No new taxes to be imposed on citizens: government

Tax- CC via The Blue Diamond GalleryCAIRO – 14 June 2019: Egypt’s cabinet denied reports claiming that the government could impose new taxes on the citizens to face the fiscal deficit, the cabinet said in a statement on Friday.“The Ministry [of Finance] has not issued any decisions in this regard,” the statement read, saying “Taxes could be imposed only by a legal text following an approval of the House of Representatives.”“Such claims are rumors aimed at provoking the anger of citizens and damaging the state’s economic stability,” the statement added, without mentioning the sources of the ‘claimed rumors.”However, the ministry has applied a three-pillar plan to increase its financial resources and the state revenues, mainly joining the unofficial businesses into the state’s sector, increasing the number of tax payers, and fighting the tax-evaders, the statement continued.Egyptians are in an anticipation for upcoming increase of electricity prices and the final removal of subsidy on fuel prices due to be applied in July.Since 2016, Egypt has embarked on a bold economic reform program that included the introduction of taxes, such as the value-added tax (VAT), and cutting energy subsidies, with the aim of trimming the budget deficit.The country floated its currency in November 2016 before it clinched a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).The IMF Executive Board approved in November 2016 a three-year extended fund facility (EFT) loan to Egypt worth $12 billion to support its economic reform program.Recently, the Egyptian Tax Authority started dealing with the unified tax registration number, and replacing all tax file numbers with the unified tax registration number on June 1, 2019.The authority clarified that the unified tax registration number is dealt with in all tax assessments, and for all types of taxes, whether income taxes, value added or other.

Source:Egypt Today

June 14, 2019 11:26 UTC

Dina El Sherbiny is this week social media star ,not for acting

Dina El Sherbiny and the youth in front of the embassy - Egypt Today. CAIRO – 14 June 2019: Social media went into a meltdown this week when a post was shared about the Egyptian star Dina El Sherbiny, and it was not for acting skills that she became the focus of social media users but in fact it was her act of kindness that made people praise the star.The post was written by Lilly Mohsen; a therapist, author and a mother to an autistic son who is a big fan of El-Sherbiny, in the post she describes an encounter that happened between the star and her son in an embassy.Apparently, Lilly's son saw El Sherbiny and was immediately star-struck. So he started talking about her to his grandfather and when El-Sherbiny heard him, she went up to him to introduced herself.Lilly goes on to add that the boy was extremely happy to talk to his favourite star and naturally, he wanted to take a picture with her, but because of the embassy’s “no phones” rule, it was not possible.However, El Sherbiny was keen to grant her fan his wish and so she promised to wait for him outside to take the photo with him once he had finished his work in the embassy.El-Sherbiny kept her word as once the boy left the embassy, he did, in fact,find the star waiting for him outside to take a picture together, as promised.The mother wrote in the post that El-Sheriny's act of kindness not only did it make her son extremely happy and calm, but it also put him in an extremely good mood throughout the entire day – which is a rarity due to his autism.She went on to express her eternal gratitude to El-Sheriny for the photo because she says “it will be of great help in difficult times in the future, especially when she needs to calm her son down.”At the end of the post, Lilly thanks Dina El Sherbiny again and expresses her surprise to discover how humble and kind-hearted the star is.Sometimes a small gesture of kindness can serve a person for life.--

Source:Egypt Today

June 14, 2019 11:15 UTC

Mona Farouk, Shaimaa al-Haj released

Mona Farouk and Shimaa al-Haj - Compiled photoCAIRO - 14 June 2019: The Cairo Chamber of Criminal Investigations decided on Thursday, June 13 to release Mona Farouk and Shaimaa al-Hajj after being detained over charges of inciting immorality by appearing in a pornographic video.The prosecution of Nasr City, under the supervision of Tamer Arabi, the first attorney general of the prosecution, ordered the imprisonment of actresses Mona Farouk and Shaimaa al-Haj for investigating the charges of public immorality by appearing in a pornographic video.Egyptian security forces arrested Egyptian actresses Farouk and Haj in March over charges of committing a flagrant act by featuring in porn videos.Both actresses claimed that Egyptian director Khaled Youssef shot these videos for them in 2015 in his apartment in El-Mohandessin district.Farouk and Haj stated that Youssef married both of them and that they obeyed all his demands to help them in their artistic career and give them roles.Youssef travelled to Paris in March to visit his wife and daughter who reside there. He said on his Instagram account at that time that he didn’t escape and that he travelled to Paris before the police arrested Farouk and Haj, adding that he will explain everything to the public very soon.The Egyptian director is known for his strong contributions to the cinematic scene, tackling various societal topics such as rape, political corruption, and homosexuality.

Source:Egypt Today

June 14, 2019 09:33 UTC

Ample non-OPEC supplies and weak demand a bane to oil prices: watchdog

About 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil passing through the Strait of Hormuz, above, and a disruption to shipping because of the Iran-US tension could roil markets. (AFP)PARIS – 14 June 2019: Tepid growth in demand for oil along with ample supplies from non-OPEC countries will complicate efforts by the group and its allies to boost prices, the IEA said in a report Friday.The focus in oil markets in recent months and days has been on supply issues — from US sanctions on Iran and Venezuela to tanker attacks near the Strait of Hormuz — which has helped OPEC and its allies, which are often called OPEC+, in their efforts to prop up prices by cutting back output.But the International Energy Agency said that now “the main focus is on oil demand as economic sentiment weakens.”It cited data that world trade growth has fallen to its lowest level since the financial crisis a decade ago amidst the burgeoning US trade wars, which have already begun to have an impact on demand for oil.In the first three months of this year global demand for oil rose only by a meagre 300,000 barrels per day, the lowest quarterly increase in nearly eight years.While there were some idiosyncratic factors such as weather, the IEA said “the worsening trade outlook (was) a common theme across all regions.”The IEA cut its forecast for oil demand growth this year for the second month straight and trimmed its second quarter forecast as well.While in its first estimates for 2020 the IEA sees oil demand accelerating, this is more than matched by output gains from nations outside OPEC+.It put the increase of non-OPEC supplies at 2.3 million barrels per day (mbd) in 2020 while global demand is seen as increasing by 1.4 mbd. In 2019, the 1.9 mbd increase in non-OPEC supplies is also expected to outweigh the 1.1 mbd increase in demand.“A clear message from our first look at 2020 is that there is plenty of non-OPEC supply growth available to meet any likely level of demand...” said the IEA.“This is welcome news for consumers and the wider health of the currently vulnerable global economy, as it will limit significant upward pressure on oil prices,” said the Paris-based institution that provides advice to oil-consuming nations.The data comes as ministers from the OPEC+ nations are due to meet later this month to debate whether to continue their production restraints.With the IEA saying its forecast “means the tightening of oil markets could prove short lived,” OPEC+ nations may have to consider stepping up their cuts to maintain leverage on prices.While the IEA added the caveat that its outlook assumes no major geopolitical shock, it also noted that OPEC countries have ample spare production capacity thanks to the cuts they have implemented.The IEA’s latest monthly report comes a day after attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, which caused oil prices to briefly shoot more than four percent higher, in the second spate of incidents in a month in the strategic shipping lane.With some 40 percent of the world’s seaborne oil passing through the Strait of Hormuz, a disruption to shipping could roil markets.The attacks come amid rising tensions between Tehran and Washington as the US has intensified sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.The IEA said that the US sanctions have not yet completely cut off Iranian oil exports, but they have fallen drastically.Iran’s crude production fell 210,000 barrels to 2.4 mbd in May when exports plunged by 480,000 to 810,000 barrels per day as Washington pulled the last waivers for other nations to buy Iranian oil. That export level is less than a third of what it was exporting a year ago.The IEA added it was becoming increasingly difficult to determine where Iranian oil was being shipped as Iran’s national oil company shut off satellite tracking systems on its ships.

Source:Egypt Today

June 14, 2019 09:11 UTC

Egypt sees surging number of Chinese tourists: Cultural counselor

A Chinese tourist poses for a photo in front of the Sphinx at the Giza Pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, March 2, 2016 - REUTERS/Amr Abdallah DalshCAIRO – 14 June 2019: Chinese cultural counselor to Egypt, Shi Yuewen, has said more Chinese tourists are expected to visit Egypt in the coming years as ties between the two countries continue to grow stronger.“Nearly half a million Chinese tourists visited Egypt in 2018 compared with only 300,000 in 2017, which is a big leap,” says Shi, who expects the number of Chinese visitors to exceed 500,000 in 2019.According to Shi, Egypt’s continuing efforts to enhance stability and eliminate terrorism especially at heritage sites will encourage more Chinese to visit the country.He also added in an article published by China Daily that there are also plans to overhaul services in hotels to offer tourists more competitive prices.One of the world’s most ancient civilizations, Egypt has been working hard to uncover and preserve its archeological heritage across the country while organizing conferences abroad to promote its ancient heritage.It is also striving to revive its ailing tourism sector which has been suffering an acute recession over the past few years due to political turmoil and security issues.Describing Egypt as a “very important tourism country,” Shi encouraged the Egyptian government to provide more support for the tourism sector.“Chinese tourists adore Egyptian monuments, and Egyptian archeological sites are well-known to the Chinese who have a similarly ancient civilization,” Shi adds.

Source:Egypt Today

June 14, 2019 09:11 UTC

Iran says in charge of security of Strait of Hormuz

An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019. ISNA/Handout via REUTERSCAIRO – 14 June 2019: Iran said on Friday it was responsible for maintaining the security of the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf, state radio reported, adding that blaming Tehran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman was alarming.“We are responsible for ensuring the security of the Strait and we have rescued the crew of those attacked tankers in the shortest possible time,” Radio quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying.“Obviously, accusing Iran for such a suspicious and unfortunate incident is the simplest and the most convenient way for U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other U.S. officials. These accusations are alarming.”The United States blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday that drove up oil prices and raised concern about a new U.S.-Iranian confrontation.It was not immediately clear what caused the explosions that forced the crews to abandon ship and leave both the Norwegian-owned Front Altair and Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous adrift in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran.US Central Command spokesman Bill Urban released a video of what the US military said was an IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approaching the ship Kokuka Courageous “and was observed and recorded removing (an) unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous.”The attacks on the ships are part of a “campaign” of “escalating tension” by Iran and a threat to international peace and security, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.“It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today,” Pompeo said. “This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.”

Source:Egypt Today

June 14, 2019 08:48 UTC

Twitter deletes 4,779 accounts linked to Iranian regime

Twitter has deleted nearly 4,800 accounts linked to the Iranian government which served to promote state actions without disclosing their political connection. (AP Photo)CAIRO – 14 June 2019: Twitter has said it removed thousands of accounts linked to the Iranian government and archived them to its public database launched last year.The company said it believes 4,779 accounts were associated or backed by Iran.Twitter first released the archive of data associated with known state-backed information operations last October to provide more transparency of information and to stem manipulation on its platform.Since October 2018, Twitter has been publishing transparency reports on its investigations into state-backed information operations.Last month, Facebook said it took down 51 accounts, 36 pages and seven groups tied to Iran. Facebook, which owns Instagram, also removed three accounts on the photo sharing app.Twitter said that in early May it pulled down more than 2,800 fake accounts tied to Iran. The company shared its remarks after US cybersecurity firm FireEye released a report that showed how some Twitter accounts were used to pose as those belonging to US political candidates and push pro-Iranian political messages.FireEye said in the report that the network of social media accounts that posted in English shared messages that were "anti-Saudi, anti-Israeli, and pro-Palestinian. "The Iranian accounts impersonated news outlets in the Middle East and tried to make it appear as if they were located in the US or Europe.Facebook users -- including journalists, policy makers, academics and Iranian dissidents -- were contacted by some of these accounts.

Source:Egypt Today

June 14, 2019 08:37 UTC

Leonard Cohen's love letters to Marianne fetch $876,000 at auction

FILE PHOTO: Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen performs during the first night of the 47th Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland on July 4, 2013. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud/File PhotoLOS ANGELES - 14 June 2019: A collection of more than 50 love letters written by Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen to the woman who inspired “So Long, Marianne” has sold for $876,000, with many going for more than five times their pre-sale estimates, Christie’s auction house said on Thursday.The archive of letters from Cohen to Marianne Ihlen chronicles their 1960s love affair and the blossoming of Cohen’s career from struggling poet to famous musician.The top letter, in which Cohen wrote in December 1960 about being “alone with the vast dictionaries of language,” fetched $56,250 compared to an original high estimate of $10,000.A 1964 letter, in which Cohen wrote “I am famous but empty,” went for $35,000, Christie’s said.Cohen and the Norwegian-born Ihlen met on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960 and she became the inspiration for several of his best-known songs, including “Bird on a Wire,” “Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye,” and the 1967 track “So Long, Marianne.”Ihlen died of leukemia in Oslo in July 2016 at age 81. Cohen, who was also suffering from leukemia, died in November 2016 at the age of 82.The letters were sold by Ihlen’s family. The buyers were not revealed.The top lot in the five-day online auction was an Italian bronze bell dating from the 15th or 16th century that hung in the Hydra home that Cohen and Ihlen once shared. It realized $81,250 compared to a pre-sale estimate of up to $12,000.The bell is believed to have inspired the lines, “There is a crack, a crack in everything” in Cohen’s 1992 release “Anthem.”

Source:Egypt Today

June 13, 2019 23:26 UTC

Father's smoking during pregnancy tied to asthma in kids

Source: Mthfrdoctors(Reuters Health) - 14 June 2019: Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke from their fathers while they’re in the womb may be more likely than those who are not to develop asthma by age 6, according to a study of chemical changes to DNA.While prenatal smoke exposure has long been linked to an increased risk of childhood asthma, the current study offers fresh evidence that it’s not just a pregnant mother’s smoking that can cause harm.Researchers followed 756 babies for six years. Almost one in four were exposed to tobacco by fathers who smoked while the child was developing in the womb; only three mothers smoked.Overall, 31% of kids with fathers who smoked during pregnancy developed asthma by age 6, compared with 23% of kids without fathers who smoked, the study found.Asthma was also more common among kids whose fathers were heavier smokers, senior study author Dr. Kuender Yang of the National Defense Medical Center in Taipei said by email.“Children with prenatal paternal tobacco smoke exposure corresponding to more than 20 cigarettes per day had a significantly higher risk of developing asthma than those with less than 20 cigarettes per day and those without prenatal paternal tobacco smoke exposure,” Yang said.About 35% of the kids with fathers who were heavier smokers developed asthma, compared with 25% of children with fathers who were lighter smokers and 23% of kids with fathers who didn’t smoke at all during pregnancy.Smoking by fathers during pregnancy was also associated with changes in methylation - a chemical code along the DNA strand that influences gene activity - on portions of genes involved in immune system function and the development of asthma.Researchers extracted infants’ DNA from cord blood immediately after birth and examined methylation along the DNA strand. The more fathers smoked during pregnancy, the more methylation increased on stretches of three specific genes that play a role in immune function.Children who had the greatest methylation increases at birth, affecting all three of these genes, had up to almost twice the risk of having asthma by age 6 as other kids in the study.While smoking by fathers during pregnancy was linked to childhood asthma, it didn’t appear to impact children’s sensitivity to allergens or total levels of IgE, an antibody associated with asthma.This suggests that the risk of asthma from tobacco exposure is unlike allergic asthma, which is driven by allergies or allergic sensitization via IgE antibody, said Dr. Avni Joshi, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center in Rochester, Minnesota, who wasn’t involved in the study.The study wasn’t designed to prove whether or how prenatal smoking exposure might directly cause so-called epigenetic changes, or how those changes cause asthma in children.It’s not yet clear how the alterations seen along the DNA strand where methylation increased might cause asthma, the study team notes in Frontiers in Genetics.Still, the message to parents should be clear, Joshi said by email.“Smoking is bad at ANY point in time: before the baby is born and after the baby is born,” Joshi said. “Many parents defer quitting until the baby is born, but this study stresses that the prenatal exposure to tobacco creates changes to the unborn child’s immune system, hence it is best to quit as a family decides to have children, even before the conception happens.”

Source:Egypt Today

June 13, 2019 21:56 UTC

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