Monday,11 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1139, 14 - 20 March 2013
Monday,11 December, 2017
Issue 1139, 14 - 20 March 2013

Ahram Weekly

Briefs

Al-Ahram Weekly

New revolution bloc

SEVERAL political parties and youth groups have launched a new bloc aimed at achieving the goals of the 25 January Revolution.

National Revolutionary Movements was launched on Monday in a press conference at the headquarters of the activist 6 April Democratic Front Party. It includes 10 political parties and movements, including 6 April, the Maspero Youth Coalition and the Adl Party.

The mission statement of the groups said that the bloc aims to “maintain the goals of the revolution and continue peaceful protests to bring down the oppressive and tyrannical regime”.

The bloc is also demanding the formation of a democratic state “governed by the constitution and law”. They want all citizens, particularly Egypt’s youth, to be a part of the country’s leadership.

Amr Ezz, one of the bloc’s founders, said the bloc seeks to unite all the revolutionary groups active on the street. “It tries to link revolutionary action to political action,” he said. Amr Ali, another founder, said the point of reuniting the revolutionary groups “was to restore momentum to the revolution and to get it back on track”.

 

Press vote tomorrow

PRESS Syndicate election will be held on Friday to vote in a new chairman and half the board members. The election was originally scheduled for 1 March but was postponed for two weeks because the number of journalists attending the General Assembly was not enough to complete the quorum, which is half the assembly members.

Two leading candidates for the syndicate’s top post, Diaa Rashwan, director of Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies and Abdel-Mohsen Salama, managing editor of the daily Al-Ahram.

The current syndicate president, Mamdouh Al-Wali, was scheduled to end his term in October but board members called for early election.

Rashwan is known as a Nasserist who maintained good relations with the Muslim Brotherhood under the Mubarak regime. When the Brotherhood became the most influential political group following the 25 January Revolution, winning both parliamentary and presidential elections, Rashwan changed tack and is now one of the Brotherhood’s fiercest critics.

Salama has a longer history of service in the Press Syndicate though he may suffer from past associations with the now dissolved, once ruling National Democratic Party.

Mid-term elections are also being held for six seats on the syndicate’s 12-member board. Fifty candidates are running.

 

US award not granted

SAMIRA Ibrahim, an Egyptian activist, was prevented from receiving a US State Department award after it was discovered that she had posted what was described as anti-US and anti-Semitic messages on her Twitter account.

The award is given to women around the globe who have shown exceptional courage and leadership in advocating women’s rights and empowerment, often at great personal risk.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced during a press conference last week that the State Department would not present Ibrahim with the award.

Ibrahim’s past tweets included her comments related to the death of five Israeli tourists in a suicide bombing in Bulgaria in 2012. She said “Today is a very sweet day with a lot of very sweet news” on her account in Arabic.

Another tweet was against the US in which she said “Today is the anniversary of 9/11. May every year come with America burning.”

Last year, Ibrahim referred to Al-Saud, the Saudi ruling family as “dirtier than the Jews”. She also quoted Hitler as saying, “I have discovered, with the passage of days, that no act contrary to morality, no crime against society, takes place, except with the Jews having a hand in it.”

Last week, Ibrahim refused to apologise for her tweets. “I refused to apologise to the Zionist lobby in America for the previous statements hostile to Zionism under pressure from the American government, so the prize was withdrawn,” she posted.

Ibrahim initially denied authorship of the tweets, claiming that her account was hacked.

Nuland could not say why the tweets were not disclosed before the nomination. She said the State Department would carry “forensics internally on how we didn’t catch [the tweets] the first time”.

Ibrahim was one of 10 people named as recipients of the award, to be presented by First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry at a ceremony due Friday. Five of these awards are being given to women from Muslim-majority countries, underscoring the unique plight of women in those countries.

Ibrahim was among seven women subjected by the Egyptian military to forced virginity tests in March 2011.

 

Embassy in Mogadishu

DURING a one-day visit on Sunday Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr said Egypt would reopen its embassy in the Somali capital Mogadishu. Amr said the decision came after “significant improvement in security and stability in Somalia” as well as the political stability which was reached after the September 2012 presidential elections that brought Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud to power, an academic who also has a background in political activism.

The historic visit is the first in several years. By reopening the embassy, Egypt aims to reinforce that it is a main partner of the Somali government, a statement issued Sunday added.

The Egyptian Embassy handled Somali affairs in temporary headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Helmi Shaarawi, the director of the Arab and African Research Centre, said the visit signals a shift in the Egyptian role in Somalia. “Under Mubarak, the general policy imposed on us from the West was to exclude Egypt from crucial areas including Somalia and Darfur in which Cairo can play a positive role. However, under the present regime, we are given the green light to play a role in Somalia. In other words, Somalia was part of the Horn of Africa for a long time. Now, there is a trend to make it part of the Middle East again.” However, unless this move is followed by other moves, it will be superficial, Shaarawi added. “Somalia needs training in nearly all fields. And Egypt has a good chance to do that,” he told Al-Ahram Weekly.

 

Swarms in Sharm

LOCUSTS reached Sharm El-Sheikh and attacked dozens of villas in the plateau and Ruwaisat areas as well as bazaars in the Old Market, according to reports received by a locust-monitoring base in South Sinai. But Adel Kassab, director of the South Sinai Emergency Operations Centre, said his teams did not find locusts in Sharm El-Sheikh.

A source at the base said the swarms were heading to the city of Dahab after reportedly attacking Sharm El-Sheikh, and that the base sent teams to the Gharandal Valley to fight swarms coming from Ahmed Hamdi tunnel.

Swarms of locusts appeared Thursday in the Red Sea governorate town of Safaga and nearby villages. New swarms were first reported south of the Red Sea on Wednesday, the state-run news agency MENA reported. The Red Sea governorate’s Emergency Operations Centre had received information that new swarms were seen at Kilo-65 on the Shalateen-Abu Ramad Road and south of Marsa Alam.

 

Semiramis not for sale

THUGS set fire to a gas valve near Semiramis Intercontinental Hotel on Saturday before police forces closed it, reports Mai Samih. This was not the only attack on the hotel. On 31 January men aged 15 to 30 looted the hotel for three nights. Shortly before a reopening, masked men attacked police forces in front of the hotel on 3 February. Three days later, the hotel was attacked again by gangsters using firebombs and stones. On 7 February, the hotel’s main entrance was smashed for the second time by 25 hooligans. The attacks produced rumours on Facebook and Twitter that Muslim Brotherhood business tycoon Khairat Al-Shater was behind the attacks in order to pressure the current owners into selling him the hotel.

“These are all rumours,” Semiramis spokesman Nabila Samak said. “We are not being singled out. What occurred in Semiramis happened in other hotels nearby. The owners have no intention of selling the hotel which provides jobs for around 1,300 people, and of course they have not received an offer to sell it.”

 

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