FILE PHOTO: Locusts are seen in the Menabe region of western Madagascar, March 29, 2013. REUTERS/Clarel Faniry Rasoanaivo/File PhotoGENEVA (Reuters) - A locust outbreak in Sudan and Eritrea is spreading rapidly along both sides of the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said on Friday, flagging a possible threat to crops and food security.“Good rains along the Red Sea coastal plains in Eritrea and Sudan have allowed two generations of breeding since October, leading to a substantial increase in locust populations and the formation of highly mobile swarms,” the FAO said.At least one swarm had crossed to the northern coast of Saudi Arabia in mid-January, with further swarms a week later.Rains from two cyclones in 2018 had triggered breeding of locusts in the Empty Quarter region of Saudi Arabia, near the Yemen-Oman border, and a few swarms from two generations of breeding had reached the United Arab Emirates and southern Iran.There was a risk of further spread towards the India-Pakistan border, the FAO statement said.“The next three months will be critical to bring the locust situation under control before the summer breeding starts,” FAO locust expert Keith Cressman said in the statement.“The further spread of the current outbreak depends on two major factors - effective control and monitoring measures in locust breeding areas of Sudan, Eritrea and Saudi Arabia and the surrounding countries, and rainfall intensity between March and May along both sides of the Red Sea and in the interior of the Arabian Peninsula.”Control operations have treated nearly 85,000 ha (200,000 acres) since December including 30,000 ha in the past two weeks in Egypt, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, the FAO said.Control measures are also underway in Iran after at least one swarm arrived on the southern coast at the end of January, it said.Adult locust swarms can fly up to 150 km a day with the wind and adult insects can consume roughly their own weight in fresh food per day. A very small swarm eats as much in one day as about 35,000 people, posing a devastating threat to crops and food security.In an emailed comment to Reuters, Cressman said the last major desert locust upsurge was in 2003-2005 when more than 12 million hectares were treated in west and northwest Africa, incurring a cost of about $750 million including food aid.Since then there have been numerous outbreaks along the coastal plains on both sides of the Red Sea that were mostly controlled.The FAO will hold a meeting in Jordan next week to discuss intensifying control measures with affected countries, the statement said.
February 15, 2019 16:30 UTC
ReutersLONDON (Reuters) - Pop star Katy Perry and her Hollywood actor boyfriend Orlando Bloom have hinted they are engaged, posting a picture of the American singer sporting a large diamond-encrusted ring.Perry and Bloom began dating in 2016 but split for a time before getting back together.Both took to Instagram after Valentine’s Day to share the same photo, which showed part of their faces and the 34-year-old chart-topper sporting a flower-shaped ring, of small diamond ‘petals’ around a crimson stone, against a backdrop of red balloons.Perry, known for hits such as “Roar” and “California Gurls”, captioned her posting “full bloom”. The British “Lord of the Rings” actor, 42, added the caption “Lifetimes”.Fans were quick to post their congratulations.Neither star’s representatives were immediately available for comment.Perry, one of the biggest pop stars in the world, was previously married to British comedian Russell Brand.
February 15, 2019 15:56 UTC
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took part in a business lunch organized by the Munich Security Conference in the presence of Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier and Wolfgang Eichinger, the president of the conference. Presidential spokesperson Bassam Rady said that some heads of major German and international companies attended the business lunch, including Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank AG bank, the heads of Allianz insurance company, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Airbus, Siemens, and the Federation of German Industries. Other representatives for international companies working in the fields of telecommunications and electronics, media, financial services, asset management, investment funds, pharmaceuticals, and military industries, as well as representatives of international strategic research centers, also attended the meeting. Rady said that some heads of international companies praised the climate of stability witnessed by Egypt, both on the security and economic levels, which provides promising investment opportunities in many areas and encourages the expansion of investment in Egypt. Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm
February 15, 2019 15:00 UTC
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan shake hands during the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas GebertMunich - 15 February 2019: Acting U.S. Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Friday that the United States is committed to defeating Islamic State in the Middle East and beyond, but officials said European allies are sceptical of Washington's pledges.U.S. President Donald Trump's announcement in December that he was withdrawing all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria surprised and rattled allies. Kurdish-led fighters are battling to capture Islamic State's last major stronghold in Syria, but even without territory, the militant Islamist group is widely seen as a continuing threat.Shanahan said he envisioned a "bigger and stronger" coalition to fight Islamic State globally. "We are still trying to understand how the Americans plan to withdraw.
February 15, 2019 14:37 UTC
Egypt’s parliament initially approved constitutional amendments allowing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to extend his term in office until 2034. These amendments will be referred to the parliament’s legislative committee to go for a review before they get the parliament’s final vote. In case the amendments get approval from a two-thirds majority, parliament will hold a referendum according to the 2014 constitution. During the plenary sessions throughout the last week, some representatives of political parties overwhelmingly voiced their rejection to amending the constitution. “We are going backwards to the Middle Ages,” Tantawi added, strongly disagreeing that the amendments could be considered progress by any means.
February 15, 2019 14:26 UTC
Egypt's Tourism Minister Rania el MashatCAIRO - 15 February 2019: Tourism Minister Adviser for Training Soha Baghat discussed on Friday with Vice Secretary of Sichuan Provincial Committee of the CPC Gan Lin boosting bilateral cooperation in the field of tourism.On the behalf of Tourism Minister Rania Al Mashat, Bahgat stressed the importance of the Chinese market as one of the promising tourist markets for Egypt, pointing out that 2018 witnessed flocking of many Chinese tourists to Egypt.During the meeting, she noted that promoting for opening the Grand Egyptian Museum under the rubric "GEM2020" is a major axis of the Egyptian tourism promotion campaign.Bahgat pointed to the cooperation with China in the fields of training and improving the efficiency of the human factor, especially what is related to Chinese cuisine due to the Egyptians' turnout to it.Lin, for his part, said that China is looking forward to fostering tourism, academic, and cultural cooperation citing the Chinese tourists' passion for the ancient Egyptian civilization.He offered training programs for the Egyptian chiefs to train for preparing the Chinese food.Lin invited Mashat to attend the international travel expo, set to be held in Sichuan in September, saying the Egyptian companies' participation will have a great impact on the Chinese tourists flocking to Egypt.Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Authority Ahmed Youssef said that the fair will be a great opportunity for getting acquainted with the Chinese tourism companies and the needs of the Chinese tourists as well as promoting for the cultural tourism in Egypt.The meeting touched on developing tourism between Egypt and China in light of operating the first direct flights between Cairo and Sichuan.
February 15, 2019 14:26 UTC
Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany, Tourism Minister Rania al-Mashat, Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhi and Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Antiquities Mostafa Waziri participated on Friday in the start of the Pyramids Marathon, which was organized in the Giza Pyramids area to promote sports tourism in Egypt. The ministers took part in the marathon and handed over the prizes to the winners immediately after the race. The Pyramids Marathon took place at the most iconic of locations: the Great Pyramids of Giza. The Giza Plateau is the home of the Great Pyramids of Giza, world-renowned landmarks and among the best preserved structures remaining from Pharaonic times. The Pyramids Complex comprises the three main pyramids: Khufu, Kafre, and Menkaure.
February 15, 2019 13:52 UTC
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez on Friday called an early general election for April 28, the third in less than four years, after his draft budget was rejected in the Spanish parliament over the Catalan secession crisis. “Between two options – not doing anything and continuing without a budget, or… giving Spaniards their say – I choose the second,” Sanchez told reporters, before announcing the date. On Wednesday, Catalan MPs joined right-wing lawmakers in rejecting his budget. Sanchez has been savaged by the conservative Popular Party (PP), center-right Ciudadanos and more recently small, far-right party Vox. Several opinion polls see Sanchez’s Socialist party winning elections but likely unable to form a majority in parliament, even with Podemos.
February 15, 2019 13:41 UTC
Press photoCAIRO – 15 February 2019: Explosives specialists on Friday managed to defuse an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) near Al-Istiqamah Mosque, Giza Governorate.A security source announced in press remarks that a Muslim Brotherhood operative targeted a crowded area near the mosque and planted the bomb, which later got defused.Security forces on Friday morning suspected a strange object under the Giza Bridge and immediately a security cordon surrounded the place until specialists identified the object to be a bomb and defused it at once.An investigation was opened into the incident and further details will be revealed soon.
February 15, 2019 13:07 UTC
FILE: Pakistan Foreign Minister SM QureshiCAIRO - 15 February 2019: Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said Friday that Saudi Arabia is playing a significant role in preserving peace and stability in the region.In remarks ahead of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Pakistan, Qureshi added that Saudi Arabia enjoys great influence and respect in Pakistan.He also said his country aims to learn from the Saudi Kingdom’s example of fostering coexistence and moderation through organizing cultural activities and festivals.“We are very pleased with the Crown Prince’s visit that seeks to establish effective communication at all levels. I expect this visit to have a significant impact in driving the solid ties between the two countries to higher levels,” Qureshi told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper.The foreign minister also said that both Saudi Arabia and the UAE have contributed to pushing the Afghan peace process forward, and that Pakistan considers this “to be a very important role.“Pakistan also played a role in this reconciliation and helped to overcome all difficulties. We hope that security and stability will prevail for all.”Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is due to arrive in Islamabad on Feb. 16 on a two-day visit as part of his upcoming tour of several countries in Asia.
February 15, 2019 12:45 UTC
Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar said on Friday that his ministry aims to make Egypt a regional and international center for international exhibitions, pointing out the ministry’s keenness to benefit from international and European expertise in general and German in particular in organizing international exhibitions. This came during Nassar’s meeting with President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH Werner Dornscheidt and his accompanying delegation. Pacprocess 2019, the International Exhibition for Processing & Packaging in the Middle East and Africa, is a comprehensive and highly-targeted exhibition that addresses the requirements of the food, beverage, confectionery, bakery, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, non-food, and industrial goods sectors in the Middle East and Africa region. The trade fair brings together local and international industry stakeholders from across the entire value chain to showcase cutting-edge technologies and forge lucrative partnerships. Pacprocess Middle East Africa 2019 is the newest addition to the Interpack Alliance, which spans all international events staged by Messe Düsseldorf GmbH under its processing & packaging portfolio.
February 15, 2019 12:45 UTC
FILE: The Grand Renaissance DamCAIRO – 15 February 2019: After it was announced that the tripartite meeting between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia on the controversial Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) will resume in February, it was revealed that the meeting could convene in early March. He added that the three countries did not agree where the meeting will convene. When Ethiopia started building the GERD on Blue Nile, from which Egypt’s 80 percent of Nile’s water share (55 billion cubic meters) comes in May 2011, downstream countries (Egypt and Ethiopia) voiced their concern as the dam could affect their water shares. In 2014, however, three countries started a series of tripartite meetings to discuss the possible negative impacts of the GERD and they inked Declaration of Principles to not causing significant damage to Egypt and Sudan on March 15, 2015. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said that three countries did not reach a unified decision on the techniques of filling the reservoir of the dam yet.
February 15, 2019 12:22 UTC
Egyptian Textile Museum - Facebook. The ceiling of one of the museum's halls - Egypt TodayCAIRO – 15 February 2019: Egyptian Textile Museum celebrated its 9th anniversary on Wednesday, February 13. This museum is the only textile museum in the Middle East.The Textile Museum in Muezz Street in Cairo displays fine collections of textile from the Pharaonic, the Roman, Coptic and Islamic eras.It is proof that Egypt’s lengthy history is not only documented on papyrus or stones, but also knitted in garments.The collection of the Ancient Egyptian textiles contains clothes, bed sheets, mummy covers, cushionsand even diapers.Beside the pieces of cloth, the museum also displays small statues of men, women, servants, and gods with their outfit carved on their bodies to display the variation in their dress codes.The section that displays the Roman era holds a number of sowing tools beside the textilesas well as a small model of a spinning and weaving workshop.The Coptic areain the Museum shows this era was revolutionary in the textile production in terms of colors, and the use of other materials, as cotton, wool and silk.The Islamic section features different styles of Arabic calligraphy and holds parts of a cover of the Ka’ba, which Egypt used to produce.The museum finally displays some pieces from outside Egypt, mostly from Iran.The lights of the museum are dim which is not very helpful for photographers, but this is because the lights, temperature and humidity are controlled to preserve the antiquities.
February 15, 2019 12:11 UTC
Works on Zohr gas field on the Mediterranean- Photo courtesy of Eni websiteMILAN - 15 February 2019: Italian oil company Eni beat expectations with a 55 percent jump in fourth quarter profit as higher prices, mainly gas, offset a dip in production.Adjusted net profit was 1.459 billion euros ($1.65 billion), above an analyst consensus forecast provided by the company of 1.19 billion euros.For the full year, the company said its average oil and gas production reached a record 1.851 million barrels per day, lifted by operations in Egypt, Indonesia and Kazakhstan as well as its entry into the United Arab Emirates (UAE).Since last March, Eni has clinched nine deals in the UAE.“We achieved our highest ever level of production ... with a cash flow per barrel of $22.5, achieving our 2022 target four years early,” Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi said in a statement.BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Total have all reported higher profits driven by growth in oil and gas.Eni, which saw a 40 percent rise in cash flow at replacement cost to 3.3 billion euros, confirmed it would pay a 2018 dividend of 0.83 euros per share
February 15, 2019 12:00 UTC
Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany , the Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhy and Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities participated in the Pyramids Marathon on Friday, FebrCAIRO - 15 February 2019: Minister of Antiquities Khaled Anany , the Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of Youth and Sports Ashraf Sobhy and Mostafa Waziri, the secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities participated in the Pyramids Marathon on Friday, February 15 morning to uplift sports tourism.About 4000 participants from 75 different countries participated in the marathon that took place at Giza Pyramids area.Minister of Antiquities capture selfies with the participants while running.At the end of the marathon the three ministers granted medals to the winners.
February 15, 2019 11:48 UTC