Saudi Arabia’s plans to sell state assets – including a stake in energy giant Saudi Aramco – are becoming even more important to its finances as a recession slows Riyadh’s effort to close a budget deficit caused by low oil prices. Austerity measures so far have pushed the economy into recession, with GDP shrinking for a second straight quarter in the April-June period. So the government has delayed further austerity steps that could hurt businesses or consumers. Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan told Bloomberg television in Washington last week that the government would not rush to lift domestic energy prices further. An Aramco spokesman said a range of options for a public listing of Aramco remained under active review.
October 19, 2017 15:11 UTC
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi - REUTERSBAGHDAD– 19 October 2017: The semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq welcomed on Thursday a call by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for talks to resolve a crisis triggered by a Kurdish referendum on independence last month.Abadi spoke on Tuesday, saying he considered the Sept. 25 referendum, in which Kurds voted overwhelmingly for independence despite Baghdad's opposition, "a thing of the past". The day before, the Iraqi army retook the oil-producing Kirkuk area from Kurdish Peshmerga forces on his orders. "It will not be possible to resolve the issues through military operations," the KRG cabinet said in a statement after a meeting in the Kurdistan region capital Erbil. "(We have) asked the international community to help both sides start a dialogue to solve the outstanding issues based on the Iraqi constitution," the statement said.Abadi had asked that the KRG cancel the outcome of the referendum as a precondition for negotiations to begin.The statement made no mention of the referendum, for which Baghdad retaliated with a series of punitive measures including the recapture of Kirkuk, which lies just outside KRG boundaries but had been in Peshmerga hands since 2014.
October 19, 2017 15:00 UTC
HE MOF, CI Capital & Investors-Press PhotoCAIRO – 19 October 2017: Egypt’s inflation rate should decrease by the beginning of next year, Minister of Finance Amr El-Garhy said in a roundtable discussion hosted by CI Capital in the UK.The roundtable meeting hosted 13 leading global institutional investment firms with assets under management totaling approximately $1.5 trillion; Garhy noted that real GDP growth is expected to stand at five percent during the current fiscal year.“The government also plans to sustain the six percent GDP growth within the next 10 years as part of a longer-term program approved last year,” he said.During the roundtable, Garhy said that the government’s budget deficit is forecasted to mark 9.5 percent during FY 2017/18, representing a 1.4 percent decline compared to last year.The minister highlighted plans to issue $3 billion in international bonds during the first quarter of 2018; that is in addition to a potential 1 billion Euro-denominated bond issuance in light of trade relations with the EU.As part of Garhy’s attendance of annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in Washington last week, he met leading U.S.-based institutional investment firms managing $280 billion in assets, in a roundtable organized by CI Capital Holding as well.
October 19, 2017 14:48 UTC
AFP | Greece is one of only five NATO members meeting their alliance spending commitmentsATHENS – 19 October 2017: Greece on Thursday defended its decision to upgrade its fleet of US-made F-16 warplanes, arguing that the multi-million cost will not destabilise its precarious budget. "We are discussing the upgrade of (around 90) aircraft at a maximum cost of 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) over a period of ten years," government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos told reporters. "I do not judge the fiscal cost excessive...it's about 110 million euros per year, this does not affect fiscal targets at almost any point," he said.The programme would start running after 2018, when the country is scheduled to exit its current European economic bailout, the spokesman said.He said it was "logical" that European creditors may have questions on the issue and Athens is prepared to provide details "if formally asked". "The (upgrade) has not been concluded, we are in advanced talks," Tzanakopoulos said, adding: "(We) do not intend to repeat the mistakes of the past when defence spending was inordinately inflated. "Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, who rubber-stamped the upgrade during an official visit to Washington this week, has said the planes risked being rendered inoperable without the upgrade.Speaking at the Brookings Institute, Tsipras -- who took a surprise flight aboard an F-16 just before the Washington visit -- said Greece is obliged to keep up defence spending because of its geographic proximity to volatile areas.Greece spends two percent of its budget on defence, one of only five NATO members to meet this alliance requirement.The F-16 upgrade falls within this threshold, Tzanakopoulos said.
October 19, 2017 14:15 UTC
Mohanad Kojak, is set to make his debut appearance at Dubai’s fashion forward 10th season later this month. The Egyptian designer will be showcasing his new collection “Rage of the Angels” through a runway show during the three-day event. Kojak is quite known regionally with his Victorian accent and retro aesthetic accentuated with bold silhouettes as well as oversized collars and sleeves. Therefore, this would only make his upcoming show in the city of skyscrapers a significant milestone for his brand as well as the local fashion industry; given the fact that no local designer has beaten him to it. Dubai Fashion Forward is the region’s most-awaited bi-annual fashion event; which takes place every April and October.
Source:Daily News Egypt
October 19, 2017 14:03 UTC
The Egyptian Exchange bell is seen at the stock exchange in Cairo, Egypt -ReutersCAIRO – 19 October 2017: The Egyptian Exchange (EGX) ended Thursday on mixed note on foreign sales.Benchmark EGX30 grew 0.91 percent at the end of the trading session to stand at 13,713 points.The small and mid-cap index EGX70 slumped 1.87 percent to end at 782 points. The broader index EGX100 also leveled down 1.08 percent to close at 1,744 points.Market capitalization lost LE 219 million Thursday to reach LE 767.78 billion compared to LE 768 billion in the latest session on Wednesday.Egyptian and Arab investors as well as foreign institutions recorded net sales of LE 19.9 million, LE 12.95 million and LE 40.4 million respectively. Meanwhile, Egyptian and Arab institutions and foreign individuals were net buyers at LE 4.9 million, LE 29.2 million and LE 39.2 million respectively.Shares of 86 companies recorded increases and 85 companies marked declines, while shares of 22 firms remained unchanged.
October 19, 2017 13:52 UTC
A French-Swiss archaeological team have unearthed the head of a wooden statue of Queen Ankhnespepy II (6th Dynasty, Old Kingdom, around 2350 BC), near her pyramid in the Saqqara area in Giza, the Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement. Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, said that the head is of almost-human proportions, and is around 30cm high. Head of the Geneva University mission, Professor Philippe Collombert, said that the head was found in a disturbed layer to the east of the queen’s pyramid near the area where the pyramidion was uncovered earlier this week. The mission has uncovered the upper part of a granite obelisk that may belong to the queen’s funerary temple, as well as the pyramidion of what may be an undiscovered satellite pyramid. Collombert added that the head is not in good condition and will be subjected to restoration and documentation.
October 19, 2017 13:41 UTC
Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel is calling for cuts in European Union financial assistance aimed at helping Turkey get ready for eventual EU membership, given what she called a troubling direction the country has taken on democracy and rule of law. Merkel said Thursday as she arrived at an EU summit that she considers Turkey’s developments on democracy “very negative, not only because many Germans are under arrest.”But she also praised Turkey for helping to stop the massive flow of migrants into Europe as part of a deal with the EU. Turkey’s bid to join the EU has stalled following a crackdown on dissent that followed a failed coup attempt in 2016. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has arrested several German citizens, including journalists and a human rights worker.
Ukrainian lawmakers voted through a long-delayed overhaul of the health system on Thursday that the state’s Western backers say will raise standards and tackle a culture of bribe-taking in surgeries and hospitals. The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have been pressing for faster reform is a country where lives are more than five years shorter than the European average, according to the World Health Organization. The government has been pushing for closer links to the European Union since a popular uprising ousted pro-Russian former president Viktor Yanukovich in 2014. Supporters of the changes say vested interests who benefit from corruption in the current system spread scare stories about the reform. Protesters camped outside parliament this week accusing President Petro Poroshenko of stalling on other legislation, including the creation of special anti-corruption courts and a move to strip lawmakers of automatic immunity.
The chairman of Suez Canal Authority (SCA) and SCZone — the Suez Canal Economic Zone, Mohab Mamish, announced on Wednesday that the SCA’s revenues raised by 3.4 per cent within the period from January-October 2017, increasing to $US4.3 billion up from $US4.2 billion in 2016. Mamish released the revenues’ figures during a meeting with a senior-level delegation from House of Representatives’ Economic Affairs Committee, chaired by the parliamentarian Amro Essa Ghalab. He praised the economic committee’s role in following-up on the country’s steps towards economic reformation and development projects. Mamish pointed out that he agreed with Germany to build Egyptian-German factories in arsenals of the Suez Canal Authority. He also studied memorandum of understandings (MoUs) with Vietnam on building factories in al Adabiya Port, Suez.
Aiming to promote tourism in Egypt both locally and internationally, Mostafa Khater, who studies Pharmacy at Helwan University, decided to try a new way. The 21-year-old student said that he hasn’t received any help from the state for his promotional work and only shares his photos on Facebook and Instagram. “I will also do my best to open communication channels with foreigners who are interested in visiting Egypt through promoting photos on foreign travel agencies websites,” Khater concluded. The 21-year-old student said that he hasn’t received any help from the state for his promotional work and only shares his photos on Facebook and Instagram. He called on government officials to use his photography to promote tourism in Egypt and added that he is currently seeking to show his initiative off during the upcoming state-sponsored international Youth Conference that is planned to take place on November at Sharm El-Sheikh.
October 19, 2017 13:18 UTC
A judge at Egypt’s Court of Cassation withdrew on Thursday from the case of imprisoned political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, who is appealing a five-year sentence for violating Egypt’s protest law, state newspaper Al-Ahram reported. The judge gave no clear reason for his decision, only citing “embarrassment.” He referred the case to another circuit, while setting a new trial date for November 8. Alaa Abd El Fattah – a software engineer, blogger and activist – was one of the public faces of the 2011 revolution that removed Hosni Mubarak from power. Abdel Fattah has so far served three-and-a-half years of his term. All others sentenced in the case have been pardoned by the president on separate occasions.
October 19, 2017 12:56 UTC
The Union of the European Football Associations (UEFA) has unveiled the list of nominees for the award of the best player of the third round of the Champions League. The list includes Egyptian Liverpool player Mohamed Salah. Salah joined the list of nominees for the second time. Salah led Liverpool to a 7-0 win over Sylvania’s Maribor, causing the Reds to go top of Champions League Group E. Salah scored two goals during the match and contributed in Liverpool’s historic win. Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm
October 19, 2017 12:22 UTC
During a recent conference sponsored by Al-Azhar, the deputy head of the institution Abbas Showman said that it is necessary to guarantee that all Fatwas circulated in Egypt are being issued from the official entities of Al-Azhar. He further called on the Egyptian parliament and its religious committee to rapidly issue legislation that organizes the issuance process of the Fatwas and defines their source, in addition to defining ideal characteristics for people assigned to release Fatwas. “If we followed these steps, we will not suffer from the random issuance of Fatwas,” he asserted. Some of these Fatwas included the legalisation of sexual intercourse with dead wives and animals, though Showman said that this is contrary to Islam and that the people who released them are being interrogated by Al-Azhar. “There no any verses inside the Islam’s holy book of the Quran that legalizes the sexual intercourse with beasts, I challenge anyone to extract anything from Islam’s teachings that legalize these issues,” he said.
October 19, 2017 12:00 UTC
As part of the mega-scheme new administrative capital project, state-owned China State Construction Engineering Corporation(CSCEC) has agreed to build Egypt a 345m-high skyscraper, set to be Africa’s tallest building, Chinese news agency, Xinhua reported. When completed, the 345-meter-tall skyscraper will replace South Africa’s 223-meter-tall Carlton Centre, which is currently Africa’s tallest man-made structure since it’s completion in 1973. Earlier this year, CSCEC withdrew from a $3 billion contract to build offices in the new capital as a result of disagreements about costs. The ambassador further asserts that the project will symbolise Egypt and China’s mutual cooperation for future generations. The two countries have also raised the level of their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
October 19, 2017 11:37 UTC