas Rödder tells DW. At the same time, Germany is meant to lead the EU: a dilemma for all sides."I’m not so much afraid of German power; its German inactivity I’m starting to fear," said Radoslaw Sikorski, then Poland’s foreign minister, while speaking in Berlin in 2011. You would never have heard a sentence like that before 1990, says German historian Andreas Rödder — certainly not coming from Poland.

The national-conservative PiS party is now in power in Poland, and the words coming out of Warsaw are very different these days. But the ambivalent relationship between Germany and its eastern European neighbor, expressed by Sikorski back then, still exists. "There’s a new expectation that Germany will take the lead in Europe," says Rödder. "At the same time, Germany is confronted by the dilemma that this will revive old fears that Germany wants to assert its supremacy in Europe."

Read more: Angela Merkel presents her vision for Europe

German diktat on the refugee issue

There is no simple solution. Rödder believes Germany must take on the task, in the EU institutions and also, above all, at nation-state level. And in this he thinks it is more productive if it openly assumes a leading role rather than engaging in back-room politics.

"Germany made a serious mistake over the refugee crisis," says the historian, referring to the majority decisions made by the European Council of Ministers in September 2015. At the time, some countries, led by Germany, obliged other EU members to take in quotas of refugees against their will. "That was perceived as Germany dictating to them," says Rödder.

Read more: Angela Merkel and the future of the EU

Germany’s cultural hubris

This, he says, reveals a characteristic of German history that also found expression in a recent study. Europeans were asked whether they thought of their respective national cultures as more valuable than those of their European neighbors. 46 percent of the Germans asked answered yes. Among French people, for example, it was only 23 percent.

Rödder sees this as a legacy of the period following the Napoleonic Wars. "When European societies started to conceive of themselves as nations, in the early 19th century, France was able to see itself as an established state." Germans, however, were living in the famous "patchwork" that followed the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, with various principalities and free states gathered around the hegemonic powers of Prussia and Austria.

At that time, Germany as it now stands did not yet exist, so instead Germans began to see themselves as a cultural nation. "This self-conception always tended towards the idea that they were both culturally and morally superior," says Rödder. It’s a degree of hubris you still encounter today: "Think back to the welcome culture of the autumn of 2015, when this idea that we were morally on the right side was almost palpable."

Read more: What makes Germany and the Germans special?

Eurocrisis: Merkel with a Hitler moustache

During the most difficult phase of the euro debt crisis from 2010 to 2015, Germany’s situation was even trickier than when negotiating the pan-EU distribution of refugees. "There are two completely different narratives in Europe," says Rödder: One is that Germany reacted much too late; the other, that Germany agreed entirely voluntarily to pay another country’s debts.

So from one point of view, Germany ought to have led more decisively. But when at last it did, and pushed through plans to bail out the state finances of several eurozone countries, that wasn’t the right thing, either — because these bailout plans included a requirement for the governments to make massive savings in future budgets. Once again this was seen as Germany dictating to other countries — a feeling that Greek demonstrators, for example, expressed in images of Chancellor Angela Merkel with a Hitler moustache.

Fear of Germany’s economic power

"In France, which is the decisive partner in this context," says Rödder, "this fear originates at the latest in the war of 1870-71 and France’s traumatic experience that its eastern neighbor was structurally superior." The two world wars also demonstrated this, he says. Although France was on the side of the victors in both, it couldn’t escape the realization that, without foreign assistance, it would have been defeated by Germany.

Rödder says this fear no longer relates to a military threat, but to the German economy. “In the 1980s, François Mitterand talked about the German atom bomb, by which he meant the Deutschmark and the Bundesbank."

"At a time when economic power is more important than military power, Germany is quite simply strongest," says Rödder. It’s not a situation it can get out of: "And that’s why Germany has to use this strength constructively and strategically in Europe."

Read more: Germany's military reluctance rooted in history

Merkel’s ambiguous legacy

Rödder believes these two crises will also be what define Angela Merkel’s political legacy at the European level. And so, he says, this legacy is just as ambiguous as the perception of Germany by its neighbors. "On the one hand, she has at least achieved one thing in that she has prevented the European institutions from breaking apart," he comments. "At the same time, however, she’s also caused divisions in Europe, especially with the refugee crisis." Last but not least, it’s often said in Britain that Merkel’s refugee policy was a deciding factor in the outcome of the Brexit referendum.

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Opinion: Kroos rediscovering Germany form in new formation https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/opinion-kroos-rediscovering-germany-form-in-new-formation/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/opinion-kroos-rediscovering-germany-form-in-new-formation/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 00:25:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681529 The post Opinion: Kroos rediscovering Germany form in new formation appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Despite a spectacular collapse against the Netherlands, Joachim Löw’s revamp is showing signs of life. Toni Kroos proved he has a future in the team after a first-half masterclass had fans purring, says Janek Speight.Many of Germany's old guard have come in for fierce criticism over the past 12 months and rightly so. Coach Joachim Löw has to take ultimate responsibility for playing favorites, but performances have not been good enough from several stars of the 2014 World Cup win.

Sami Khedira has been left out of Löw's plans, Jerome Boateng was missing from the latest squad, Thomas Müller has finally been given a bit-part role and Mats Hummels looks likely to go the same way.

Toni Kroos, however, has often been the only experienced head to have impressed, even if just in patches. His performances have suffered in 2018 but a new formation could prove his savior.
Germany's 2-2 draw against the Netherlands ended in bitter disappointment, but there were enough positive signs to suggest the horrors of 2018 will not reappear in 2019.

Löw's new 3-4-3 formation looked irresistible in the first 45 minutes with Toni Kroos taking center stage in a double pivot alongside Joshua Kimmich.

Germany's Special Ks shine

Kimmich's introduction in central midfield has been an undoubted success, allowing Kroos more freedom as the two interchange duties between defence and attack.

Kroos has struggled to exert influence on matches as a sole 'number 6' this year, the need for him to constantly drop deep in a 4-3-3 formation often shackling him and his deficiencies in the art of defending leaving Germany exposed.

With three central defenders negating his need to drop into the backline, and a midfield partner assisting him with defensive duties, Kroos had more time to dictate play against the Netherlands. Germany dominated the midfield battle as Kimmich and Kroos controlled the game and took advantage of the movement and space created from a fluid front three.

For the opening goal, Kimmich stayed deep and central, allowing Kroos to drift to the left of midfield. He threaded a ball into Serge Gnabry, who's instinctive first-time flick released Timo Werner to thunder in a long-range strike. It was a thing of beauty, the type of goal that has been missing from Germany's repertoire for too long.

For the second, this time from a deeper position, Kroos lifted an inch-perfect ball over the top of the Netherlands defence for an onrushing Leroy Sane. Simple, clinical, effective.

Kroos was left found wanting in the second half, however, highlighting his weakness without the ball. He collected a yellow card after Memphis Depay streamed past him, was bamboozled by the trickery of Matthijs de Ligt, and was slow to close down Tonny Vilhena for the Netherlands' equalizer.

But when he's spraying balls around like he did in the first half, it's clear that with more game time and a deepened understanding with Kimmich, Kroos is very much still relevant.

New year, new Kroos?

When Germany won the World Cup in 2014, Kroos played further up the pitch. He had Bastian Schweinsteiger and Khedira or Christoph Kramer behind him to take care of the defensive duties. For Real Madrid he's had Casemiro to rely on. Clearly, playing as a traditional 6 is not Kroos' forte and Löw's inability to find a different solution hamstrung the midfielder's performances. His struggles are as much a product of Löw's tactical ineptitude as any drop of in form for the national team.

The introduction of a new formation and a new midfield partner in Kimmich, however, could well get the best out of Kroos. His influence in midfield will be just as crucial as the much-needed injection of youth and pace that has so excited Germany's fans over the past week. With his range of passing and vision it would be folly to write him off.

Yet he'll have to prove quickly that he can become a force once again in this new formation. Löw will have to find a way to accommodate the extremely talented Kai Havertz eventually and Kroos could well be the fall guy if Kimmich is able to handle defensive duties on his own.

The future is here for Germany and it's young and vibrant. Whether there is still room for an ageing but still talented Kroos will be truly answered in the new year. But the signs are good.

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Germany show their future but are haunted by their past https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/germany-show-their-future-but-are-haunted-by-their-past/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/germany-show-their-future-but-are-haunted-by-their-past/#respond Tue, 20 Nov 2018 00:06:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681532 The post Germany show their future but are haunted by their past appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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This year has largely been one to forget for Germany and, as winter arrived, Joachim Löw and his side showed their quality, but also their frailty. There’s much to take from Monday’s game, but also much to learn.Perhaps it was telling that after Leroy Sane, Timo Werner and Serge Gnabry were brought off, Germany threw away a two-goal lead. The truth is though, that even after that Germany had chances to end the contest. Failure to do so leaves a familiar, sour taste and sadly obscures many of the positives that were on display on Monday night.

Although it might have been apparent to some a long time ago, that attacking trio empathically declared themselves the present and the future of this team. Their passing was instinctual and into space, their movement off the ball encouraging. Putting Sane and Gnabry into positions to expose the opposition is a necessity Löw has finally recognised.

Gnabry’s flick to set up Werner's opener was exquisite, while Sane’s skill on the edge of the box merited the slice of fortune he got with the deflection for Germany's second. The Manchester City man is finally showing the one-on-one skill that makes him so dangerous at club level – partly because Löw is affording him the freedom to do so.

Papering over the cracks

“We know we didn’t deserve the result tonight,” Virgil van Dijk, who scored the Netherlands' late equalizer, told beIN Sports afterwards. For the most part, Germany delivered one of their best performances in some time but only had a point to show for it.

In a year when this team has got it wrong so many times, this night should have been one to recognize how right they can get it. Instead it was a reminder of the work that Löw has ahead of him.

“Perhaps a young side needs to experience this kind of game,” Löw said, somewhat astoundingly, afterwards. The ‘young side’ he started with didn’t look in danger of losing the game, and the slightly older one that finished it had more than enough experience to secure the win. In the end the combination of the youth and experience, the one Löw continues to rave about, cost him the game. Fortunately for them, there weren’t many were there to see it – only 42,186 attended.

Germany missed the chance to put the game to bed, leaving some fantastic interplay unrewarded, and they paid the price for it. They were also guilty of unnecessary hesitation on the ball, which slowed the tempo and let the Dutch back in. While Germany started the game like they cared again, they finished with a performance that that was a stark reminder of Russia.

Uphill battle ahead

Löw’s five defender base contained the Dutch pace for the majority of the game, but collapsed under the predictable onslaught that followed Quincy Promes’ strike. Germany’s sudden inability to mark the attacking van Dijk was perhaps as unsurprising as Mats Hummels’ decision to walk through the media area saying nothing other than that he was giving himself a break.

Off the back of one of the worst tournaments in their history, from a sporting and communications perspective, Germany are clawing their way back from the abyss. Their fans might expect an instant return to the status quo, but on the evidence of tonight this is a team still in the early stages of turning into something new. Led by a coach who is under pressure to show he can coach successful football in both the present and the future, this is the first part of a rebirth.

There are still some growing pains that this new team will have to endure, some of which were all too evident in Gelsenkirchen, but Löw looks to understand he needs to get his team playing faster and which players he needs to do so.

In the year France surpassed them, the Mexicans embarrassed them and (even) England showed them how to be a team, Germany took a step down the path to reinvention. Now they must commit to it.

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Nations League: Van Dijk goal steals late point despite German dominance https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/nations-league-van-dijk-goal-steals-late-point-despite-german-dominance/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/20/nations-league-van-dijk-goal-steals-late-point-despite-german-dominance/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 23:46:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681534 The post Nations League: Van Dijk goal steals late point despite German dominance appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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For 85 minutes it looked like Germany had saved the best of a miserable 2018 for last. But last gasp goals from Quincy Promes and Virgil van Dijk sent the Netherlands through and brought yet more despair for German fans.Germany 2 – 2 Netherlands
(Werner 9', Sane 20' – Promes 85', Van Dijk 90')

Not so long ago, it felt that Germany would always find a way to win. After they threw away a game they dominated with two concessions in the last five minutes, the opposite now seems true.

After a quicker, younger front three impressed against Russia, Löw persisted with Timo Werner, Leroy Sane and Serge Gnabry against rivals that beat them 3-0 last month

His decision was rewarded early when Werner brought down Gnabry’s flick and hammered past Jasper Cillessen on the bounce from outside the box. The speed of thought and execution from the Leipzig man seemed to surprise the Dutch keeper.

While the second goal was scored by one of the younger players starting to make their mark, it was cooked up by one of the old guard. Toni Kroos, liberated by having Joshua Kimmich alongside him, received a fizzed ball from Mats Hummels in his own half and launched a brilliant long pass over the Dutch defense in to the path of Sane. The Manchester City man’s first touch sent him backwards but he jinked in to space and slammed home with the aid of a slight deflection.

Though the Dutch finally worked up a couple of periods of pressure in the second half, the hosts looked comfortable until Quincy Promes profited from a Leon Goretzka error to make the last few minutes interesting.

In truth, Löw’s side should’ve put the game to bed long before that but Germany’s profligacy came back to haunt them when Van Djik hammered home a back post volley in the last minute of normal time to send the Dutch in to the semifinals and give Germany that suddenly-familiar sinking feeling.

FULL TIME: That's it. Germany have thrown it away and the Netherlands will join England, Portugal and Switzerland in the semifinals.

90+3 – There are four minutes of injury time. The Dutch fans are absolutely loving this.

90+1 – Unbelievable. Vilhena throws one in to the box, it gets a nick at the front post and the big Liverpool center half hammers it home on the volley. This was all over six minutes ago, now the Dutch are going to the finals.

90' GOAL! Germany 2 – 2 Netherlands (Van Dijk)

87' – Chance! Goretzka and Reus combine to slide one across the pitch to the onrushing Kehrer but he scuffs it horribly from near the penalty spot. Probably not the man Germany wanted on the end of that.

86' – Nervy times ahead for Germany. Goretzka over-ran the ball on the edge of his own box allowing the Dutch to work it to Promes. The Sevilla winger took a quick glance and curled it round Neuer from just inside the box.

85' – GOAL! Germany 2 – 1 Netherlands (Promes)

82' – Schulz swings a boot at a deflected cross but it goes behind for a German corner. Rüdiger is the target but Van Dijk is the winner.

80' – Germany make their last change. Goretzka replaces Sane, who has been excellent.

78' – Better from Depay, who glides past Süle and Hummels before forcing a smart stop from Neuer.

76' – Depay lifts another free kick in to the box but again it fails to beat the first man.

73' – That was much better from Müller. The centurion chips a lovely ball over to Reus while falling on his backside but again the Dortmund man can't pick out the man in the middle, this time Sane.

71' – Sane bursts through again and finds Müller but the Bayern man's return ball is poor and runs out of play.

69' – Reus gets in down the left, courtesy of a clever little ball from Schulz, but can't pick out a man. Kimmich takes a booking in order to prevent the Dutch from breaking.

67' – 100 up! Thomas Müller enters the field for Gnabry and brings up his 100th cap in the process. There are a few whistles around the crowd, presumably just the Bayern factor at play there. Dilrosun's Netherlands debut is over though, he's also tweaked a muscle and is replaced by Luuk de Jong.

62' – Chance! Gnabry releases Werner early. The striker has got the legs on Tete and breaks in to the box, but drags his shot wide. That's it for Werner, who is replaced by Marco Reus.

60' – Vilhena replaces Wijnaldum for the Dutch.

59' – Depay eludes Hummels but the center back is bailed out by his Bayer teammate Süle. Hummels seems to be slowing by the week.

56' – Promes has a pop from distance that forces Neuer in to his first proper save of the night. It was comfortable but this has probably been the Netherlands' best spell.

55' – Depay briefly troubles Hummels after isolating him for the first time tonight then Neuer flies off his line to punch a cross out.

51' – The Dutch get away with one, as Gnabry bursts through and is wrongly flagged offside. Then Kroos takes a booking for hauling Depay back on the halfway line,

49' – The visitors are trying to crank up the pressing a notch but it's mainly resulted in niggly fouls so far.

46' – We're back underway, there have been no further changes from either side. Kroos nicks the ball early, resulting in a half chance for Werner. But it's straight at the keeper.

HALF TIME: That was a pretty dominant half for Germany. Their rapid front three, particularly Leroy Sane, are causing the Dutch all manner of problems, Kroos is conducting from deep and Neuer hasn't had to make a save. That's almost certainly their best 45 since long before the World Cup.

45' – Babel limps off after seeming to tweak a hamstring playing a simple pass. He's replaced by Hertha Berlin's Javairo Dilrosun. There will be two additional minutes.

43' – Sane is enjoying himself. Now he dances along the touchline, with the Dutch defenders afraid to challenge in the box. But he can't quite find the right pass.

40' – Werner feeds Schulz on the overlap and the Hoffenheim man stands up a cross. Gnabry is flying in at the front post but can only flick it past the far stick.

37' – Sane drives inside and sees his shot blocked then tries, and just fails, to combine with Kimmich in the box. There's been an urgency about Germany again tonight, which is good to see after they looked so stale in Russia.

35' – Almost spoke too soon there. Blind clips in a cross from the left which Süle diverts on to the top of his own net. Neuer probably had it covered but that was as close as the visitors have come.

33' – It's pretty quiet on the pitch and very quiet in the stands.

29' – The visitors win another corner, this time off Kroos. Depay swings it in but Kehrergets rid at the front post.

25' – It took Sane 16 games to open his Germany account, but he's now got two in two.

22' – Another excellent goal. Kroos picked up a ball in his own half and lazered it over the Dutch defense right in to Sane's path. The winger's first touch took him the wrong way, but he bought himself half a yard and fired across the keeper. It did get a slight deflection but a beautifully simple goal all the same.

19' GOAL! Germany 2 – 0 Netherlands (Sane)

19' – The pitch, which looks very much like it has just been relaid, is proving a little problematic for players at times, the pace of it doesn't look consistent.

15' – The Netherlands win a succession of set pieces: first a wide free kick, then a corner and finally a free kick on the line of the 'D' after Hummels ploughed in to a challenge on the edge of the box. Hummels is booked and Depay's effort is blocked by the wall.

12' – Werner and Sane both had glimpses after the goal and the hosts look confident. As with the first half against Russia, the pace of both play and players makes them look so much more dangerous.

9' – An excellent strike from the Leipzig man. Gnabry turned a forward ball round the corner and the number 9 took one touch and lashed it home on the bounce from about 22 yards. He took that one early which seemed to surprise Cillessen.

9' – GOAL! Germany 1 – 0 Netherlands (Werner)

8' – The Dutch have their first little spell but Kimmich robs his man and almost gets Sane in behind down the left. A bit of height on that and the winger was through.

5' – Kimmich and Kehrer combine and the latter buys a corner. Van Dijk clears before Germany fail to recycle possession effectively.

3' – Germany have started nicely, Werner turned sharply to slip in Kehrer, who blazed over after 30 seconds. The men in white have seen most of the ball so far.

1' – Löw and Koeman shake hands, the players, both mustachioed and non-mustachioed, mumble the anthems and then the hosts get us underway.

20:39 – Our man in Gelsenkirchen says it's quiet at the Veltins Arena tonight.

20:35 – A quick look at the Dutch side then. Ronald Koeman’s men have an excellent central defensive pairing in Virgil van Dijk and Matthijas de Ligt, a red hot forward in Memphis Depay and a mix of old pros and talented youngsters, like midfielder Frenkie de Jong, elsewhere. They look a team on the up.

20:30 – Hello, and welcome to what looks like a fascinating contest. When the Nations League started, these two sides might've expected their roles to be reversed but it's the Oranje who have a chance to join England, Portugal and Switzerland in the finals next June just months after missing out on the World Cup.

And, though Germany will definitely be in Group B next time around, they could be further punished with a difficult qualifying group for the 2020 Euros if things don't go their way tonight. Germany must better Poland's result against Portugal to avoid being seeded second for the tournament. Much more on the mathematical ins and outs of that in our preview for this one. This is no dead rubber.

After a bright first half against Russia on Thursday, Joachim Löw sticks with the pace of Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry and Timo Werner at the sharp end, drops Kai Havertz for Toni Kroos and recalls Mats Hummels at the back. Nico Schulz also comes in at left wing back for Jonas Hector. There's no place in the starting XI for Thomas Müller, who could win his 100th cap tonight or Marco Reus, who has been nursing a knock. Both are among the substitutes.

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TurkStream: Who profits, who loses out? https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/19/turkstream-who-profits-who-loses-out/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/19/turkstream-who-profits-who-loses-out/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 15:22:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681538 The post TurkStream: Who profits, who loses out? appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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As Turkey and Russia inaugurate the sea section of the TurkStream gas pipeline, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan can boast of Ankara’s new geopolitical influence. DW asks why the pipeline is causing such a fuss.Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday marked the completion of the offshore phase of TurkStream, a natural gas pipeline connecting the two countries.

Erdogan told reporters TurkStream would be ready to operate in 2019 after tests are carried out, while Putin said the pipeline would make Turkey a "major European hub." The tie-up with Moscow would "without a doubt influence the geopolitical standing of the Turkish Republic."

The new energy cooperation comes despite Moscow severing ties with Ankara three years ago after a Turkish fighter jet shot down a Russian warplane on the Syrian border.

What is TurkStream?

TurkStream is a 910-kilometer-long (570 mile) gas pipeline running under the Black Sea, linking Russia and Turkey. Together, the twin pipes will have a maximum capacity of 31.5 billion cubic meters (1.1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas per annum.

The first section will supply the Turkish market; the second will provide southern Europe with Russian gas.

When it opens at the end of 2019, the pipeline will allow Russian energy giant Gazprom to service Turkey, its second biggest client nation after Germany.

Why is it needed?

Turkey relies heavily on imported gas from Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran, as its domestic production meets just 2 percent of its needs. At present, the Blue Stream pipeline carries most of Turkey's gas from Russia, and another aging pipeline brings the remainder through Ukraine and Eastern Europe.

Read more: Turkey opens TANAP pipeline that will bring Azeri gas to Europe

The imported gas helps meet almost half of Turkey electricity generation requirements and nearly a third of its overall primary energy consumption. Turkey is the only European country to have seen strong growth in gas demand since the end of the 2008/9 financial crisis. Last year, its annual natural gas consumption reached a historic record high of 53.5 billion cubic meters, a 20 percent increase on the previous year, according to the Turkish energy watchdog.

Turkey is the second largest customer of Russian gas after Germany, and most analysts predict demand will continue to grow rapidly.

Who profits from TurkStream?

Obviously, Gazprom will be able to meet the increased demand for gas from Turkey. Last year, more than a million new Turkish customers signed on to use gas.

TurkStream will also help Turkey achieve its objective of becoming a major gas 'bridge' between East and West. Already a key regional energy hub, Turkey will be able to offer to supply gas to the rest of southeastern Europe, earning billions of euros in the process.

Read more: Romania offshore gas law plays with fire

Why is TurkStream so controversial?

European Union countries remain heavily dependent on Russian gas, most of which until recently ran along pipelines through Ukraine. In the 2000s, Russia cut off winter gas supplies to Ukraine, and therefore must of the rest of Europe, in a row over unpaid debts. Russia's annexation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea, and Moscow's backing for separatists in eastern Ukraine, also brought relations between the two neighbors to a new low.

TurkStream, along with Nord Stream, another Russian pipeline that runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany, will allow Russia to route more of its gas to Europe without running through Ukraine. The Kiev government is expected to lose billions of euros in transit fees as a result.

Despite EU attempts to scupper it, Russia is also building a second pipeline, Nord Stream 2.

Read more: Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – What is the controversy about?

Other Eastern European countries have also accused Moscow of trying to exert political influence by by passing them.

Russia also plans to extend TurkStream through Bulgaria and Serbia to Greece and Italy. Construction work on the second overland section is expected to start in 2019.

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The Beatles' 'White Album' still a landmark at 50 https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/19/the-beatles-white-album-still-a-landmark-at-50/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/19/the-beatles-white-album-still-a-landmark-at-50/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 15:13:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681540 The post The Beatles' 'White Album' still a landmark at 50 appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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Known as the “White Album,” the Beatles’ ninth studio album came out on November 22, 1968. Going beyond the fab four’s LSD psychedelic pop, the iconic work pioneered new musical genres.I found mine under the Christmas tree. I remember discovering the pure white cover, embossed with the letters "The BEATLES" and the number 320733 barely visible on the bottom right.

On the open cover, the titles of the songs were listed on the left side of the double sleeve, alongside four simple black-and-white portraits of John, Paul, George and Ringo on the right. Included in the album was also a large poster of the four musicians with the details of the tracks.

A treasure trove

Most of the 30 tunes on the album are no longer than three minutes — though the shortest track is 52 seconds and the longest one over 8 minutes long. It starts out brilliantly with "Back in the U.S.S.R," followed by tracks featuring variety, harmonies and arrangements that were a true revelation for my young ears at the time — and they keep fascinating me to this day; I still regularly break my fingers trying to play "Blackbird" on the guitar.

I still remember how Germany's radio stations all played "Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da" to death in the 1960s, which is why it is not exactly one of my favorite songs. The record offers far more interesting tracks and moves elegantly through genres — folk, rock, country, blues, progressive rock or psychedelic. Delicate acoustic songs like "Julia," "I Will," "Mother Nature's Son" or "Blackbird" alternate with powerfully orchestrated pieces; "Happiness is a Warm Gun" feels like a compact rock opera, contrasting with the earthy "Yer Blues." "Rocky Raccoon" is arguably the first rap song in music history and "Helter Skelter," one of the first hard rock songs ever made.

The Beatles' self-titled work, best known as the White Album, is a gem-filled milestone, which anticipated trends that led to today's pop and rock music. I can even say: Without this record, music wouldn't be what it is today.

A turning point

I was too young at the time to understand the context of this double album released at the end of the "summer of love."

What I know today is that this album was the Beatles' way of saying good-bye to the colorful, drug-filled, flower-power era. With a few exceptions, the music does not feature many of the psychedelic approach of the previous album, Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band (which included "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Strawberry Fields"). With the White Album, the four musicians freed themselves from a crazy era in order to truly start making music again — together, but each already on a journey of his own.

The Beatles at their limits

The fact that the album actually saw the light of day is almost a miracle. In early 1968, the four Beatles boys were still spending their time in the Indian meditation camp of Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, vowing to stay together forever. Then Ringo was the first to lose his appetite for transcendental meditation and vegetarian food. Paul followed him a bit later, while John and George spent several weeks in India writing songs.

Back in London, they released their most successful single, "Hey Jude," in August 1968, founding their record company Apple Records. The new record producers however didn't have strong managerial skills, and thus their label turned into a money pit. By then, John also had Yoko Ono constantly in tow, which really annoyed the three other band members — they couldn't stand her.

The recording sessions for what came to be known as the White Album were exhausting; the musicians had increasingly separate artistic views as they recorded their songs, composing some of them on the go in the studio. They all played several instruments, switching spots at the piano or the drums. Paul was the most versatile player: along with the bass, he played guitars, keyboards, drums and the timpani.

There were also a few guest musicians — strings and brass players, as well as singers, including Yoko Ono. Producer George Martin can be heard on the harmonium, and the then guitarist of Cream — Eric Clapton, a longtime friend of George — played the guitar solo on "While my Guitar Gently Weeps."

At some point, Ringo lost his nerves during the recording sessions and briefly left the studio. When he came back, his drums were decorated with flowers: "Welcome home." The Beatles finally completed the record with the help of their producer George Martin, who later described it as the "most difficult album of his career."

Twilight on the horizon

All that stress is barely noticeable on the album. What is striking, however, is that each Beatle seemed to be going his own way on the songs they created, accompanied by the three others.

Once the album was recorded, the Beatles took a break from each other and met again in January 1969, weeks after the record's release on November 22, 1968. While the ensuing period of harmony was only brief, the Fab Four nevertheless managed to create another monument, Abbey Road.

Let It Be, released in 1970, became their farewell album. On April 10, 1970, the Beatles officially separated.

Each album unique

What remains is the music. I've known the White Album for at least 40 years now. The songs on the album still manage to fascinate me every time I listen to it even now. My copy of the album is one of a kind: Like all copies, it has a serial number. My record, bought in 1976, shows six figures already.

The very first copies are traded at extremely high prices today. In 2005, number 0000008 cover was auctioned off for €13,200 euros ($15,000) — and it was literally only the cover. However, it was signed by the Beatles themselves. Another record at auction was broken in 2015, when Ringo Starr sold his copy, numbered 0000001, for the equivalent of about €700,000.

Celebrating the 50th anniversary

By now, different anniversary editions have been released — box sets with either three or seven CDs or two or four vinyls. The White Album has even made it back into the charts in several countries. George Martin's son, Giles, and sound engineer Sam Okell worked with a team of engineers and audio restorers at London's Abbey Road Studios for almost a year to complete the stereo and 5.1 surround sound mixes of the album.

Giles Martin's stereo album mix, which is taken directly from the original four-track and eight-track session tapes, was inspired by his father's original stereo mix. In last week of May in 1968, the Beatles gathered in George's house in Esher to record demos. Until now, the so-called "Esher Demos" had only circulated as bootlegs; they are included in the new editions, as well as further recordings of studio sessions that have never been heard before.

The deluxe edition also features a 168-page hardcover book with accompanying photos, documents and texts. All these bonuses make a new purchase very tempting — especially considering that my own copy sounds rather scratchy after 40 years of listening to it.

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Moscow in the dark https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/19/moscow-in-the-dark/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/19/moscow-in-the-dark/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 15:12:00 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681542 The post Moscow in the dark appeared first on Daily News Egypt.

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There is plenty to do and discover after sunset in Moscow. Be that visiting a circus, a beauty salon, or Moscow’s futuristic-looking Zaryadye Park. The metropolis has much to offer. 

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Arouset Al-Mawlid: retrieved heritage, resisting extinction https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/19/arouset-al-mawlid-retrieved-heritage-resisting-extinction/ https://dailynewsegypt.com/2018/11/19/arouset-al-mawlid-retrieved-heritage-resisting-extinction/#respond Mon, 19 Nov 2018 13:30:06 +0000 https://www.dailynewsegypt.com/?p=681465 Families defy western lifestyle through reviving Egyptian cultural legacy

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A scene of a mid-sixties woman, with greyish covering most of her hair, wrinkles taking of her smiling face, passionately checking all of the dolls wearing dresses in various styles and colours at street stands selling Arouset Al-Mawlid (The Al-Mawlid doll).

Having Al-Mawlid El-Nabawy (Prophet’s Birthday) knocking on the doors in Egypt means massive celebrations which you will find nowhere else in the world, and Arouset Al-Mawlid is in the heart of the celebration. The plastic doll is known to be an inseparable part for Muslims celebrating the birth of Prophet Mohammed.

The plastic doll and Halawet Al-Mawlid (Al-Mawled Sweetened nuts) are Egypt’s most famous common markers of the birth of the Islam Prophet. However, both of them found their way to Egyptians in the Fatimid era, long after Islam saw the light and started spreading. 

Purchasing the Mawlid’s doll and nuts has become like many of the eastern celebrations which are losing the battle against the western ones in the Egyptian society, either due to economic situation or social trends. With the price hike of both and the deterioration of the financial status, many turned their head off the bashing attitude.

However, many still fight to keep what they inherited from their ancestors alive. Even for those who live abroad, Egypt heritage is still revived every year.

Magda Khalil, a Facebook user, said she gets her children, nieces, and nephews Arouset Al-Mawled and Halawet Al-Mawlid every year. For her family, Al-Mawlid is a gala celebration that requires spreading happiness among everyone, even if they no longer live in Egypt. 

“In my family, we still get the Arouset Al-Mawlid for girls and Hossan Al-Mawlid (horse-shaped sweet) for boys, who are now the grandchildren of the family,” Khalil said, adding “My niece living in Holland always asks me to buy all the types of sweets she likes in Halawet Al-Mawlid and send it with someone or keep it till she comes with her family for a visit.”

Khalil’s grandchildren always expect to learn about the celebration’s rituals

“We [with the kids] also distribute a box of Halawet Al-Mawlid to the orphan house next to us and to some of the house porters in our street as well,” she added.

Staying outside Egypt is not enough reason for Khalil’s family to make them forget teaching their children that the prophet’s birth is an occasion requires celebration, and to be observed annually.

“We consider the birth of the prophet as a day to share happiness with orphans and poor people,” she explained.

Heba Abousteit, a mother of two, prefers to celebrate Al-Mawlid Al-Nabawy more of the way she was raised on. Instead of purchasing the plastic doll, she spent her time crafting the doll and the horse with her children while telling them the reason for the celebration.

“My kids are very young, we do not buy them plastic dolls or horses, instead we do drawings and crafts of both every year,” she said.

Following the same path is 43-year-old Nermine Norma. Despite having no kids, Norma has never observed Al-Mawlid celebration without creating her own doll and dresses in several bright colours.

”This is how I feel the Mawled spirit,” she explains.

Maha Al-Dhan came up with the idea of baking Arouset Al-Mawlid.

“For two years, I have been making an eatable Arouset Al-Mawlid. With cupcakes and cookies, my daughter and I bake together Arouset Al-Mawlid cake, which she enjoys doing,” she added.   

The story of how Arouset Al-Mawlid has found its way into the history books differs from one source to another. The most popular theory states that Fatimid ruler Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah went with one of his wives to celebrate Al-Mawlid Al-Nabawi among the public. His wife looked so beautiful wearing a white gown that a confectionary artist modelled a doll out of honey to emulate her look. As for Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, he was portrayed as a knight on his horse, which came to be known as “Housan Al-Mawlid” afterwards.

The couple was commemorated long after their death through the doll and the horse that became the traditional gifts of Al-Mawlid Al-Nabawi.

Both the doll and horse used to be made of honey until the 1990s. However, when the invasion of plastic dolls took over local markets, people started replacing sweets with actual dolls. Soon after, people started only purchasing Arouset Al-Mawlid so the horse also disappeared.

When it comes to Halawet Al-Mawlid, it is said that the Fatimid rulers used to influence and abate the masses by distributing sweets made of a mixture of nuts and honey. The sweets were mostly distributed during El-Mawlid El-Nabawi and soon, it became an inseparable part of the annual celebration.

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