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Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 25 - 01 - 2017


German travel restrictions lifted
THE MINISTRY of Foreign Affairs announced it has successfully convinced Berlin to lift restrictions on flights from Germany to South Sinai's Sharm El-Sheikh resort.
According to an official statement by the ministry, the German Transportation Ministry removed a restriction on German airlines — imposed in the wake of a Russian plane crash over the Sinai desert in October 2015 — that required them to fly at a minimum altitude of 26,000 feet above South Sinai.
The decision means that all German air companies would be able to fly directly to Sharm El-Sheikh and Saint Catherine's international airports, without paying “additional insurance fees”.
German airlines were among many foreign carriers who banned check-in luggage on flights from the city's airport following the crash. Berlin subsequently halted direct flights from German airports to the city.
Egypt's Foreign Ministry said the “positive German decision” came after extensive efforts by Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri and the Egyptian envoy in Berlin to support German tourism in Egypt.
According to the ministry, Germans accounted for the greatest number of tourists to visit Egypt in 2016, with 655,000 German visitors coming to the country. The ministry said that lifting restrictions on the flights from Germany to South Sinai topped the agenda of talks by Foreign Minister Shoukri with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier during his visit to Berlin last week.
Lost lamps found
THE SIX Islamic lamps stolen from Al-Refaai Mosque were recently recovered. After almost a month of investigations, the Tourism and Antiquities Police succeeded to return back the six Islamic lamps that were stolen early this month from Al-Refaai Mosque in the vicinity of the Citadel.
General Director of Tourism and Antiquities Police Major General Taha Bayoumi, Major General Ashraf Ezz Al-Arab and Colonel Rahmi Hassan, headed the investigations. According to the release, the criminals were the suppliers that provide tools and materials used by the crew of a film that were shooting inside the mosque. The film entitled Al-Kenz (The Treasure) by renowned Egyptian artist Mohamed Ramadan.
The police arrested two of the criminals while the third is at large. The first criminal is an antiques dealer and the second is a laundry owner. They were meant to sell the six lamps worth LE900,000.
Al-Said Helmi, head of Islamic and Coptic Antiquities Department at the Ministry of Antiquities told Al-Ahram Weekly that upon the arrest of the criminals, he formed an archaeological committee to inspect the retrieved lamps. The committee approved its authenticity and asserted that they are the stolen ones.
Mona Ahmed, restorer at the Museum of Islamic Art who specialises in glass said that the lamps are in a very good conservation condition and it bears the stamp of Khedive Abbas Helmi II.
The six lamps were among the 15 lamps that decorated the ceilings of the mausoleums of Egypt's King Fouad and Princess Ferial at Al-Refaai Mosque. They date to 1328 Hijra, and are made of glass decorated with a Quranic verse from Surat Al-Nour written in Mameluke raised script. The verse says: “Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The example of His light is like a niche within which is a lamp.”
Regeni again
EGYPTIAN Prosecution-General Nabil Sadek approved on Sunday Italy's demand to send Italian experts to obtain and examine footage of Dokki Metro station pertaining to the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni.
Citing Sadek, a statement said that he ordered the quick finalisation to the investigations of security bodies in the murder case.
Meanwhile, a state-owned television channel aired on Sunday footage allegedly showing Regeni speaking to one of the street vendors prior to his death. The footage showed Regeni asking the vendor questions that pertain to the vendor's work and Labour Union, explaining that it was for his academic thesis.
Earlier this month, the Italian parliament established a Giulio Regeni Scholarship for an Egyptian student.
In September 2016, a joint statement by Egyptian and Italian prosecution included an acknowledgment for the first time from the Egyptian side that Regeni had been traced by Egypt's security forces prior to his disappearance.
Relations between Egypt and Italy have been strained over the murder of Regeni. In April 2016, Italy decided to recall its ambassador to Egypt accusing Cairo of failing to provide substantial findings in the investigations. In June 2016, the Italian side decided to further escalate and cut military aid to Egypt.
Regeni was a Cambridge scholar conducting a PhD research study in Cairo on the nature of political and economic developments in Egypt. He disappeared on the fifth anniversary of the 25 January Revolution. On 3 February 2016, his body was found dumped on the side of a road outside Cairo.
EU support Water Sector
A TECHNICAL Assistance for Establishing Leadership Development Programme and Developing the Financial Strategy for the Holding Company for Water and Wastewater (HCWW) closed last week. The programme was funded by the European Union with a budget amounting to 2 million euros, Nesmahar Sayed reports.
According to Diego Escalona Paturel, head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Egypt: “This Technical Assistance project will provide long lasting benefits to the donor coordination and investment harmonisation in the water sector led by the Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban communities and the HCWW.”
He added that the project managed to conclude more than 10,000 training hours for over 200 training days for nearly 200 personnel. Also, the project produced more than 59 training manuals, alongside providing training for trainers, all which will contribute to ensure continuity and knowledge capitalisation.
Paturel said that the project assisted the holding company in the preparation of the first financial model and roadmap to improve the financial performance of the water companies and achieve sustainable financial management of urban water service provision.
The programme started on 19 January 2015 is considered the first integrated Leadership Development Programme aimed at building capacity in nine water companies in order to identify and develop the next generation of utility managers. For Fairouz Ali, one of the participants from Mansoura, the programme enables decision-makers to determine the best possible options for achieving financial stability.
And it also promoted gender equality, as 25 per cent of the participants are female.
The fishermen's saga
NEGOTIATIONS of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and the Tunisian fisheries' authorities succeeded in advancing the date of the trial of three Egyptian fishermen on “Al-Iman Billah” Boat from 26 February to 26 January.
The boat crew was accused of illegal fishing in the Tunisian territorial waters.
The ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid stated that the ministry will exert every effort to ensure their release and safe return to their country as soon as possible.
The boat was detained in Tunisia's southern Sfax port since October last year. The Egyptian Embassy in Tunis called the defence lawyer of the fishermen to ask her to consult the Ministry of Justice to advance the date of the trial session in order to end the ordeal of the fishermen as quickly as possible.


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