Taxes on the bourse    Damage to Turkey's standing    Slow-cooked or raw Brexit?    Egypt ‘shocked and distressed' by Ethiopian PM's comments on GERD    Lebanon PM seeks foreign support for reforms amid protests    UK lifts four-year ban on flights to Egypt's Sharm el-Sheikh    NBE leasing arm receives EGP1bln loans from 5 banks    President Sisi arrives in Sochi for Russia-Africa Summit    Live score: Juventus v Lokomotiv Moscow (UEFA Champions League)    Israel's Netanyahu gives up effort to form new government    Beckham's stadium complex for Inter Miami taking shape    Tennis: Hewitt happy to end Davis Cup exile of "different" Kyrgios    Saudi profits from corporate earnings, Qatar extends losses    Canada's Trudeau retains power in election but will have minority government    Egypt's parliament endorses €205 mln loan deal with EBRD to upgrade Cairo Metro's first line    Liverpool's Egyptian star Mohamed Salah among 2019 Ballon d'Or nominees    Egypt's train fares to not increase until developing services – minister    Oil steady on weak demand worries despite U.S.-China trade optimism    Liverpool's Egyptian winger Salah ruled out of Manchester United clash    European markets seen cautiously higher as Brexit uncertainty returns    WHO hails 'triumph' as Ebola vaccine gets European green light    Current and ex smokers may lower lung cancer risk with exercise    Egypt's Sisi praises SCC's role in protecting justice, rights, freedoms    France's President Macron receives Egypt's Coptic Pope Tawadros II at Elysee    After a young pupil dies of meningitis in Egypt, tips to help prevention    French President Macron receives Egypt's Coptic Pope Tawadros II at Elysee    Grand Nile Tower Arts & Cultural Centre launches second round    Egypt's coach Hossam El-Badry satisfied with winning start despite technical problems    Luxor's new discoveries    Moroccan film Nomades scoops awards in Alexandria Film Festival    Six authors vie for Booker prize 2019, Atwood in the lead    In Photos: A sneak peek into rehearsals for the Cleopatra ballet world premiere    Sisi: army engaged in attrition phase against terrorism in Sinai since 2013    Sisi, Ethiopia's PM to meet in Moscow to discuss GERD issue    Sisi, Ethiopia's PM agree to overcome obstacles in Nile dam talks    Farwell to Egyptian comic actor Talaat Zakaria    Court sentences six to death, 41 to lifetime imprisonment violence related case    Trump says he would release Mideast peace plan after Israeli elections    ACWA Power compares 3 bids to supply production units for Luxor power station    What do you know about gold alloying?    NBE announces EGP 2.5m prizes for handball youth teams for their world achievements    Jennifer Lopez evokes Egyptian outrage post her North Coast performance    Al-Sisi honours Egypt's scholars on Science Day    IS claims responsibility for suicide bombing killing 63 in Afghan wedding    Political parties gear up for parliamentary, senate, local elections    Unprecedented Glory: Egypt win Men's U-19 World Handball Championship    12th National Egyptian Theatre Festival fuel up public theatre art scene    Ministry of Environment has a plan for "black clouds season"    







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Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 21 - 03 - 2019


No extra fees for omra
EGYPT's Minister of Tourism Rania Al-Mashat has affirmed that her ministry will abide by Saturday's administrative court ruling overturning a government decision to impose extra fees on pilgrims travelling to Mecca for omra, the minor pilgrimage. The cabinet announced in February 2018 that the Tourism Ministry would ask pilgrims planning to go on omra to pay an extra 2,000 Saudi riyals if they had performed the pilgrimage during the past three years. Pilgrims were also to pay an extra 1,000 Saudi riyals if they perform omra more than once during the same year. The cabinet said the decision will provide extra funds for the state's development projects in Sinai and upgrade the level of services offered to residents there. The decree, which aimed to limit the number of omra visas to 500,000 every year, provoked widespread opposition from tourism operators who organise religious trips.
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‘Biased' coverage
THE STATE Information Service (SIS) said on Sunday that it would summon the head of the BBC's Cairo office to its headquarters over what it said was biased coverage of a campaign launched by Muslim Brotherhood sources. The campaign, “Be assured you are not alone”, called for protests against President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi. The SIS demanded that the BBC formally apologise for an article posted on the BBC Arabic Website that “propagated false claims of a nationwide wave of demonstrations”. The SIS said the article did not include any comments from any Egyptian official to either verify the content or include the government's perspective. The statement added that the article “breaches the most basic codes of conduct and reached the level of fabricating events”.
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French-Egyptian naval training
EGYPT's naval forces are taking part in a joint French-Egyptian maritime training drill called Cleopatra-Japian 2019. The training is part of efforts to enhance cooperation between the two naval forces. Several Egyptian naval vessels left for France from Ras Al-Tin naval base. Commander of Egypt's naval forces Ahmed Khaled stated that the training would help the navy deal with various marine doctrines and modern combat technologies. Several students in the military naval college will participate in the training to improve practical maritime performance and increase their fighting experience, Khaled said. In December last year, Egyptian and French naval forces held a naval exercise at an Egyptian Red Sea naval base, with the participation of the French warship Courbet and several Egyptian naval units.
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An Egyptian saviour
ITALY will grant citizenship to a 14-year-old Egyptian who saved over 50 children on a hijacked school bus, the office of the Italian interior minister stated. The school bus driver, an Italian of Senegalese descent, hijacked the vehicle, which had 51 children on board, near Milan and set it on fire to protest the deaths of African migrants in the Mediterranean while trying to reach Europe. The Egyptian, Rami Shehata, managed to hide his cell phone, called police and asked for help. Police rushed to the scene and broke the bus windows to get passengers out. Shehata was born in Italy but has not been granted official citizenship.
According to the UN, some 2297 migrants drowned or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2018. Italy closed its ports to charity search and rescue ships, something that observers say drove up deaths.
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Singing ban
THE SYNDICATE of Musicians on 21 March decided to ban diva Sherine Abdel-Wahab from singing following comments she made at a concert in Bahrain. In addition, a disciplinary committee will meet on 27 March to investigate complaints filed against Abdel-Wahab. Controversial lawyer Samir Sabri, known for focusing on remarks and actions of celebrities, sued Abdel-Wahab for “insulting Egypt and spreading false news”. At a concert in Bahrain, Abdel-Wahab had said, “here I can say whatever I want. In Egypt, anyone who talks gets imprisoned.” Syndicate Chairman Hani Shaker noted that he had previously asked Abdel-Wahab to stop telling jokes on stage.
Abdel-Wahab was previously handed a six-month prison sentence after making fun of the River Nile during a concert in the United Arab Emirates. A fan asked her to sing her hit “Have you ever drunk from the Nile”. She jokingly replied that drinking the Nile's water may lead to parasitic infections. “Drink Evian instead,” she said.
Abdel-Wahab released a statement on Saturday, telling her fans that she will continue singing, voicing rejection of attempts to test her loyalty and love for Egypt.


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