Lebanon protesters keep pressure on government as reform deadline nears

Demonstrators carry national flags during an anti-government protest in downtown Beirut, Lebanon October 20, 2019. REUTERS/Ali HashishoBEIRUT (Reuters) - Protesters in Lebanon flooded the streets on Sunday, keeping pressure on Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri as a self-imposed deadline to deliver a package of badly needed reforms for the country’s crumbling economy drew near.Anti-government protests that have swept the country since Thursday have pulled together all segments of Lebanese society in an unusually unified call for the downfall of a political elite that protesters blame for plunging the economy into crisis.On Sunday demonstrators clogged streets across the country for a fourth day with marches resembling outdoor festivals. Loudspeakers blared nationalistic music as energized protesters chanted calls for the government’s fall.“I didn’t expect people from the country’s north, south and Beirut to join hands and like each other. Officials and economists also predict a currency devaluation or a debt default within months if it fails to sure up its finances.The IMF said last week that Lebanon’s crisis requires tough austerity measures such as tax hikes and levies on fuel, steps the country’s politicians have publicly vowed not to take.The mounting unrest was triggered in part by a proposed fee on WhatsApp calls, a measure quickly scrapped but that was seen by many as the latest government attempt to squeeze citizens receiving little in return from the state.Lebanon’s economy registered just 0.3 percent growth last year. The IMF said the reforms were needed to stem a ballooning deficit and public debt it forecasts to reach 155 percent of GDP by year-end, one of the world’s highest.

Source:Egypt Today

October 20, 2019 12:45 UTC


Zamalek defeats Arab Contractors 2-1, leads the Egyptian league table

Zamalek - FILECAIRO – 20 October 2019: The match between Zamalek and the Arab Contractors ended with the victory of the white team 2/1, in the confrontation held between them on Saturday evening at Al-Salam stadium, which came in the 5th round of the Egyptian League.The Arab contractors advanced through Mohamed Salem in the 11th minute and then equalizer came through Fergani Sassi in the 15th minute , Ahmed Sayed Zizo scored the winning goal for Zamalek in the 34th minute.Zamalek will not play the CAF Super Cup clash against Esperance of Tunisia in Qatar, the club President, Mortada Mansour, states on Saturday.“We will not play in Qatar whatever the consequences. I said before we will not play in Qatar even when the handball team reached the Club World Cup and was scheduled in Qatar, we withdrew.” Mansour said.Zamalek reached CAF Super Cup after they defeated Morocco’s RS Berkane on penalties to win CAF Confederation Cup title.Mansour added “I don’t mind playing the Super Cup in Tunisia but we will not play in Qatar even if we will be relegated to the third division.”Esperence aim to achieve the title after losing last season’s title 2-1 to Raja Casablanca.CAF signed an agreement with Qatar to host the Super Cup game for three years, starting from last season.On June 5, 2017, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Bahrain decided to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, after years of unstable relations, and implicit attacks on Qatar. Qatar was accused by the quartet of funding and promoting terrorism and intervening in the domestic affairs of the quartet countries.

Source:Egypt Today

October 20, 2019 12:33 UTC


European Bank for Reconstruction and Development invests $5B in Egypt

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development - Photo courtesy of EBRD official websiteCAIRO – 20 October 2019: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) investments in Egypt amounted to about $5 billion; in which the private sector share of the total investments represent 58%, according to Head of the Bank Suma Chakrabarti.In a statement issued by Ministry of Investment Sunday, Chakrabarti added that the bank's investments in Egypt represent more than 50 percent of its investments in Africa, which are currently focused on Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.He affirmed that the bank is committed to supporting Egypt in its reform efforts.This came during a meeting with the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Sahar Nasr, on the sidelines of the World Bank's annual meetings held in Washington.The two sides discussed increasing cooperation between Egypt and the Bank in infrastructure and transport projects under Egypt's presidency of the African Union presidency. Moreover, they also discussed encouraging the private sector to participate in these projects and exploiting the promising investment opportunities in Africa that need infrastructure.For her part, the Minister expressed Egypt's aspiration to strengthen cooperation and partnership relations with the Bank in areas such as transport, metro and rail development, small and medium enterprises, electricity and increasing support to the private sector.Chakrabarti stressed the bank's keenness to increase cooperation with Egypt in promoting economic integration in the African continent through increasing the inflows of the bank's investments in it, especially in infrastructure projects.Nasr pointed out that infrastructure is the main engine of economic growth and attracting new investments in Egypt and Africa, in areas such as transport and energy, which is considered the best investment that provides services to citizens.She further invited the President of EBRD to participate in the Africa 2019 Forum, which will be held under the auspices of President Abdel Fatah El Sisi on Nov. 22 and 23 in the new administrative capital. A number of heads of state, government and ministers will attend the forum from Africa, businessmen and investors Forum all over the world.

Source:Egypt Today

October 20, 2019 12:33 UTC


Egypt qualify to Military World Cup quarter-finals

Egyptian Football team in Military World Cup - FinalCAIRO, 20 October 2019: The Military Football Team defeated Canada 3-0 in their third match at the Military World Cup in China from Oct. 16 to 29. The match kicked off on Sunday morning, CLT, amid heavy rain in Wuhan, China.Egypt qualified to the Military World Cup quarter-finals with four points in their record from a draw against Greece & a victory over Canada.Egypt’s Brazilian coach, Farias, started the game with a team consisting of "Mohamed Shaaban, Ahmed Alaa, Ali El-Fil, Islam Serry, Assem Salah, Mohannad Lasheen, Amr El-Sisi, Ahmed Samir, Abou El-Magd Boucha, Karim Tarek and Amr Gamal. "Farias has pushed three changes: Abdel Rahman Zola instead of Islam Serri, Karim Mamdouh instead of Karim Tarek and Ahmed Kaboria instead of Amr El Sisi.The Brazilian Sergio Farias, announced the list of the team that will participate in the military World Cup and the list included 21 players are: "Mohamed Bassam, Mohamed Shaaban, Ali Mohab, Ahmed Sami, Ahmed Alaa, Mohamed Abou El Magd Boucha, Islam Serry, Assem Salah, Mohamed Nasif, Mahmoud Sami, Amr Sisi, Ahmed Caboria, MuhannadLashin and Ahmed Daouda, Ahmed Abdel Rahman Zola, Ahmed Samir, Karim Tarek, Mamdouh Khaled Abdel Meguid, Hussam Paulo, Amr Gamal and Mohamed Shehata.The technical and coaching staff of the Egyptian military team in the tournament include: Brigadier General Ahmed Fouad El Mahdy Director of the football, Sergio Farias technical coach, El Sayed Swerki goalkeeper coach, Stefano Mpakbazu load scheme, Mahmoud Abdel Ghani translator, Yousra Irfan administrative manager, Mohamed Mokhtar director of players affairs , Mohamed Abdel Rahman Doctor, Mohamed Adel Hakam, Tahseen Abu Sadat Hakam.

Source:Egypt Today

October 20, 2019 12:22 UTC


'Cross Egypt Challenge' rally important tourist event: Minya governor

Nile view from Minya – Official Facebook page of Best Places EgyptMINYA, Oct 20 (MENA) - The Cross Egypt Challenge, which runs from October 17 to 26, is an important tourism event aimed at reviving tourism in Egypt, Minya Governor Kassam Hussein said on Sunday.Minya is the second leg of the event that includes a series of endurance cross-country motorcycles and scooter rallies conducted through the roads of Egypt.The governor gave participants souvenirs and invited them to visit Minya again.Around 34 participants, including 16 foreigners from six countries, are taking part in the rally.The rally route extends over 2,650 km and will be completed over eight stages with one rest day planned in Luxor.The route will start from Alexandria, heads south to the capital Cairo before riding along the Nile valley down to Minya.From Minya, the challenge will make its way to the Kharga Oasis in the heart of the Egyptian Western Desert then back towards the Nile Valley to reach Luxor, the capital of ancient Egypt and the largest open air museum in the world where the riders will enjoy a rest day for sightseeing in this magnificent destination.From Luxor the challenge will then head west to cross the Egyptian Eastern desert - one of the most challenging deserts on the face of the planet due to its rock formation and high mountain range - then south along the Red Sea shores to reach one brand new destination, Bernice in the deep Egyptian south and the closest location to Shalatein where the riders will spend their night on the shore of the Red Sea.From Bernice, the north ascend starts as the challenge heads back north along the Red Sea Riviera to make stops in Hurghada/Elgouna and Sokhna. The final leg of the season will take place between Sokhna and Cairo to end the challenge under the great pyramids of Giza.

Source:Egypt Today

October 20, 2019 11:37 UTC


Indonesia's Widodo faces test on reform credentials in second term

Indonesian President Joko Widodo is sworn in during his presidential inauguration for the second term, at the House of Representatives building in Jakarta, Indonesia, October 20, 2019. Adi Weda/Pool via REUTERSJAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian President Joko Widodo was sworn in on Sunday for a second five-year term leading the world’s third-biggest democracy, after an election dominated by economic issues but also the growing influence of conservative Islam.Widodo, 58, has pledged to cut red tape and keep building infrastructure to underpin growth in southeast Asia’s largest economy, but also made improving education a top priority to encourage investment and create jobs for a youthful population of 260 million people.“This will be a big problem if we fail to create enough job opportunities,” Widodo told parliament after his inauguration, where he cited his dream of Indonesia becoming one of the world’s top five economies by 2045 with a GDP worth $7 trillion.The president said he would push two bills to replace laws that have hampered job creation, as well as warning he could sack underperforming civil servants.He said he would name his cabinet on Monday morning.There was tight security at parliament for his swearing-in alongside his vice president, Islamic cleric Ma’ruf Amin.More than 30,000 security personnel were deployed following recent student demonstrations and after the country’s security minister was stabbed by a suspected Islamist militant earlier this month.The inauguration was attended by regional leaders including Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad and Singapore’s Lee Hsien Loong.Widodo grew up in a riverside slum and was the first national leader to come from outside the political and military elite.Popularly known as Jokowi, his everyman image has resonated with ordinary voters, though he has been criticized for being too beholden to powerful party backers and surrounding himself with former generals from the era of late strongman leader Suharto.“The president wants to improve the investment environment but is likely to face implementation woes when planned reforms are confronted by the interests of power brokers in his coalition,” Achmad Sukarsono, a political analyst at Control Risks, said in a note.APPROVAL RATINGLast month, Indonesia saw the biggest student demonstrations since Suharto stepped down in 1998 amid anger over bills parliament had tried to push through that critics say threaten democracy, intrude into privacy and hurt the fight against graft.Still, so far Widodo’s popularity appears to be holding up. A survey published last week by Indonesia’s biggest newspaper Kompas showed his approval rating dipping only slightly to 58.8%.In April’s election, Widodo defeated former general Prabowo Subianto by a double-digit margin, but the poll revealed a split with more moderate Muslims and minorities backing Widodo and conservative Muslim regions backing his rival.Violent rioting broke out in Jakarta when Prabowo contested the poll results over claims of cheating, but the Constitutional Court upheld Widodo’s victory and there have since been talks to bring some opposition figures into the government.The make-up of Widodo’s cabinet is being closely watched to see the proportion of technocrats versus party affiliated posts and there has been speculation that Prabowo or other members of the opposition could join the cabinet.There are expected to be 34 ministers in the cabinet and Widodo said around 16 would come from political parties.The president’s $33 billion plan to relocate Indonesia’s capital from sinking, congested Jakarta on Java island to the island of Borneo has grabbed headlines. But it has also raised questions about how it would be financed and its environmental impact.Indonesia’s economic growth is forecast to slow for the first time in four years in 2019 and some independent observers warn of a further slowdown amid a global downturn.

Source:Egypt Today

October 20, 2019 11:37 UTC


Solidarity ministry launches initiative to employ disabled people

FILE – Man in a wheelchair (L) – pxhere/unknown cameraCAIRO – 20 October 2019: The Ministry of Social Solidarity on Sunday has launched an initiative to employ people with disabilities, in cooperation with a private company.The initiative, dubbed "Hayah", comes as part of national efforts to expand the social protection umbrella for people with special needs, including providing monthly cash assistance or through providing them with job opportunities.Ministry of Manpower and Immigration appointed in September 1777 youth including 21 with special needs, according to a statement issued by the ministry. Earlier In the same month, Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouli has inaugurated a rehabilitation center for people with special needs, established by the Ministry of Interior, in the 10th of Ramdan City.Moreover, in December last year, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi allocated LE 80 million ($4.46 million) of the country's Tahya Misr Fund in support of people with special needs.The president made the announcement while attending a celebration marking the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. "People with special needs in Egypt represent 9-10 percent of the total population," Sisi said.Sisi also announced last year establishing a technical center for services for disabled persons, to be the first of its kind in Africa.The center is set to enable people with hearing or speech related disability to use technology to communicate through mobile phones.During the inauguration of the 7th International Conference on Information Technology Convergence and Services for People with Disabilities (ICT4PwDs), Sisi also announced establishing an initiative that aims to enable disabled people to get services and information introduced by online websites of governmental institutions.

Source:Egypt Today

October 20, 2019 10:18 UTC


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