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.
According to a recent report issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), on production movement, foreign trade, and availability of agriculture commodities for consumption in 2015, the average consumption per capita of wheat reached 141.1 kg in 2015 versus 133.6 kg in 2014, an increase of 5.6% with a self-sufficiency rate of 49.1%. The report added that the average consumption per capita of rice reached 39.1 kg in 2015 versus 43.4 kg in 2014, a decrease of 9.9% with a self-sufficiency rate of 102.6%. Moreover, the average per capita consumption of vegetables reached 93.1 kg in 2015 versus 100.5 kg in 2014, a decrease of 7.4 %, with a self-sufficiency rate of 102.6%. Meanwhile, the average consumption per capita of fruits reached 63.6 kg in 2015 versus 57.5 kg in 2014, an increase of 10.6% with a self-sufficiency rate of 96.2%. The average per capita consumption of birds and poultry meat reached 10.7 kg in 2015, which was unchanged from 2014 with a self-sufficiency rate 93.0%.
Defending champion Angelique Kerber has celebrated her 29th birthday by advancing to the third round of the Australian Open. Kerber started out solid in the first set, but struggled against some of Witthöft’s deep, powerful forehands late in the second. 1 is to face Kristyna Pliskova, who beat Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 7-6 (8) in the fourth round on Friday. “I’m always playing on my birthday – always in Australia,” Kerber told reporters in the on-court interview. The 35-year-old former No.1 will face former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych in the third round after the Czech posted a 6-3, 7-6 (6), 6-2 win over Ryan Harrison.
Young German designer Stefan Diez is influenced by his time in Asia, but pays tribute to German craftmanship. His work is on show in Cologne.”It’s showtime!” The 2017 international design season has begun. It doesn’t only present new trends, but also classical furniture design – quite often with a modern touch. The Cologne Museum for Applied Arts (MAKK) has devoted an unusual show to a single designer – Stefan Diez. “It sometimes takes us years to develop a project,” said Stefan Diez.
Infinity Solar Systems and Coca-Cola have agreed to establish a solar power plant at the latter’s factory in Alexandria. Medhat Shokry, CEO of Infinity Solar Systems, said that Coca-Cola aims to develop its factory in Alexandria to operate on solar power and LED lights, which would improve the consumption of the factory to 97%. He told Daily News Egypt that QNB ALAHLI and Banque Misr have agreed to finance the Green Company Project, which costs EGP 100m. The project will also include recycling wastewater, establishment of a solar plant, use LED lights, and improve electricity consumption. Infinity had also signed a contract with Agricultural Exporters Association in Qena to install a solar plant in Abou Tesht area.
The Parliament decided on Tuesday to raise the tax exemption limit from LE13,500 to LE24,000 a year. MP Mohamed al-Suwaidy, head of parliamentary coalition Egypt's Support, filed a request during Tuesday's general assembly demanding that the tax exemption limit be raised due to price hikes following the flotation of the Egyptian pound late last year. Parliament Speaker Ali Abdelaal said the parliament agrees with Suwaidy's opinion. "This will be the first happy news by us to the people," Abdelaal said, adding he would notify the Cabinet of the decision. Abdelaal responded that the parliament has already taken its decision, which is in favor of citizens, and the Cabinet has to apply it.