Wrap-up of Egypt’s top news July 29: Russian experts visit Cairo in Sep. for fresh airport security inspection round
Debris of the Russian plane crashed over Sinai in October 2015, Youm7.



Awqaf ministry strives to ban imams from ‘speaking to media’ about unified sermon decision

The Religiuos Endowment Ministry urged preachers to stop talking to the media about its recent decision to apply a pre written unified sermon at all Egypt’s mosques during the weekly Friday prayers.

“The ministry calls on imams across the country to immediately stop delivering statements, or appearing at talk shows, for debates on the issue, before obtaining a written permit from the affiliated directorate,” the ministry said in a statement released on its website on Friday.

The decision has triggered a wide criticism among preachers and some politicians who saw it as “killing a preacher’s skills.”

The ministry also called for reports to check its website for further information on the issue.


Sharm al Sheikh-Hurghada ferry operates after 2-year hiatus

The ferry cross service between Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada will resume on Saturday after more than two years of suspension, Youm7 reported.

“This coincides with the inauguration of the new domestic marina at Sharm el Sheikh Maritime Port, where the ferry will dock en route from Hurghada,” media spokesperson for the Red Sea Ports Authority Malak Youssef told Youm7 on Friday.

The suspension followed the security lapse caused after the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi following mass protest against his rule in July 2013.

The crossing takes about 1.5 hours and was sold at 70$ before the service suspension.


FAA to inspect Egyptair maintenance co. before annual accreditation

A delegation from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is set to inspect Egyptair maintenance & engineering company for annual renewal of accreditation purposes.

The FFA mission will start on Sunday July 31 until August 13.


Egyptair maintenance & engineering is provides aircraft base maintenance services in the Middle East region. The 75 year-old Company owns base maintenance facility located at Cairo international Airport.

In Jan., the security sector at EgyptAir has successfully passed the U.S.-based Transportation Security Administration (TSA) testing program, EgyptAir Holding Company Chairman Sherif Fathy told state-owned Al Ahram..


1,000 medicines disappear from Alexandria pharmacies due to dollar crisis

A total of 1,000 medicines, particularly of disease pressure, diabetes and tumors, viruses, are reportedly unavailable in Alexandria’s pharmacies due to U.S. dollar shortage in Egypt, head of Medicine Trade and Manufacturing Section of Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Samir Seddik told Youm7 Thursday evening.

The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) struggles to provide hard currency to other banks, so the importers find no dollar liquidity required to buy their raw materials.

Al-Azhar forms online monitor to answer questions on fatwas

The Islamic Sunni Institute of al-Azhar is preparing an online monitor to answers the public questions conceding the Islamic religion, Youm7 cited a statement from al-Azhar Sheikhdom Thursday evening.

Also, telephone and post service will be available to receive the people’s complaints and questions in several languages, the statement added.



Egypt urges UK cross-party group for measures to remove World War II landmines

International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr met with an all-party parliamentary group, run by the UK’s Commons and Lords, to discuss cooperation on eliminating landmines planted at Egypt’s northern coast by World War II warring parties, Youm7 reported on Friday.

During the meeting with the cross-party groups, Nasr urged members of the Parliamentary Friendship group to cooperate to “demine all of Egypt since landmines represent imminent danger, which impedes the country’s sustainable development plans” through international and private grants, according to Youm7.

Egypt has over 21 million “deadly undetonated devices” hidden in its sands, which represents “20 percent of all world’s landmines,” according to a report released by the Landmine Struggle Center in May, 1999.


Russian experts visit Cairo in Sep. for fresh airport security inspection round

Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fathi and Russian Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov met in Moscow on Friday for a new round of talks on aviation security measures after direct flights between the two countries were suspended in October last year, Youm7 reported.

The Russian official said a new delegation of Russian aviation experts are set to visit Egypt to inspect airport security in September.

Russia suspended its direct flights to Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheikh after the country’s A321 passenger plane crash over the Sinai Peninsula in late October 2015.


Israel’s Netanyahu celebrates warming ties with Egypt’s Sisi

(Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday praised warming relations with Egypt and its president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who ousted an Islamist government seen as hostile to ties between the neighbors.

Egypt was the first of a handful of Arab countries to recognize Israel, in 1979, but the downfall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011 brought to power the government of Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, straining relations with Israel.

Cooperation has improved since Sisi took power in 2013, with Egypt battling Islamist insurgents in Sinai near its border with Israel and both countries wary of Gaza’s Islamist rulers, Hamas.

At an event at the Egyptian ambassador’s residence for Egypt’s national day, Netanyahu called the countries’ peace treaty an “anchor of stability and security in our region”.

“I want to thank President al-Sisi for his leadership and for his efforts to advance peace between Israel and the Palestinians and in the broader Middle East.” Netanyahu said in a speech.

“We welcome the effort to incorporate other Arab states in this larger effort of a broader peace between all the people of the Middle East.”

Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, paid a rare visit to Israel this month to meet Netanyahu, offering Cairo’s help to revive peace talks with the Palestinians. It was the first visit to the Jewish state by an Egyptian foreign minister in nine years.

In May, Sisi urged both sides to seize the opportunity to make peace, offering Israel the prospect of warmer ties if this were achieved.


German authorities investigate into killing of Egyptian national in Essen

Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is following the incident of killing an Egyptian national by German police on Frankfurt city, according to a statement from the ministry Thursday evening.

It was reported that Egyptian Mohamed Abdel-Fatah Suleiman has been arrested and beaten to death by Italian authorities, according to information stated by his father and friends. However, the German authorities sent Egypt a clarification letter saying that than died at Essen hospital where he was receiving a medical treatment after failing to commit suicide on July 16, the statement added.

The German authorities have launched an investigation to know if his death circumstances.



Egypt gold prices unchanged on Fri., 21-k sold at 425 EGP per gram

Egypt gold prices remained unchanged in local markets on Friday with a gram of 21-carat gold reaching 425 EGP ($45) down from 450 EGP two days earlier, Youm7 reported.

The decrease is attributed to “the drop in US dollar’s value against the Egyptian Pound in black market,” Ihab Wassef, member of Gold Division of the General Union Chamber of Commerce told Youm7.

A gram of 18-carat gold reached 364.30 EGP per gram, he added.


Egypt to repay each tranche of proposed $12 bln IMF loan programme over five years

(Reuters) – Egypt must repay each tranche of any loan it receives from the International Monetary Fund over five years, including a grace period of three and a quarter years, deputy finance minister Ahmed Kojak said on Thursday.

“Each tranche we receive must be repaid over five years, including a three and a quarter year grace period,” Kojak said.

Egypt announced on Tuesday it was in the final stages of negotiations with the IMF for $4 billion a year over three years and also expects to issue eurobonds worth $2 billion to $3 billion in September or October.


IMF says mission to determine scale of Egypt financing

(Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday that the size of Egypt’s financing program will be determined by a two-week IMF mission to Cairo starting this weekend.

IMF spokesman William Murray declined to confirm the Egyptian finance ministry’s estimate of a $12 billion loan program spread over three years after it requested IMF support earlier this week.

“The scale of IMF financing will depend on the mission team’s assessment during the visit of the financing needs and the strength of the authority’s reform program,” Murray told a regular biweekly news briefing.

He noted that Egypt’s quota, or shares in the Fund, are about 2.08 billion Special Drawing Rights – the IMF’s unit of account – or about $2.9 billion at current exchange rates.

Under normal access to IMF programs, member countries can borrow up to 145 percent of their quota for any 12-month period. That would be about $4.2 billion based on Egypt’s quota level. Countries with normal access can borrow 435 percent of their quotas over the life of the program, which would total about $12.6 billion in Egypt’s case.

Regarding Ukraine, Murray said the Fund’s executive board would not vote on a release of the next portion of the country’s $17.5 billion until at least mid-August, after the board returns from a two-week break. The Fund earlier had said that a review on unlocking the next $1.7 billion tranche was nearing completion and it could be considered in July.

Murray added that there was no change in the IMF’s engagement with Zimbabwe that would allow for negotiations on a support program to begin. Zimbabwe must first clear its arrears with the institution, Murray said, adding that he had no details of any concrete actions by Zimbabwe to do so.


Egypt has enough wheat reserve lasts until February 2017: Ministry of Supply

The Egyptian Ministry of Supply announced Friday in a statement that the government has enough strategic wheat reserve to last until early February 2017.

On July 17, The Egyptian General Authority for Supply Commodities said that it has purchased 300,000 tons of wheat in a tender, as quoted by Reuters.

Egypt imports more than 50 percent of its needs. Supply Commodities Authority spokesperson Mahmoud Diab said that Egypt consume 15 million tons annually; of which 11 tons are imported. Reaching self-sufficiency of wheat would require cultivating a total of 7.5 million feddans, “which is equivalent to all of the current arable land in Egypt,” Diab told The Cairo Post previously.


GAFI allocates 40 pieces of lands for new investing projects nationwide

Egyptian General Authority for Free Zones and Investment (GAFI) and has allocated 40 pieces of land to establish new investing projects nationwide, including 14 projects in Mediterranean city of Marsa Matrouh, Youm7 reported Authority CEO Mohamed Khodeir Thursday evening.

The Authority has signed contracts of the 14 projects at a cost of 70 billion EGP with Saudi businessman Mansour al-Uthaymeen.



Egyptians celebrate moulid of Al-Mursi Abu al-Abbas in Alexandria

Hundreds of people all over the governorates flocked Thursday to Alexandria to celebrate the moulid (birthday) of Al-Mursi Abu al-Abbas, a Muslim cleric who born in Al-Andalus and then moved to Alexandria, Youm7 reported.


Egypt develops security system in Cairo Citadel

Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Dr. Mustafa Amin stated that the sector has agreed with Museum Sector to develop security system in Cairo Citadel, Youm7 reported Thursday.


International Summer Festival kicks off in Alexandria

The 14th International Summer Festival on Alexandria Bibliotheca kicks off Friday evening, starting with a concert by Lebanese musician Marcel Khalife. India is the guest of honor in the festival.


15 balloons fly over Luxor

15 hot air balloons with 303 foreign and Egyptian tourists started their flights over Luxor to enoy themselves with archeological sites, Youm7 reported Hani al-Sayed, chairperson of a ballooning organizing companies.



Ahly striker Amr Gamal may transfer to Alkmaar- KingFut

Al-Ahly international striker Amr Gamal may transfer to Dutch club AZ Alkmaar, KingFut exclusively reported Friday.

The Dutch club has voiced its interest to sign wil al-Ahly for Gamal; however, al-Ahly has did not give an answer yet.


Egypt’s basketball team vs of Chinese Taipei counterpart in William Jones Cup

Egyptian national basketball team will face its counterpart of Chinese Taipei in William Jones Cup 2016 Friday, Youm7 reported.

The Egyptian team in the first round against South Korea, while began losing its matches against Chinese Taipei, Japan, and finally against Iran.


Egypt face Algeria in FIBA Africa U18 Championship 2016 Friday

Egyptian national U-18 basketball team, led by Coach Amr Abu el-Kheir, will face its Algerian counterpart Friday in the FIBA Africa U18 Championship 2016 that takes place in Rwanda, Youm7 reported.

Egyptian team comes in the second group of the tournament, which also includes Tunisia, Angola, Benin, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The team has won the Arab Club Basketball Championship that held in Alexandria last week, after beating Lebanon, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.

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