April 27, 2017

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  • Analysis: Media coverage of Sinai kidnappings

    Screen grab shows army tanks deployed in Sinai to free seven soldiers who were kidnapped last week.

    BY MAI SHAMS EL-DIN Cairo – The dramatic abduction and release of seven Egyptian soldiers in turbulent North Sinai last week ended with their “mysterious” release, but the flames of the media coverage of the week-long ordeal are still filling the air. A wave of inaccurate news, attributions to unknown sources and contradictions characterized the media scene both in the daily talk shows and in print. A conscript of the armed forces and six police personnel were kidnapped on May 16 by militants in response to the alleged torture by police of a Jihadist arrested in the summer of 2011,…

    Environmentalists protest against GM seeds multinational

    Anti-GM seeds activists led by Bezoor Balady campaign and supported by Greenpeace, protested against Monsanto,  a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation which produces genetically-modified seeds. (Photo by Leyla Doss)

    BY LEYLA DOSS Cairo – Dozens of Egyptians protested in Cairo and Alexandria on Saturday, in solidarity with a Global March in 436 cities worldwide, against Monsanto, a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation which produces genetically-modified seeds. The march comes on the heels of an advocacy stunt organised by the Bezoor Balady Campaign days before in front of the Ministry of Agriculture, and supported by environmental NGOs Nawaya, Greenpeace, Nabta and Nature Conservation Egypt (NCE). Bezoor Balady promotes sustainable and organic farming using local seeds and crops. In previous action, the group fired local “seed bombs” in an urban initiative to…

    S&P’s credit rating cut scrutinized

    Some economists analysts have downplayed the significance of S&P's latest credit rating downgrade while emphasizing Egypt's pending economic crisis.

    BY LEYLA DOSS Cairo – Egypt’s worsening economy was hit by another credit rating downgrade earlier this month from Standard and Poor’s (S&P), an American ratings agency, placing it at 124 out of 127 rated economies. Egypt now falls behind Pakistan, Greece and Zambia. But how significant is this ratings cut? This is the agency’s sixth downgrade of Egypt’s credit rating over the past two years following the popular uprising which overthrew President Hosni Mubarak. S&P lowered Egypt’s long-term credit rating from B- to CCC+ and its short-term rating from B to C, citing the country’s persistent inability to meet…

    Maids and marginality in Cairo: Why legal reform isn’t enough

    Widespread poverty in Egypt has driven many women into domestic service, where income can be significantly higher than other available low-threshold ‘female’ jobs.

    BY RAHMA BAVELAAR Cairo – On a summer morning in 2012 at 6am, Nadya pulls a black abaya over her colorful housedress, wistfully pins her rectangular headscarf under her chin, locks the door behind her two young daughters and steps into the oncoming heat. On a good day, it takes her two hours to get from the narrow unpaved alley in the densely populated working class neighborhood of al-Marg, to the landscaped compound in the wealthy new desert suburb of Shaykh Zayd, where she works as a maid. This summer, frequent power outages on the underground metro network, numerous strikes…

    Tamarod stokes revolution against Mursi

    A few thousand protesters congregated in Tahrir Square spurred by Tamarod, a grassroots movement calling for early presidential elections. (Photo by Hassan Ibrahim)

    BY MAI SHAMS EL-DIN Cairo – Full of enthusiasm, Iman El-Mahdy, member of Tamarod (Rebel) campaign says she never expected that the dream she shared with a group of her friends would become reality. Tamarod, a grassroots movement petitioning for a withdrawal of confidence from President Mohamed Mursi, in office since June 2012, announced last week that they had already collected 2 million signatures against Egypt’s first ever elected civilian president. The campaign has set a target of 15 million signatures by the end of June, when mass protests are scheduled to coincide with the first anniversary of Islamist-backed Mursi’s…

    In Pictures: Protesters call for early elections

    Ultras football fans enter Tahrir Square to join anti-Mursi protests calling for early elections on May 17, 2013. (Photo by Hassan Ibrahim)

    Cairo – Several thousand protesters converged in marches to Tahrir Square on May 17 spurred by the ‘Tamarod’ (Rebellion) campaign. The grassroots  movement aims to withdraw confidence from Egypt’s elected President Mursi and bring about early elections. They have claimed to have collected 2 million signatures so far, but are targeting 15 million by the end of June to mark one year of Mursi’s term in office. Islamist leaders have criticized the campaign as “illogical”. According to several news reports, former Freedom and Justice Party MP and leading member of the party Mohamed El-Beltagy said : “I call on the…

    ‘Les Miserables’ links revolutionary France, Egypt

    "Master of the House" Monsieur Thernardier (Sheirf Rizkallah), Madame Thernardier (Rita Achkar) and Eponine (Nesma Mahgoub) in a scene from "Les Miserables" in Arabic staged at AUC last week. (Photo courtesy Amira Gabr)

    BY DALIA BASIOUNY Cairo – Few performances can move their audience emotionally, while engaging them artistically and intellectually. But some very lucky Cairenes had the opportunity this week, watching highlights from the renowned musical “Les Miserable” at The American University in Cairo (AUC). The remarkable performance was presented in Arabic for the first time late last week at the Malak Gabr theater. The successful Broadway musical “Les Miserable” by Claude-Michel Schoenberg and Alain Boublil is based on Victor Hugo’s powerful novel about poverty, injustice and the struggle against oppression, set during the 1932 student revolt against the French monarchy. The…

    Revolutionary agriculture: permaculture design gains ground in Egypt

    The revolutionary farming methods of permaculture design emphasize sustainability, community and respect for the environment. (Photo by Leyla Doss)

    BY LEYLA DOSS Cairo – Almost a year ago, Abdel-Khalek Betiti (Abbouda), owner of Fekra Center in Aswan, realized that the family farm of his childhood, overlooking the beautiful Philae Island along the banks of the Nile River, had reached a standstill. His land was overused, economically unsustainable and arid. This is where Nawaya, a local agricultural non-profit organisation, comes in. Last month the NGO gave a weeklong introductory course on a concept new to Egypt, permaculture design, to provide farmers with the tools to combat the very issues that many like Abbouda face. Permaculture, short for ‘permanent agriculture’,  is…

    Egyptians lose interest in Mubarak trial

    Screen grab shows the ousted Mubarak in the cage on the first day of his retrial for complicity in the killing of protesters during the January 2011 uprising.

    BY TAMIM ELYAN Cairo – Carrying a poster of her 20 year-old son, Moaz, who was killed in clashes with police in Tahrir Square in the early days of the January 2011 uprising, Sanaa Saeed doesn’t expect punishment to be meted out to her son’s killers, but she won’t give up the case. Outnumbered by media and riot police, Saeed and a handful of victims’ relatives stand under the blazing sun outside the police academy in an eastern Cairo suburb which plays host to what is dubbed the “trial of the century”. This is where ousted President Hosni Mubarak and…

    ‘Alice’ but no wonderland

    Scene from "Alice" by  Sawsan Bou Khaled and Hussein Baydoun from Lebanon. (Photo by Mohamed Fathallh)

    BY DALIA BASIOUNY Cairo – In its second edition, the Downtown Contemporary Arts Festival (D-CAF) which closed on April 28, presented a mixed fare of theater performances with a focus on works never seen in Egypt before. The world premiere of Lebanese performance “Alice”, created by Sawsan Bou Khaled in collaboration with Hussein Baydoun, is a case in point. This one-woman show was directed, authored and performed by Bou Khaled, a theater veteran who made her directorial debut in 2006. The exceptionally talented Hussein Baydoun, is an architect by training, but is known in the Arab world and beyond as…

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