Pope Francis refuses stay at presidential palaces during Egypt visit

Bishop Kirollos, deputy of the Catholic patriarch, has announced the details of Pope Francis I's visit to Cairo where he will arrive on Friday at 2 pm. There, he will meet with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to discuss bilateral ties and mutual interests; however, the Pope has decided to not stay at any of the presidential palaces during his visit. Pope Francis will then head to al-Azhar headquarters to attend the peace conference, where he will give a speech and meet with al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb. Afterwards, the Pope will attend a ceremony organized by the presidency before going to the Coptic Cathedral in Abbassiya to meet Pope Tawadros II. According to Kirollos, the pope will also visit the Botroseya church for prayers, before returning to rest at the Vatican embassy.

April 27, 2017 09:45 UTC

Hero Food Industries set to enter US market in May for first time - Daily News Egypt

Hero Food Industries contracted with a supermarket chain in the United States to directly export its jam products next month. Hero injected $5m last year to raise the quality and production capacity in Egypt, being the gateway to the Middle East and Africa. Hero is one of the largest three manufacturers of fruits and their products in the Middle East. The headquarters in Cairo is considered the main hub for exporting to the Middle East and Africa. The name was then changed to Hero Food Industries.

April 27, 2017 09:00 UTC

Misr Cafe's exports amounted to $20m in 2016 - Daily News Egypt

He added that there are several obstacles that must be solved, such as the difficulty of maritime shipping, especially to the countries in West Africa. As for the company, Masood said that Misr Cafe increased its production capacity to 9,000 tonnes in 2016. Misr Cafe is specialised in producing instant coffee products, including Instant Coffee, 2×1 Coffee, 3×1 Coffee, Ginseng Coffee Mix 4×1, Ginger Coffee Latté 4×1, flavoured instant cappuccino, and iced cappuccino. He pointed out that the flotation of the pound in November enhanced the competitiveness of Egyptian products throughout all markets, which contributes to the provision of foreign currency. Masood said that the company participated in the Gulfood exhibition and that it will be taking part in the Food Africa exhibition.

April 27, 2017 08:37 UTC

Trump gives Pentagon power to reset Iraq, Syria troop limits

The Pentagon, which confirmed the move on Wednesday, said no change has yet been made to US troop limits. But the shift on troop limits was another sign of the greater authority Trump appears comfortable giving his military commanders to make battlefield decisions and could allow for more rapid increases in troop levels in the future. The Force Management Level system was introduced in Iraq and Syria during Barack Obama's administration as a way to exert control over the military. Obama periodically raised FML limits to allow more troops in Iraq and Syria as the campaign against Islamic State advanced. Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Trump delegated authority to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to determine force management levels for Iraq and Syria going forward.

April 27, 2017 08:26 UTC

Saudi council rejects proposal for female sports colleges

A proposal to establish sports education colleges for Saudi women failed to win enough votes in the kingdom's top advisory body, a council member who drafted the plan said Wednesday. The proposal needed 76 out of 150 votes in the Shura Council, but fell three votes short. It called for the establishment of colleges that would train Saudi women in how to teach fitness and well-being. Lina Almaeena, who is one of three council members that submitted the proposal, said 57 members voted against the measure, with the rest abstaining. Though the college proposal failed to garner enough votes in the Shura Council, Almaeena said strides have been made in recent years.

April 27, 2017 08:26 UTC

UK could join US action in event of future Syria chemical attack: Johnson

The United States accused the Syrian army of carrying out an April 4 attack in which scores of people died from poison gas. It responded by launching cruise missiles against a Syrian air base, and has said it would not tolerate use of chemical weapons by the Assad government. Britain endorsed the US response to the chemical attack, but was not directly involved. However, Johnson suggested the government would back Trump militarily if requested to do so in the event of any future chemical weapons attack. The April attack in Syria has raised tension between Western powers and Russia, which has provided military backing to Assad's government.

April 27, 2017 08:26 UTC

Morocco's parliament approves new government after crisis

Morocco's parliament has approved a new coalition government created to end months of political and economic deadlock. The Chamber of Representatives voted 208- 91 on Wednesday for the government of new Prime Minister Saadeddine el-Othmani, of the Islamist Party of Justice and Development. Before the debate, Othmani outlined the proposed government's priorities of reforming the bureaucracy, rebuilding the education system and reducing economic disparity. He pledged 50 billion dirham (nearly $5 billion) for rural development, and the construction of 15 new dams to boost renewable energy. The king ousted Othmani's predecessor last month because he had failed for five months to form a coalition government and the economy was stalling.

April 27, 2017 08:15 UTC

Saudi Arabia led tourist traffic to Egypt in 2016: Rashed - Daily News Egypt

Arab tourism influx to Egypt during the past year accounted for 36.3% of the total traffic of 5.3 million tourists, according to Minister of Tourism Yehia Rashed. Rashed said in a statement obtained by Daily News Egypt that the total number of Arab tourists in 2016 amounted to 2 million tourists, up from 1.7 million in 2017—an increase of 17.6%. The Ministry of Tourism and the Egyptian Tourism Authority are successfully participating in the Arabian Travel Market exhibition held between 24 and 27 April. Head of the Egyptian Tourism Authority Hisham El-Demery said that Egypt aims to highlight therapeutic tourism through its participation in the exhibition, adding that a law is now being prepared to regulate that. In the field of therapeutic tourism, the Helwan Sulfuric Centre for Rheumatism and Physiotherapy has been very important, next to the Bahariya Oasis and Siwa Oasis with their mineral water springs.

April 27, 2017 08:03 UTC

Average night in Marsa Alam hotels costs $25: Shalaby - Daily News Egypt

The average occupancy rate of Marsa Alam hotels in April reached 35%, according to deputy chairperson of the Tourism Investors Association in Marsa Alam, Tarek Shalaby, adding that 80% of tourists are German. Shalaby pointed out that the average price of accommodation per night ranges from $20 to $25, noting that the hotels will not raise the prices unless occupancy rates increase first. The hotel capacity in the Marsa Alam area is about 11,000 rooms, with investments exceeding EGP 15bn. Shalaby said that bookings in Marsa Alam hotels are stable and were not impacted by the recent bombings in the Delta and Alexandria. Shalaby called on the Ministry of Tourism to promote tourism to Marsa Alam, especially in European countries, which account for 72% of all tourist inflows to Egypt.

April 27, 2017 07:30 UTC

All Inclusive packages are blamed for service quality decline: Mohsen - Daily News Egypt

Karim Mohsen, the head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF), blamed the all-inclusive packages for the decline of service quality in Egypt recently. There was a dispute between the Egyptian Tax Authority and the ETF regarding taxes on incentives provided for charter flights. We agreed with the Egyptian Tax Authority to separate taxes from the wages of the ETF employees and the taxes related to the charter incentives, which the Egyptian Tax Authority is demanding. According to the Egyptian Tax Authority, these funds have amounted to EGP 120m since 2010. Since 1 November 2016, the file was handed over to the Egyptian Tourism Authority.

April 27, 2017 06:56 UTC

Israel strikes arms depot near Syrian capital's airport: sources

Syrian rebel and intelligence sources said Israel struck an arms supply hub on Thursday operated by the Lebanese Hezbollah group near Damascus airport where weapons from Tehran are regularly sent by commercial and military cargo planes. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is backed in the country's six-year civil war by Russia, Iran and regional Shi'ite militias including Hezbollah, which is a close ally of Tehran and a sworn enemy of Israel. "The prime minister has said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicated an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act." Two senior rebel sources operating in the Damascus area cited their monitors in the eastern outskirts of the Syrian capital, where the airport is located, as saying five strikes had hit an ammunition depot used by Iran-backed militias. The source said many of the arms are destined for an array of Iran-backed militias, led by Hezbollah, which have thousands of fighters engaged in some of the toughest fronts against Syrian rebels.

April 27, 2017 06:33 UTC

In Photos: Egyptian artist paints church murals, unfazed by attacks

On a scaffold several storeys high beneath the dome of a Cairo church, Ayman William paints for the glory of God, unfazed by recent attacks against his fellow Coptic Christians in Egypt. And William, 41, who has painted murals in churches as far away as Kuwait and California, is happy to help. Dozens of characters leap out from the dome around him — Adam, Eve, Moses and Samson, as well as New Testament figures such as St. Mark, considered the founder of Egypt's Coptic Church. Nevertheless, Coptic church attendance remains high in the wake of the attacks. But the places I go to for work are good places, safe places."

April 27, 2017 06:11 UTC

Unpredictable future of IMF loan - Daily News Egypt

Nobody knows what the IMF delegation will say or decide about Egypt, or whether they will approve the second tranche of the loan or ask for more reforms. If the government didn’t implement what it had agreed to, the IMF might freeze the next loan tranches, which would destabilise Egypt once again, Tawfik noted. Moody’s projects that Egypt’s fiscal deficit will decrease to 11% of its GDP in FY 2017 and 8.5% in 2019—down from 12.6% in 2016. Worries about the high debtThe managing director of Multiples Group, Omar El-Shenety, has different thoughts regarding the increasing foreign debt. He stated that the IMF expects the foreign debt of Egypt to exceed $100bn by the year 2020.

April 27, 2017 06:00 UTC

Egyptian vegetables banned from UAE

The decision was based on the results of tests carried out by the Emirati ministry on the imported produce and is set to come into effect starting on 15 May. The #UAE has addressed the concerned authorities in #Egypt and the other involved countries, requesting a pesticide residue analysis certificate for the rest of the fruits and vegetables that the #UAE imports from them in order to testify that they are pestici-free for entry into the country. Last month, #Sudan decided to stop importing agricultural goods and canned fish from Egypt. In September 2016, #Sudan also imposed a ban on importing fruits and vegetables from Egypt, causing losses of nearly 30m, according to the data by the Egypt #Agriculture Export Council. Other countries have halted or completely stopped importing fruits and vegetables from #Egypt over the past period, including Russia, Japan, the USA, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.

April 27, 2017 03:11 UTC

Israel seeks US backing to avert permanent Iran foothold in Syria

Israel is seeking an "understanding" with the Trump administration that Iran must not be allowed to establish a permanent military foothold in Syria, Israel's intelligence minister told Reuters on Wednesday. For its part, Israel has stayed mostly on the sidelines in the Syrian conflict and has shown no sign of significantly altering that posture. It has carried out only occasional air strikes when its has felt threatened, including by the delivery of weapons to Hezbollah militants. Though Russia has shown no willingness to restrain Iran, Israeli officials say there are indications that Moscow may see any long-term Iranian military presence in Syria as potentially destabilizing. Katz reiterated Israel's vow to continue launching occasional air strikes in Syria against Hezbollah forces detected transporting rockets or other weapons toward the Lebanese border, which he described as a "red line."

April 26, 2017 21:11 UTC

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