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Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 27 - 11 - 2008

Not guilty as charged
This shot was taken by Sherif Sonbol at the Cairo Opera House, where the qanoun player was misunderstood by angry audiences who thought he was having a mobile phone conversation seconds before the concert started. As it turned out, the device he was on was but a tuner used to adjust the sound of the strings.
At the Mohamed Ali Palace, an exceptionally glamorous reception was organised and hosted by the administration of the 32nd Cairo International Film Festival, with a bevy of Arab and international cinema stars attending. Among them were Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, Festival President Ezzat Abu Ouf, actresses Samira Ahmed, Elham Shahine, Yossra, Nelly, Poussy, Hala Sedqi, Bushra, Razan, Nicole Saba, Raghda, Lebleba, Nelly Karim, Hanan Metawei, Nabila Ebeid, Safia El-Emari, actors Mahmoud Qabil, Hani Salama, Tamer Hagras, Syrian actor Gamal Suleiman, director Mohamed Abu Seif, belly dancers Dina and Fifi Abdu and controversial director Enas El-Deghedi.
Among the attendees were also the festival's guests of honour from international cinema including veteran actress Susan Sarandon, actress Alicia Silverstone and Turkish actor Kivanç Tatlitug.
More news on the activities of the 32nd Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF): French Ambassador to Egypt Jean Félix Paganon held a thrilling celebration at the French Embassy honouring the late world-renowned filmmaker Youssef Chahine. Attending the celebration were actresses Lebleba, Nabila Ebeid, Rogina, singer-cum-actress Emmy as well as Chahine 's wife and his protégé, talented director Khaled Youssef. The celebration featured the screening of one of Chahine 's famous works, Bab Al-Hadid (Cairo Central Station).
photos: Abdel-Hamid Eid
Lebanese diva Elissa and singer Ragheb Allama threw a concert at Future University at the fifth complex in New Cairo. A large number of fans attended the concert and enjoyed the melodies performed by the Lebanese stars.
The Arab Thought Foundation, presided over by Prince of Mekka Khaled Al-Faisal bin Abdel-Aziz, held a lavish awards ceremony at the InterContinental Hotel, CityStars. Awards went to veteran Egyptian Comedian Adel Imam in the field of arts, head of the MBC Association Walid Al-Ibrahim in the field of media, Syrian Fawaz bin Tayseer Al-Halabi in the field of science, and novelist Samiha Khres from Jordan in the field of literature. In addition, the project of the Family Book Library and the Christian Youth Association in Jerusalem were granted the foundation's awards for their activities in social work.
On the occasion of the inauguration of his latest exhibition of paintings titled "Upper Egypt Revisited", artist Farid Fadel along with his wife Mona Zaki held a reception party at Al-Hanager Art Centre. The exhibition, launched by German Ambassador to Egypt Bernd Erbel and his wife Maye, was attended by a number of high-profile figures including US Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey, Al-Hanager Director Hoda Wasfi, Minister of State for Administrative Development Ahmed Darwish and his spouse, Minister of Social Solidarity Ali El-Meselhi, movie stars Karima Mokhtar and Hisham Abdel-Hamid as well as a galaxy of foreign ambassadors to Egypt. (see Listings p.3)
Mona Makram Ebeid, former MP and distinguished lecturer of political science at the American University in Cairo was asked to become a member of the new Mediterranean Peace Forum and to participate in its launch in Italy from 27 to 30 November. The forum is headed by Ahmed Qurei from Palestine and Frederico Mayor from Spain and will be attended by almost 100 guests including Culture Minister Farouk Hosni.
For the fourth time in less than two years, the German Embassy hosted an art exhibition, this time by well-known German figurative artist Hans - Dieter Zingraff. The exhibition was co- opened by German Ambassador Bernd Erbel and head of the Fine Arts Sector Mohsen Shaalan at the Gezira Art Centre in Zamalek. Erbel noted that Alexandria will be hosting some of his works on 25 December. Shaalan explained that Zingraff 's works featured Egyptian motifs, which he encountered during his tours through the country. (see Listings p.3)
At the sixth edition of the Angel Film Awards, Monaco International Film Festival, Egyptian plastic artist Reem Azmi is participating as an official jury board member. The annual festival takes place in the Principality of Monaco, Monte Carlo from 4 to 7 December 2008.
Cinemania, presided over by Marianne Khoury in collaboration with the Spanish Embassy and Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF), celebrated the inauguration of the days of the Spanish Cinema under the slogan "Made in Spain", last week at Galaxy Cinema in Manial, Cairo. Attending the lavish inaugural ceremony were Spanish Ambassador to Egypt Antonio López Martinez and a galaxy of Spanish and Egyptian cinema figures such as director Saad Hendawi, actresses Sahar Rami and Laila Shoeir, actors Seif Abdel-Rahman and Rami Wahid. The event also included screening of the Spanish film Volver, starring gorgeous actress Penélope Cruz and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. That was followed by a celebration held at Manasterly Palace where director Khaled El-Haggar, actresses Yossra and Razan, director Ahmed Abu Zeid, singer Hani Shaker as well as producer Gabi Khoury were all present.
The Environmental Compliance Office and Sustainable Development presided over by Ahmed Kamal Abdel-Moneim hosted a delegation of 16 diplomats from Denmark. The delegation and embassy representatives visited one of the most non- pollutant production projects implemented by the office at one of the industrial establishments in the Sixth of October city.
The sense of physical and mental challenge to raise over $137,000 for good causes was what persuaded 174 people to hike, trek and climb Egypt's highest mountains and endure its roughest terrain in the Sinai Peninsula late this month. The BG Energy Challenge 2008, Egypt, now in its fifth year, returned to St Catherine, south of the Sinai Peninsula, where the first Energy Challenge took place in 2004. The Energy Challenge is an inter-business networking and team building event which fosters team spirit, challenged teams to three days of activities. Nicole McMahon, head of policy and corporate affairs at BG Egypt, said "BG Egypt is delighted that the challenge is appealing, more now than ever before, to Egyptians who want to raise money for the underprivileged in Egypt by making a personal fitness and mental commitment. Eighty- four per cent of the challengers were Egyptian, and took part in completing the challenge as well as raising significant funds with major accomplishments."

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