Marine Le Pen’s National Front party in France has congratulated Vladimir Putin on winning the Russian presidential election, seeing in his large victory a sign of Russia’s “stability and democratic foundations.”In a statement released Monday, the far-right party also praised Putin for bringing Russia back to prominence on the world stage. Without being specific, the National Front then urged the European Union to “put an end to its absurd and counterproductive politics of blackmail, threats and sanctions” against Russia, “a vital ally in the war against terror and our common enemy, the Islamic State.”A month before the French presidential election last year, Putin hosted Marine Le Pen at the Kremlin. He praised her, saying she represented part of a “quickly developing spectrum of European political forces.”
March 19, 2018 10:30 UTC
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed stressed in Sunday’s meeting in Cairo that they are holding on to the 13 demands requested of Qatar by the four boycotting Arab countries, which include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Egypt respectively. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Egypt’s acting Chief of General Intelligence, and the UAE ambassador to Cairo also attended the meeting. Spokesman for the Egyptian Presidency Bassam Rady said that the UAE Foreign Minister emphasized during the meeting the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation and to continue intensive coordination and consultation between the two sides on various issues of mutual concern. Egypt and Saudi Arabia had denied earlier, in July 2017, media reports from the BBC which claimed that the four Arab nations boycotting Qatar had revised their 13 conditions of reconciliation. Qatar rejected the demands, calling the list “unrealistic” and “implausible.”Kuwait has been acting as a mediator between the quarreling countries.
Twenty-two Bulgarian tourists were injured in a bus crash on the Marsa Alam-Edfu Road on Monday morning. Several ambulances headed to the site of the crash, according to medical and security sources in the Red Sea area, to transport the injured to a one-day-surgery hospital in Marsa Alam, where they will receive treatment. Edited Translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm
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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on Monday for greater access to the civilian population of Afrin, declaring that the Turkish Red Crescent lacked credibility among the Syrian Kurds after Turkey’s military operation. ICRC President Peter Maurer, speaking on return from a two-week trip to Syria, Iraq and Iran, told reporters in Geneva: “…the credibility of a Turkish Red Crescent working in Afrin with the Kurdish population is close to zero”. The ICRC is helping some of the thousands of displaced civilians who have fled Afrin to villages near Aleppo, but needs regular access to Afrin, where civilians have the right to neutral, impartial aid and the right to leave or stay, he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin won a fourth presidential term with nearly 77 percent of the vote — his highest score ever and a massive mandate to pursue his nationalist, assertive policies for another six years in power. Near-final results released Monday showed that the other seven candidates were far behind Putin in Sunday’s voting. The only candidate to openly criticize Putin during the campaign, liberal TV star Ksenia Sobchak, won just 1.7 percent. He won 53 percent of the vote in the 2000 presidential election, 71 percent in 2004 and 64 percent in 2012. The massive victory gives Putin new confidence to stand up to the West.
Old Cairo Misdemeanor Court acquitted TV anchor Mona al-Iraqi at the al-Mehwar channel for engaging in “blatant behavior,” broadcasting false news, and defaming Egyptian men during her coverage of a rape case on her show “Entebah” (Attention) in February. A lawyer issued a lawsuit against the host after she had allegedly used inappropriate words when describing men, claiming that their behavior is solely driven by their sex drive. The lawyer said that Iraqi’s remarks were offensive to both Egyptian men and women. The lawyer added that Iraqi’s comments also encourage women to take vengeance against men, while also pointing out that the General Association for Media and the al-Mehwar TV channel suspended Iraqi from her work after her remarks. In 2015, Iraqi was sentenced to six months in prison with a LE10,000 bail over charges of “defamation” and broadcasting false news for filming a bathhouse raid in December 2014 where homosexual men allegedly gathered.
March 19, 2018 09:56 UTC
Security services intensify and a larger number of security forces are deployed at fixed checkpoints, February 9, 2018 - Press PhotoCAIRO – 19 March 2018: Interior Ministry said Sunday it is able to monitor the situation in many border cities and is ready to provide assistance to forces there when required.Colonel Ayman al-Beshlawi, head of the newly activated Communications and Crisis Management Center of the Interior Ministry said in a press conference that the center aims to “face crises before they happen.”The ministry supplied all police operation rooms in the directorates nationwide with digital maps systems, which enable each directorate to get information about and manage its forces, said Beshlawi.Wireless networks allow the ministry to be connected to many border towns, Beshlawi said. In case any crisis occurs, the ministry can spot it on the digital maps that allow the ministry to evaluate the situation before providing necessary assistance.The digital maps system covers a distance of 200 kilometers from the transmitter station, Beshlawi said, adding that the ministry has recently resorted to the use of HF radios during operations carried out by forces in mountainous areas.HF radios enable the ministry to monitor their forces and are known for covering long distances effectively, although they are of low speed. They are used extensively in modern military communications.On March 14, President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi visited the Interior Ministry to follow up on police efforts regarding the Sinai 2018 anti-terrorism operation.He also followed up on their efforts in maintaining order and stability in all parts of the country, Presidential Spokesman Bassam Radi said in a statement.Operation Sinai 2018 was launched on February 9 to eradicate terror and terrorists in the peninsula.
FILE: Military armyCAIRO - 19 March 2018: At least 30 takfiri elements have been killed in a shootout with military troops in North and Central Sinai as part of an operation going on on the peninsula now, a statement by the Armed Forces said Monday.The elements had firearms and walkie-talkies on them.Six more takfiris have also been killed in an exchange of fire with the troops, who had information about an abandoned house they were hiding in in Arish.The troops seized three machine guns and an explosive charge inside the house.The air force, meanwhile, destroyed a booby-trapped 4x4 vehicle and 12 hideouts of terrorists.A booby-trapped car full of explosive materials was also destroyed as it attempted to storm a security checkpoint southwest of Arish.A military force also stormed a terrorist hideout in Rafah and found two rifles, three machine guns, a pistol and RPG shells.As many as 345 persons, including takfiris and wanted criminals, have been arrested.Also 386 hideouts, depots and tunnels have been destroyed in North and Central Sinai.Military engineers also destroyed 93 explosive charges.
Israeli police say an Israeli man has died of his wounds after a Palestinian attacker stabbed him in Jerusalem’s Old City. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the man died in hospital late on Sunday following the attack. The Israeli military said on Monday that troops were preparing to demolish the attacker’s West Bank home. The incident comes days after a Palestinian killed two Israeli soldiers and badly wounded two others when he rammed his car into them in the West Bank. There has been an uptick in Israeli-Palestinian violence since President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital late last year.
March 19, 2018 08:48 UTC
FILE - Minister of Finance Amr El-GarhyCAIRO – 19 March 2018: Egypt will offer shares in four to six companies in 2018, seeking to earn between LE 12 to LE 15 billion ($680 million -$850 million), Finance Minister Amr el Garhy told Reuters on Monday.The country plans to float shares in the state owned oil company – Engineering for Petroleum and Process Industries (Enppi) – in September, Garhy said.The Ministry of Finance announced Sunday that the Egyptian government elected 23 state companies for the first phase of the state IPO program, with a total shares value amounting to LE 80 billion.Market value of the soon-to-be-listed companies stands at LE 430 billion, the statement said, adding that the government intends to float about 15-30 percent of the companies in the Egyptian Exchange (EGX).The program is expected to be implemented in a period that ranges between 24-30 months.This comes as part of the state's program to float some state-owned companies in the Egyptian Exchange under a five-year program announced in 2016 to attract investment and invigorate the stock market.It also aims to increase funding to Egyptian companies and maximize the benefit from state assets.The first phase of the program will include five companies in the petroleum sector, including Enppi, Assiut Oil Refining Co (ASORC) and Alexandria Mineral Oils Company (AMOC), in addition to six companies in the petrochemicals sector, including Sidi Kerir Petrochemicals Co, the Egyptian Ethylene And Derivatives Company, and three companies in the logistics sector.As for financial services, the listing will include the Housing and Development Bank, Bank of Alexandria, Banque Du Caire, e-finance and Misr Insurance companies, according to the statement.The real estate sector will have two companies listed, while the customer services and industry sectors will each have one company listed.The state IPO program comes in light of the economic reform program adopted by Egypt. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has directed the government to quickly implement the IPO program and ensure its success.The Initial Public Offerings (IPO) program is conducted under the supervision of the Ministry of Investment.It covers a period of three to five years, aiming to offer partial stakes in some state-owned companies on the stock exchange. It will serve as a main tool to attract local and foreign capital flows to Egypt.
Israel said on Monday it had arrested a French citizen, an employee of France’s consulate in Jerusalem, on suspicion of smuggling weapons to Palestinians. In a Hebrew-language statement, the Shin Bet security service said the Frenchman used a consulate vehicle to elude Israeli security checks and move 70 pistols and two assault rifles through the Erez crossing on the Israel-Gaza border to the occupied West Bank on at least five occasions.
March 19, 2018 07:18 UTC
A Syria war monitoring group says Turkish-allied militiamen are looting the northern Syrian town of Afrin after the Turkish military and allied Syrian fighters seized control of it. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday the looting began on Sunday, after the Turkish and allied Syrian forces marched into the town center and raised their flags there — nearly two months after the offensive on the Kurdish enclave started. The troops faced little resistance from the Kurdish militia, which withdrew, vowing a “new phase” of guerrilla tactics against Turkish troops and their allied fighters. The Observatory, which monitors Syria’s war through a network of activists on the ground, described extensive looting of shops, homes and cars in Afrin. It’s unclear what Turkey plans after the capture of Afrin.
March 19, 2018 07:07 UTC
Governments should focus on “greener” policies to improve the supply and quality of water as climate change and a growing global population threaten the water security of billions, the United Nations said on Monday. In its 2018 World Water Development Report, the UN calculated that an estimated 3.6 billion people — nearly half the global population — live in areas where water can be scarce at least one month per year. Global water use has increased by a factor of six over the past century “and continues to grow steadily at a rate of about one percent per year,” the report said. And use is expected to rise significantly due to population growth, economic development and changing consumption patterns, among other factors. “The vast majority of the growing demand for water will occur in countries with developing or emerging economies,” the report said.
March 19, 2018 07:07 UTC
Vladimir Putin now has a stronger hold on Russia — and stronger place in the world — thanks to an overwhelming mandate for yet another term as president. Here’s a look at what to expect from Putin’s next six years in power, for Russia’s rivals, neighbors and its own 147 million citizens. Relations between Russia and the West are already at their lowest level since the collapse of the Soviet Union 26 years ago. His claim several weeks ago that Russia has developed new nuclear weapons that can evade missile defenses clearly showed Putin’s adamant determination to boost Russia’s power to intimidate. But Putin has convinced Russian voters that drastic change is dangerous, and that protecting the country from threats takes precedence over improving daily life.
March 19, 2018 04:52 UTC