The House of Representatives approved on Tuesday amendments to the Protest Law which were put in place last December after the Constitutional Court ruled that various articles of the law were contrary to the Constitution. The Constitutional Court made a number of declarations regarding the law, and had said that these recommendations will be published in the Official Gazette. In the court ruling, the Constitutional Court declared Article 10 unconstitutional. The court, however, did uphold Article 8, which states that protesters should notify officials prior to staging a protest. The Protest Law was issued in late November 2013 by interim president Adly Mansour.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the Museum of Islamic Art on Wednesday morning after the restoration work was completed, according to a statement from the presidency. The museum suffered damage in a suicide car bomb attack at Cairo Security Directorate near the museum in January 2014. The museum includes hundreds of rare manuscripts and more than 100,000 artifacts representing different Islamic eras. A new display system was developed by the museum's officials so that up to 4,400 pieces can be on display. Plexiglass was used in the manufacture of display windows as it does not react chemically with artifacts, the page added.
A Cairo court judge decided Wednesday to release 12 individuals who were arrested for protesting at the Press Syndicate earlier this month against the martime demarcation of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. They were ordered to be released on a bail of EGP 20,000 each. The agreement stipulates the transfer of maritime sovereignty over two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia. On Monday, the Supreme Administrative Court revoked the agreement and confirmed Egyptian sovereignty over the two Red Sea islands. The article had previously granted the Interior Ministry full authority to ban the protest if they suspected potential violence, without having to refer to a third party.
The parliament’s Health Committee asked Minister of Health Ahmed Emad El-Din to present a statement on the ministry’s expenditure during the first half (H1) of the current fiscal year (FY), as well as the ministry’s budget allocations during the year. Parliamentary sources said that the minister told the Health Committee that the ministry’s budget allocation reached EGP 47bn, although the government and the parliament had agreed to increase the health budget to EGP 74bn. The parliament’s Health Committee summoned the minister of health to participate in a hearing session on the ministry’s strategy for the development of 377 hospitals during the coming period. Assistant health minister for financial affairs Sayyed El-Shahed said that the Ministry of Health’s budget allocations amount to EGP 47.8bn, not EGP 74bn. He told Daily News Egypt that his ministry’s allocations are estimated at 1.5% of the GDP, and are expected to reach 3% of the GDP within the coming two years.
Lufthansa is not in talks with Etihad about the Abu Dhabi-based carrier taking a stake in the German airline, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday in response to an Italian media report. "A financial stake is out of the question at the moment," the source, who is familiar with Lufthansa's plans, told Reuters. Italian paper Il Messaggero earlier on Tuesday reported that Etihad and Lufthansa were in talks about Etihad taking a 30-40 percent stake as a precursor to a merger, although analysts said they viewed a deal as unlikely. Lufthansa shares had earlier risen as much as 6 percent and were up 4.5 percent at 1559 GMT. Lufthansa is also not in talks about buying the rest of Air Berlin, part-owned by Etihad, the source added.
Eight leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood group in Cairo have been arrested, the Interior Ministry announced. The arrest took place during a group meeting where members were planning to "provoke the wrath of the public". According to a statement on Wednesday: “the ministry's national security sector was informed that terrorist leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were planning a scheme to provoke the public regarding the country's poor economic situation, and were coordinating with extremist entities to harm national security. Thousands of the group leaders and supporters were arrested. However, the group continues to deny the charges levelled at it by authorities over its involvement in violence.
Iran's foreign minister said on Tuesday Tehran opposed a U.S. presence at peace talks on Syria in the Kazakh capital next week, after a decision by Russia and Turkey to invite Washington. The United States, which led failed efforts to launch peace talks last year, has not been involved in the latest diplomacy around the Syrian conflict. Asked why the United States and Saudi Arabia had no direct role in the talks, Rouhani said: "Some countries are not attending the talks, and their role was destructive. Russia and Iran, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's most powerful allies, and Turkey, pushed for the talks in Astana after Syrian government forces won a major victory in capturing eastern Aleppo late last year. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Saturday that Turkey and Russia had decided to invite the United States to the Astana discussions, which begin on January 23.
The National Bank of Egypt (NBE) has financed import operations worth $4.3bn since the decision to float the Egyptian pound on 3 November 2016 until 18 January 2017, according to NBE vice president Yehia Abu ElFotouh. Abu ElFotouh told Daily News Egypt that the bank provided the public sector with about $2bn to finance import operations, while the bank opened letters of credit and collection worth about $2.3bn to finance private sector imports. He noted that the amount of US dollars collected from clients at the bank since the flotation until now amounted to $2.2bn. Its importance comes from the fact that the client had these debt problems for nearly 15 years, which is considered an achievement for the bank. He added that the bank has settled several non-performing debts worth EGP 350m during the first half of the current fiscal year (FY) which ended in December 2016, pointing out that the non-performing debt portfolio increased significantly after the flotation of the pound.
The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC) is intending to borrow EGP 10bn from the banking sector to finance its future expansions in the fields of transmission and distribution. The EEHC has been working on developing and supporting the networks of transmitting and distributing electricity with the aim of reducing the loss rates and applying the system of smart networks on all electricity transmission and distribution networks. The sources said that the first segment of the loan amounts to EGP 5bn and will be delivered in days. The Ministry of Electricity decided to stop negotiations on any electricity production projects and to begin discussions and negotiations on developing the national network through transmission and distribution projects. The sources added that electricity distribution companies need 79 medium-voltage distributors and 1,375 km network lines, in addition to 3,498 km cables.
Egypt will fix its customs dollar exchange rate and adjust it on a monthly basis to help importers better cope with pricing of their products after the central bank floated its currency in November. The Finance Ministry fixed the customs exchange rate at 18.5 pounds per dollar until the end of February and said it will review the rate each month, state news agency MENA reported late on Monday. It just helps importers have some kind of visibility on the rate of the dollar they should use in their pricing. Thousands of importers have been caught out by the float, facing ballooning dollar debts after they had opened dollar credit-lines with banks. They also face difficulty in pricing their imported goods in Egyptian pounds and have called for the government to fix its customs dollar exchange rate to provide more clarity.
The parliamentary Legislative Committee approved a bill submitted by the government to amend Article 10 of Protest Law No. Committee chairman, Bahaa al-Din Abu Shaqa, said the draft law on the amendment comes in line with the Constitutional Court ruling on December 3, 2016. Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court struck down Article 10 of the Protest Law that allowed security authorities to ban all protests, except those officially sanctioned. The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that the article was unconstitutional. Abu Shaqa said Tuesday that the amendment guarantees the right to peaceful protest, without any contradiction to Egyptians' constitutional rights.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi inaugurated on Wednesday morning the development work of the Museum of Islamic Art located in Bab Al-Khalq suburb of Cairo. The inauguration came following renovation that was carried out to the museum following an explosion that targeted the nearby Cairo Security Directorate in 2014, state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported. During the inauguration activities, Al-Sisi inspected the inside of the museum with the head of the museum Ahmed El-Shobki, who gave the president a tour of the museum. The renovation was carried out because of the extensive damage done to the museum after a massive explosion targeted the nearby Cairo Security Directorate on 24 of January 2014. The explosion killed four people and injured 76 others, according to statistics published by the Health Ministry at that time.
Revenues from historical tourist attractions decreased to US$38 million in 2015, compared to US$220 million in 2010, Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany announced in a statement Tuesday. The number of tourists who visited Egypt in 2010 registered 15 million, compared to 6.3 million in 2015, the minister added. According to Anany, the decline in revenues has negatively impacted many projects carried out by the ministry, especially restoration projects for archaeological sites and artifacts. The discount was extended in January 2017 to cover annual visit permits to archaeological sites for the period of one month. Anany said the decision came ahead of New Year and Christmas celebrations, in order to encourage visits to archaeological sites and promote tourism.
In 2016, the world’s top women’s tennis player frequently used the word “amazing” to describe how she felt. However, this anecdote from the gala in the southwestern German town of Baden-Baden demonstrates the expectations placed upon Angelique Kerber. As much as she rejects any comparison to Steffi Graf, Angelique Kerber is now in the spotlight. Like many outstanding tennis players before her, Angelique Kerber too will have to battle against herself. Every match that Angelique Kerber loses this year may cost her valuable points.
British multinational banking and financial services company HSBC has said it will most likely switch hundreds of jobs to Paris from London. While Gulliver had in the past already hinted at such a move of investment banking jobs, his fresh comments were more precise as he suggested France would take precedence over other EU nations. “We bought Credit Commercial de France in 2002, so we have a full-service universal bank in France,” he argued. “And so for us, it’s France.”Adapting to a changing environmentHSBC said it would move staff generating around 20 percent of its trading revenue following Britain’s exit from the EU. “We’re not moving this year and maybe not even next year,” Gulliver said, adding that the bank would likely look to switch employees in around two years from now when Britain had fully left the European Union.