Egyptian Chronicles: November 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

What are those public utility companies you spoke about , Madam minister ?? Updated

On Wednesday , The Wall Street Journal published in its opinion section an op-ed by Egypt's minister of international cooperation Sahar Nasr about the latest "economic reforms" in Egypt.
Addressing foreign businessmen and foreign government through the daily business newspaper, Minister Sahar recounted the economic reforms and achievements of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's administration.
As expected and usual , the current minister of cooperation put the blame of economic woes on the Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi and his one year rule.
She did not  blame or compare "Mubarak's bad developments policies" with El-Sisi's policies interestingly in the op-ed.
Personally , the only thing that caught my attention aside from putting all the blame on the bad MB was her statements in English about the future of public utility companies in Egypt.
Through public offerings, Egypt will be partially divesting from several state-owned enterprises and banks. For the first time, this will cover public utility companies, which have historically been excluded from divesture as a strategic sector. Megaprojects, mainly in infrastructure, are being carried out as public-private partnerships. The objective isn’t only to keep the private sector as a main stakeholder, but also to ensure a crowding-in rather than crowding-out effect.
I think what the minister said in English is clear.
The Egyptian government will divest partially from several stated-owned Enterprises and banks as well for the first time in history public utility companies according to this statement, to this paragraph.
Sahar Nasr
 Minister Sahar Nasr of international cooperation

This is the first time , an Egyptian minister would say that the Egyptian state would divest partially in public utility companies and amazingly she announced that in a foreign newspaper.
I do not recall that an Egyptian official told the Egyptian public or the parliament or the Egyptian media about that before.
We already know that the government will divest partially from public banks , specifically Banque Du Caire and from oil sector as well.
It is the first time to include the public utility companies in that plan.
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Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Nubian Caravan and the right to return : Toshka crisis

Since Saturday not less than 150 Egyptian Nubians have started an open sit-in at Abu-Simbel-Aswan highway as a military police refused to let them head to their old Nubian villages in Toshka and Forkund to protest the sale of the land there to Non-Nubians.
"Update : The Nubian activists ended the sit-in Wednesday morning" 
The sit-in was already planned at the two villages as part of a protest called "The Nubian Return Caravan" against the presidential decree to include those two villages in President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's mega-national project of reclaiming 1.5 million feddans.
Egyptian protesters
A photo from the sit-in and you can see all ages as
well women "Twitter" 

"The Nubian Return Caravan" is actually a convey made of a delegation and representatives of Nubians from all over the country organized by several Egyptian Nubian organizations above them the Nubian Union after the latest presidential decrees as well cabinet decisions endangering once again the Nubians' rights to return.

The military police did not only stop the caravan but it took photo copies from the activists' IDs.
Later , it besieged the sit-in refusing to let food or protesters to join it.
Things escalated when three protesters were injured when the military police tried to disperse the protest by force and they were transferred to hospital.

Saturday and Sunday nights witnessed protests in several areas throughout Aswan as angry Egyptian Nubians cut highways and railways for several hours over the security actions.
The protester announced that they would continue in their sit-in till their demands are met starting with allowing the Nubian Return Caravan to head for its original destination.

The Egyptian Nubian protesters also demand the government not to sell the old Nubian villages in Toshka and Forkund as part of that mega-project and to stop selling the old Nubia land in general.
They also demand a law for the resettlement of Nubians in their old villages in accordance with the Egyptian constitution.

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

The confrontation between journalists syndicate and the regime is back as it seems

Location 4 شارع عبد الخالق ثروت، معروف، قصر النيل، محافظة القاهرة‬، مصر
For the past 5 years , the 19th of November is marked by political tensions,mostly clashes and protests.
This year , it is not an exceptional. Aswan and Red Sea governorates saw protests for different reasons and in Cairo, the confrontation between journalist unionists and state is back.

Earlier Saturday ,a Cairo Misdemeanor Court sentenced the head of Egypt's Journalists syndicate Yahia Qallash and board members Khaled El-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim to two years in jail for "harboring fugitives inside the syndicate's headquarter" from seven months ago.

Issued in absentia as the trio did not show up, the verdict is a first-degree one and can be appealed. The Misdemeanor court set bail at LE 10,000 for each defendant.
Egypt's Journalists syndicate after court rule to prison its head
Yahia Qallash at the journalists syndicate earlier Today 

This is unprecedented by all measures.

For the first time in the history of Egypt's journalists syndicate, something like that happens.
Actually, it is the first time in the history of unions in general if I am not mistaken.

If you have forgotten the case , it all started when the security forces stormed the Journalists syndicate headquarter arresting journalists Amr Badr and Mahmoud El-Sakka who were having a sit-in there from seven months ago.
Both were accused of spreading false news , inciting the public and plotting to overthrow the regime during the Tiran and Sanafir protests crackdown.
Following the illegal storming of the syndicate, the majority of members of the journalists syndicate stood with Yahia Qallash , Khaled El-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for their stance against the storming of the syndicate as an escalation in May.
In June , the three men were referred to misdemeanor court.

Then people forgot about what happened and today we remember all this with this shameful verdict.
"It is expected verdict as we have been found guilty and sentenced already by the Prosecutor general's statement from seven months ago," said Qallash in his short word at the journalists syndicate after the verdict.
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Friday, November 18, 2016

And the victim this time was a cart driver !!

It seems that we are having some sort of news that became a norm , a daily routine that unfortunately does not shock anybody anymore.
News like terrorist attacks in North Sinai and road accidents have become a norm. Unfortunately, the police brutality has become a norm that the news that a person was tortured till death in a police station does not shock people anymore.
Earlier this week , another torture till death case took place in a police station and it did not catch the attention except few journalists.
Then the media began to highlight it on Wednesday only as social media users began to speak about it.
For the record, both Al-bediaih and United Copts news websites were the first to speak about the matter from mainstream media.
This time , it was a poor cart driver who used to transfer and sell fish in Al-Amiriyah working class area, Cairo.
Late Magdy Makeen
Late Sunday , 52-years old Magdy Makeen was arrested and reportedly taken to Al-Amiryah police station. Next day , his family was called to take his dead body from Zaiton general hospital.
Later , the body was transferred to Zainhom morgue where the family found outrageous traces of torture.
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

And here is the Supermoon

Here is the supermoon from Giza late Monday.
I had to take two batches of photos as in the first batch there were clouds all over the moon.
Here are my Supermoon's shots from Monday.
November 2016 Supermoon

November 2016 Supermoon
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Monday, November 14, 2016

The moon before the supermoon

After a few hours later today , the world will meet what is believed to be the biggest supermoon sine the 1940s the Earth would witness.
Those photos of the moon were taken in Giza , Egypt Sunday night showing a glowing moon that has not reached its super status yet.
The moon before the supermoon
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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Kodak Agfa presents Alexandria in late spring

Location Alexandria, Alexandria Governorate, Egypt
In May , I went to Alexandria in a short a three-days visit with my family. It was a nice spring break before the start of summer as well before Ramadan.
This is my second - somehow long trip to Alexandria from 8 years ago.
The last time I went there  was a for quick one-day or rather a few hours visit in 2012.
I went by train from Cairo's Ramses railway station.
It was the first time to see Egypt's first and oldest as well main railway station after its controversial renovations.
I think you have seen of those photos I took quickly while I was running to catch the train on time.
We took the first-degree train , the newest one in the service. It was better for real than the one I had taken in 2008. It got Wi-Fi Service but it was not working.
A direct trip to Alexandria , I took a couple of snaps of the Nile Delta towns and villages we passed through.

A video posted by Zeinobia (@zeinobia) on


Arrived Alexandria aka Alex by Afternoon , the weather was hot unlike springtime. I remember we had a terrible heat wave during then in Cairo.

I remember the taxi that took us from Sidi Gaber Railway station to the hotel where we stayed describing the Mediterranean sea as "Non-movable carpet" because of the heat.
We were staying in Middle-class area of Sidi Bishr.

As someone who has not been to the city for 8 years , I noticed that many of the public beaches were closed for maintenance by none other than The Egyptian armed forces' Engineering authority. The army's Engineering  also renovated the famous historical casino Cote D' Azur but it is still closed. {Once upon time, King Farouk of Egypt used to gamble in that casino}
Also, more and more concrete ugly towers are everywhere.

And the sea was amazing in May for real. It was breathtaking and clear.
The Alexandrian sea
The sea in Alexandria in May 
Now in the city of God as the Alexandrians like to call it, you will find many things that force you to take your camera or open mobile phone camera and snap !!
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Thursday, November 10, 2016

About that so-called 11/11 Revolution in Egypt on Friday

Supposedly after Friday's prayers which are a few hours away , a so-called revolution or protests or uprising of 11/11 will erupt against the current Egyptian regime because of its so-called economic policies.
The graffiti of the so-called revolution "Reuters" 

As usual, Downtown Cairo is locked down and famous Sadat metro station in Downtown is closed as usual. The ambulance authorities
For months , the pro-regime media has been warning the Egyptian people of participating in the 11/11 protests or so-called revolution which seemed to be an orphaned call with no political powers claiming it.
Suddenly , those calls for protests appeared from nowhere whether online or offline.
All the opposition/Pro-January 25/Pro-Democratic political powers and parties stated that they won't participate or call the people to join those protests.

Independent revolutionary activists also denied any relation with those calls appearing online and offline. At the same time,  people from the working class began to speak about.
Pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters seemed to support the call for 11/11 protests  , they always support any calls for protests against the regime jumping into the wagon without knowing who is behind.

Same thing when it comes to the Pro-Muslim Brotherhood media from websites , Facebook pages and TV channels.
Many activists actually suspected the 11/11 revolution or protests call was a trap by the security to crackdown protests and political powers.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

When Sisi congratulated Trump on the phone

After announcing that Donald Trump has become the 45th president of the United States by two hours , the Egyptian Presidency announced that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi was the first leader to congratulate him in a telephone call.
During the call according to the readout released by the Egyptian presidency , Sisi invited Trump to visit Egypt. "I do not know if he visited it before".
Trump and Sisi
Trump and El-Sisi in NYC last September "Egyptian Presidency" 

In return , the new US president-elect told Sisi that he was looking forward to see him soon.
It is worth to mention that Trump met El-Sisi in New York during the United Nations General Assembly "UNGA" in September.
El-Sisi was quite impressed by the Republican nominee then that he did not care much about insulting and disturbing statements about Islam and Muslims. 

It is not a secret that Trump expressed his admiration with El-Sisi and his war on 'Islamic terrorism' from his point of view.

I think this has to do with the fact that his national security ex-General Michael Flynn praises El-Sisi whether in his book or in is talks.

Also, his top expert on the Middle East and terrorism issues Walid Phares also praises El-Sisi.
Phares is too open to the Egyptian media as in the past months , he used to give statements in Pro-regime media.

On Wednesday , he told Egyptian media allegedly that Trump would issue a law designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.
Yes , it is all about the Brotherhood. They do not mind having an alliance with the devil itself to get rid of the Brotherhood.
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Thursday, November 3, 2016

And "it" hit the fan finally !! "Updated"

And you know "it" hit the fan finally.
The Central Bank of Egypt "CBE" issued its decision early Thursday to freely float the Egyptian pound and raise the key interest rates as part of the government's economic reforms.
In its statement issued earlier , the CBE announced that it temporarily devalued the Egyptian currency by 48 percent to LE 13 to the dollar.
Egyptian bank
Taken earlier Thursday in some Egyptian bank
in Cairo "Reuters" 

It is up to the banks move the price of the dollar to within a10-percent margin above and below the above-mentioned exchange rate until the next exceptional forex auction .

Since then the prices at the Egyptian banks including the ones I know whether public sector banks or private/foreign banks between LE 13.01 to 15.99 to the dollar.
And it was a chain reaction.


Here is a copy from the Central Bank of Egypt's statement in Egypt thanks to dear Heba Mahfouz.
 It started rapidly with an increase in customs and tariffs then air flights tickets by 46%.

At 9.30 PM , media began to speak about how the prices of fuel would increase at midnight. This created a frenzy and thousands of people took their cars and headed to gas stations creating traffic jams till early Friday hours !!

Before the midnight , the prices of fuel increased officially in Egypt.

The 80-octane gasoline fuel "used by lower and lower middle classes" price increased by 46.8% while the 92-octane gasoline fuel price increased by 34.6% and diesel price increased by 30.5%.
Of course, the increase of diesel prices means the increase in the prices of food especially vegetables and fruits as they are transferred by trucks that use diesel.
Fuel price decision
A copy from the decision

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

And ElBaradei is speaking up about what happened in summer 2013

Recently , Egypt's former VP Mohamed ElBaradei has been very active on his twitter account criticizing directly and indirectly what is happening in Egypt. As usual , the Pro-regime media slams him spreading lies about him day and night.
There is nothing new about that but something happened on Tuesday turning the table upside down.
On Tuesday afternoon, ElBaradei issued a long statement on his official Facebook page in Arabic slamming the Pro-regime media directly and the regime indirectly.
In his statement ,the former vice-president spoke about his role starting 3 July until 14 August 2013 including his short time as the vice president of interim president Adly Mansour.
Here is the statement after the break.
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