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Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 16 - 05 - 2019

Strong condemnation
CAIRO condemned the sabotage of four vessels near the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates, Sunday evening. According to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry Egypt also denounced any attempt to harm Emirati national security and the safety of its land and maritime borders.
The statement said the Egyptian government and people supported the people and government of the UAE against attempts to destabilise the Gulf state. The Foreign Ministry highlighted the special relationship between Egypt and the UAE and their joint work facing down threats to regional security.
Earlier on Sunday the UAE had reported attacks on four commercial vessels in the Gulf of Oman, close to its territorial waters.
Expatriate conference in July
IMMIGRATION and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs Minister Nabila Makram has announced that an expatriate conference will be held in Cairo on 12 and 13 July. In a statement issued on Sunday Makram encouraged Egyptian expatriates to participate in the event which she said would enhance direct communication between nationals based abroad and government agencies.
The conference, said Makram, will discuss investment and national identity issues and ways to further direct coordination with the Ministry of Immigration.
Rulings passed
ON SUNDAY the Higher State Security Court sentenced two defendants to death, two to life imprisonment, four to ten years in prison and two to three years for involvement in a terrorist attack targeting a church in Helwan in December 2017 which left ten people dead. One defendant was acquitted.
Prosecutors had referred the 11 defendants to the Higher State Security Court on charges of establishing and funding an extremist group and killing nine Christians and one police officer. The defendants were also accused of calling for the constitution to be overturned, preventing state institutions and public authorities from carrying out their duties, undermining national unity, targeting armed forces, the police, Christians and houses of worship.
Priest murdered
ON MONDAY morning a civilian guard at Saint Mark's Church in Shubra Al-Kheima shot priest Makkar Saad, killing him at once. The accused, 45, then handed himself in at the local police station and investigators say the motive for the killing appears to have been personal.
Eyewitnesses confirm that the priest and guard were sitting together an hour before the crime without any apparent argument taking place. The initial forensic report found the victim had been shot four times in the abdomen.
Preliminary investigations suggest a financial dispute between the defendant and the victim. The priest had promised to provide financial assistance to the guard to help cover the costs of his daughter's marriage but then withdrew the offer. As the defendant was reproaching the priest their discussion became heated and ended in the fatal shooting. Makkar Saad's funeral ceremony was held on Tuesday.
Racist prank?
COMEDIAN and actress Shaimaa Seif faced criticism after appearing on a TV show in blackface in a demeaning impression of a Sudanese woman. In an episode of the Shaklabaz programme aired last week Seif tried to annoy people on a microbus by speaking loudly in Sudanese dialect. She then asked a man for a kiss before revealing her identity. Many Sudanese viewers expressed outrage on social media, calling the performance insulting and racist. Others called for a boycott of the TV station and the production company, using the hashtag boycott MBC Masr. Seif told local media the scene was not intended to offend.

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