© AFP/File | More than 340,000 people have been killed since the conflict broke out in March 2011 when protests against President Bashar al-Assad's rule sparked a brutal crackdownGENEVA - 14 December 2017: The United Nations peace envoy for Syria called Wednesday on Russian President Vladimir Putin to "have the courage" to convince his ally in Damascus to hold new elections in the war-ravaged country.Staffan de Mistura, who is mediating peace negotiations in Geneva, said that a military victory alone in Syria's six-year civil war was not enough for President Bashar al-Assad and that new polls were needed for him to "win the peace". "There needs, straight away, to be a political process that includes everyone to achieve a new constitution and new elections," he told Swiss RTS television.Russia intervened in Syria's devastating conflict in 2015, providing aerial and ground support for government forces, ostensibly to combat advances by what Moscow and Damascus termed "terrorist" groups.On Tuesday, the first Russian troops began returning home after Putin ordered a pullout, saying their mission had been largely completed.De Mistura said Putin "had to convince the (Syrian) government that there's no time to lose". "We can talk about having won the territorial war, which is temporary, but the peace also needs to be won and for that there needs to be the courage to push the government to accept" new elections, which De Mistura said should be monitored by the UN.Talks this month, the eight round of UN-brokered negotiations between the Syrian government and rebel factions, have snagged on the issue of Assad's future, with a rebel alliance insisting the president must go as part of any peace deal.A parallel process organised by Moscow and including fellow government ally Iran and rebel backer Turkey, is set to resume next week in Astana, Kazakhstan.More than 340,000 people have been killed since the conflict broke out in March 2011 when protests against Assad's rule sparked a brutal crackdown.

December 13, 2017 21:22 UTC

The National Civil Movement first press conference, Wednesday December 13, 2017 - Egypt Today/Hassan MohamedThe National Civil Movement first press conference, Wednesday December 13, 2017 - Egypt Today/Hassan MohamedThe National Civil Movement first press conference, Wednesday December 13, 2017 - Egypt Today/Hassan MohamedThe National Civil Movement first press conference, Wednesday December 13, 2017 - Egypt Today/Hassan MohamedCAIRO – 13 December 2017: A number of political figures announced on Wednesday the establishment of the National Civil Movement; a new bloc which includes eight different parties with several well-known public personalities.In their first statement, the National Civil Movement demanded from the government to make several amendments to the law, especially in regards to the ‘protesting law’, and to release some of the arrested young men. The movement named Yehya Ehsan as the official spokesperson.The founding members of the movement are Farid Zahran, chairman of the Egyptian Democratic Party, Mohamed Anwar Sadat, chairman of the Reform and Development Party, Mohamed Samy, chairman of the Karama Party, Amaar Ali Hassan, Ahmed El Borai, George Isaac and Kamal Abu Eita.“We decided to establish this movement to counter the one-voice approach in the country,” Mohamed Sami, head of the Karama party, said during the conference.According to the movement’s spokesperson Yehya Ehsan, the bloc is supposed to include several well-known public figures such as veteran activist and writer Alaa al-Aswany, former head of Egypt's Central Auditing Organization (CAO) Hesham Genena and director Daoud Abdel Sayed.Despite having a huge number of political parties before the revolution of January 2011 (up to 84), none of them had a real opportunity to form a political opposition because of the nature of the political environment at the time. Only the ruling National Democratic Party had the upper hand. However, after the revolution, Egypt’s political community thrived remarkably and more than 30 parties announced their establishment.

December 13, 2017 20:03 UTC

Soccer Football - FIFA Club World Cup Semi Final - Al Jazira vs Real Madrid - Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates - December 13, 2017 Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates - REUTERS/Matthew ChCAIRO – 13 December 2017: Real Madrid defeated Al Jazira 2-1 on Wednesday to qualify to the FIFA Club World Cup final. Real Madrid ended Al Jazira’s adventure in the tournament.Real Madrid entered the game with a massive attacking line of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Francisco Alarcon known as Isco. Real Madrid tried to score the first goal to have the upper hand in the game but Al Jazira’s goalkeeper, Ali Khasif, saved all their chances.Al Jazira opened the score after a great counter attack from Al Jazira trio, Ali Mabkhout, Mbark Boussoufa and Romário Ricardo da Silva known as Ronarinho, who put the ball in the back of the net to render the score 1-0 for the Emirati side.Real Madrid failed to equalize the score before the half time to end the first half 1-0.In the second half, the referee disallowed Al Jazira’s second goal and Real Madrid equalized the score minutes later through Cristiano Ronaldo.Real Madrid scored the winning goal minutes before the final whistle through the substitute, Gareth Bale.Real Madrid will play against Brazil’s Gremio at the final on December 16 at Zayed Sports City Stadium, Abu Dhabi.

December 13, 2017 20:03 UTC

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi looks on during a news conference at Chigi Palace in Rome August 4, 2011. "A vote on March 4? That would be excellent. The sooner we go to the polls the better," said Matteo Salvini, head of the far-right Northern League party.Italy's 10-year bond yield rose to a two-week high on the election reports, with investors concerned about political uncertainty in the euro zone's third biggest economy.Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right alliance is seen winning the most seats at the forthcoming ballot, opinion polls say. "The next elections will be very important, placing the country at a crossroads, with one path leading to a continuation of reforms and the other leading nowhere," it said in a report, warning parties against pursuing "demagogic measures".Political leaders have already made a rash of promises that economists warn could damage the country's fragile finances, including pledges of generous handouts for pensioners and large tax cuts.

December 13, 2017 20:03 UTC

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi looks on during a news conference at Chigi Palace in Rome August 4, 2011. "A vote on March 4? That would be excellent. The sooner we go to the polls the better," said Matteo Salvini, head of the far-right Northern League party.Italy's 10-year bond yield rose to a two-week high on the election reports, with investors concerned about political uncertainty in the euro zone's third biggest economy.Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's centre-right alliance is seen winning the most seats at the forthcoming ballot, opinion polls say. "The next elections will be very important, placing the country at a crossroads, with one path leading to a continuation of reforms and the other leading nowhere," it said in a report, warning parties against pursuing "demagogic measures".Political leaders have already made a rash of promises that economists warn could damage the country's fragile finances, including pledges of generous handouts for pensioners and large tax cuts.

December 13, 2017 20:03 UTC





Paul Garnier, Switzerland's new ambassador - File PhotoCAIRO - 13 December 2017: Switzerland will earmark 20 million dollars for its activities in Egypt in 2018, Swiss Ambassador in Cairo Paul Garnier said Wednesday.Garnier’s remarks came during his meeting with Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali at the ministry’s HQ.Up to 50 percent of the allocated funds will be used in the social protection schemes as part of the cooperation strategy in 2017-2020, to be launched in the coming days, and in a support of Egyptian reforms according to Egypt’s agenda 2030, Garnier said.He asserted his country’s readiness to boost cooperation with Egypt, citing the visit by Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch to launch the cooperation strategy in 2017-2020, during which a number of agreements with the Egyptian governments would be signed.Wali reviewed with Garnier the current social protection scheme called Takaful and Karama.She also told the Swiss envoy that the executive regulation of the NGOs law will be issued by the prime minister.

December 13, 2017 19:41 UTC

Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel Aal - File photoCAIRO - 13 December 2017: Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal left Cairo on Wednesday for Morocco to take part in an extraordinary meeting of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, slated for Thursday.The session, held at the request of Speaker of the Moroccan Parliament Habib el Malki, will discuss the recent US decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem.

December 13, 2017 19:18 UTC

Egypt's Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly talks at Egypt Mega Projects MEED Conference in Cairo, Egypt, December 8, 2015 - REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El GhanyCAIRO – 13 December 2017: Minister of Housing and Acting Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly reviewed the comprehensive plan for Sinai development during a meeting with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi and other ministers on Wednesday.Spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency, Bassam Radi, stated that the plan aims to establish national projects in different fields and to exploit promising investment opportunities in Sinai, providing job opportunities and improving the livelihoods of citizens.Madbouly also referred to the establishment of new private universities, Sisi stressed that these universities should make agreements with 50 international universities in the fields of science, technology, economy and trade.He added that this is within the state’s plan to advance universities’ education to graduates at the highest levels.In addition, the Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker submitted a report on the Dabaa nuclear power station and the executive plan set out to establish the project.Planning Minister Hala el-Said said that a comprehensive development vision will be implemented in Sinai in the coming stage as it is in need of more education with a focus on building universities and youth centers on November 8 following a meeting with Madbouly.

December 13, 2017 19:07 UTC

Messi speaks with Martinez during the last Clasico - Photo courtesy of MarcaCAIRO – 13 December 2017: International Spanish referee Sanchez Martinez will be in charge of Real Madrid’s game against Barcelona. The Spanish League game known as El Clasico is scheduled on December 23 in Madrid.Martinez, 34, took charge of Real Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup second leg in Madrid on August 16. Marco Asensio and Karim Benzema scored Madrid’s goals in the game.Martinez has been an international referee since January 2017 and he is one of the most promising referees in Spain.Martinez was the referee in only one game for both clubs this season. He was in charge of Madrid’s 3-0 victory over Las Palmas in Madrid, and he was also the referee during Barcelona’s 3-0 victory over their neighbors, Girona, in Catalonia.Football fans expect a tough clash between Barcelona and Real Madrid, as this game will be decisive for the title race. Barcelona leads the Spanish League table, 8 points ahead of Real Madrid.

December 13, 2017 19:07 UTC

Israeli border police disperse a Palestinian man during scuffles that erupted after Palestinians held evening prayers outside the Lion's Gate of Jerusalem's Old City July 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar AwadRAMALLAH - 13 December 2017: Israeli occupation troops dispersed worshipers who were preparing to perform Maghreb prayer at the yard of the Damascus gate of Jerusalem Mosque.The forces assaulted the worshipers and fired tear gas at them amid protests against a US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.Two other rallies in streets near the holy mosque have been also suppressed by the troops.Meantime, three Palestinian young people were injured when Israeli forces dispersed a protest in Hebron.Scores of people participating in the rally suffered suffocation as the troops used tear gas against them.

December 13, 2017 18:45 UTC

5th UNAOC Symposium held Wednesday on Hate Speech held Wednesday in Cairo - Photo courtesy: Mohamed el-HossaryCAIRO – 13 December 2017: #SpreadNoHate is the official slogan of the UNAOC’s symposium and it is the second most trending tweet in Egypt.The United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in collaboration with Egypt Media Development Program (EMDP), held its fifth symposium on countering hate speech against migrants and refugees in the media. "The impact of people’s mass movements is now more pronounced than ever before... we've witnessed solidarity with refugees, but also xenophobia in the media," says Chief of Cabinet Nihal Saad, who is also the spokesperson for the High Representative of the UNAOC.During the panel entitled “Traditional Media as a Vehicle for Hate speech,” Saad stressed the negative role that social media might play in propagating hate speech against refugees which could make them feel threatened and intimidated and she therefore calls for laws to regulate the usage on social media platforms.Head of the Arabic Language Service at the Associated Press, Lamiaa Radi, underscored the international community’s unified efforts to tackle hate speech against migrants and refugees by spreading awareness through media campaigns and conferences.Aligning with Radi, Sami Zaptia, the co-founder and managing editor of Libya Herald, said that “[we] should integrate new glossaries in English and Arabic to describe the events that the migrants and refugees witness throughout their journey.”"Journalists - professionals and those in training - have to learn about fact-checking," says journalist and author Randa Habib, adding that journalists must truly digest the “red lines” and refrain from crossing them while doing their job abroad.During the session “Understanding Hate Speech in a Global Context and Across Cultures,” Habib also said that refugees and migrants are the most targeted group in terms of hate speech.We have to raise and show awareness in dealing with immigration issues that have become a global issue,” Ezzat Ibrahim, editor-in-chief of Al-Ahram Weekly, said during the panel.

December 13, 2017 18:33 UTC

Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus watch on December 6 a televised broadcast of U.S. President Donald Trump - REUTERS/Abed Omar QusiniCAIRO – 13 December 2017: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit Wednesday issued a draft declaration that Washington's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a sign of U.S. withdrawal from its role as a sponsor of the Middle East peace process.The draft statement declared East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, and invited all countries to recognize the State of Palestine and East Jerusalem as its occupied capital.The whole Arab and Muslim nations "rejected and condemned" President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and stated that it means that the U.S. can no longer act as an "unbiased" sponsor in the Middle East peace talks.The whole Arab and Muslim nations support all legal and peaceful steps that the State of Palestine seeks to take at the national and international levels in order to consolidate its sovereignty over Jerusalem and the occupied Palestinian territory in general.Trump’s move is described as the “deliberate undermining of all peace efforts, an impetus (for) extremism and terrorism, and a threat to international peace and security," the draft reads.Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated on Wednesday during his speech at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation summit that Egypt condemns Trump’s unilateral decision because it violates international legitimacy.Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid published on his Twitter account excerpts from Shoukry’s speech saying: "Egypt deplores the unilateral American decision that violates international legitimacy. The stability of the region and the world cannot bear any uncalculated action against Jerusalem and it will not be achieved In light of indifference towards the feelings of millions of Arabs, Muslims and Christians. "The summit, called initially by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, brings together high-level delegations headed by Muslim leaders to discuss the implications of last Wednesday’s decision by U.S. President Trump to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and thus declare it as the capital of Israel.International and regional condemnations poured down on the U.S. decision and several protests broke out at various U.S. embassies around the globe.

December 13, 2017 18:11 UTC

Soccer, al-Ahly vs Misr el-Makasa, 10-12-2017, Misr el-Makasa players pose for a moment of silence – Photo Courtesy of Egypt TodayCAIRO – 13 December 2017: The CAF Champions League preliminary round draw was held on Wednesday at the CAF headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. The draw put Misr el-Makasa against Senegal’s Generation Foot.El-Makasa qualified to the CAF Champions League for the first time in their history after being the 2017 Egyptian League runner-up after al-Ahly won the title.El-Makasa will open their participation in the tournament in February in Senegal, before playing the second leg in Egypt.The team’s opponent, Generation Foot, qualified to the tournament after winning the 2017 Senegalese League.The winner of this match will play against the winner of the clash between Niger’s AS FAN and Guinea’s Horoya AC in March.Al-Ahly will start their participation from the next round. They will play against the winner of the clash between Gabon's CF Mounana and Burkina Faso's Rail Club du Kadiogo.Al-Ahly was the last Egyptian club to win the title, defeating South Africa’s Orlando Pirates in the final of 2013.

December 13, 2017 18:11 UTC

Qatari Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, November 26, 2017 – YouTube/Press TV News VideoCAIRO – 13 December 2017: U.S. National Security Advisor Herbert Raymond McMaster presented on Monday a collection of American enemies, including Turkey and Qatar for their extremist ideology.During his meeting with his British counterpart, McMaster said that Turkey and Qatar, two major U.S. allies, are becoming more problematic in terms of American foreign policy.He added that both nations are major supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which is also the main reason that Turkey’s relations with the West have suffered in recent years.McMaster warned of political Islam as well as the Muslim Brotherhood for their extremist ideology. He also said that the MB is financed by charities and social organizations.He further remarked that Qatar and Turkey have financed the MB, stressing that the U.S. administration is determined to combat extremist ideologies.The Arab Quartet has disseminated many facts about Qatar’s relations with various extremists since the start of 2017. Qatar has hosted three individuals designated by the U.S. as terrorists, namely Wajdi Ghoneim, Saad bin Saad al-Kaabi and Abdul Rahman bin Umair al-Nuaimi.However, Qatar has denied all the allegations, insisting that the campaign launched by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to boycott Qatar is based on fabricated and false news.Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani delivered a speech in light of the current Gulf crisis in July.During the speech, Tamim stated that all allegations against Qatar for supporting terrorism and extremists are not true.On June 5, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic ties with Qatar over accusations of sponsoring terrorist groups, and they then issued six demands that must be fulfilled by Qatar before a dialogue between Qatar and the Quartet can start.

December 13, 2017 18:00 UTC

Rex Tillerson testifies during a confirmation hearing. REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueWASHINGTON - 13 December 2017: No negotiations can be held with North Korea until it improves its behavior, a White House official said on Wednesday, raising questions about U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's offer to begin talks with Pyongyang anytime and without pre-conditions. "The administration is united in insisting that any negotiations with North Korea must wait until the regime fundamentally improves its behavior," the official said. "As the secretary of state himself has said, this must include, but is not limited to, no further nuclear or missile tests. "In his speech, however, Tillerson did not explicitly set a testing freeze as a requirement before talks can begin.

December 13, 2017 18:00 UTC