Italian tourist held over killing of hotel supervisor in Egypt

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Reuters/Cairo
Filed on August 13, 2017

The supervising engineer, identified as Tariq Ahmed Abdel Hameed (L).
(Image credit: Al Arabiya)

The supervisor died after becoming involved in a brawl

An Italian tourist has been detained in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Marsa Alam on suspicion of killing a supervisor on a hotel building site, judicial sources said.

The supervising engineer died after becoming involved in a brawl on Thursday when he warned the tourist not to enter a restricted area, the sources said.

The Tourism Ministry said on Friday that the Italian, Ivan Pascal Moro, had admitted causing the man’s death.

The suspect was remanded in custody on Saturday for another week, the sources said.

An Egyptian tourism official based in Italy was travelling to Marsa Alam to take charge of the children, aged 6 and 15, and bring them back to Italy.

The children were present at the time of the incident and had since been in the care of a hotel employee, the ministry said.

 

Source  :  The Khaleej Times

In Egypt, A Rising Sea — And Growing Worries About Climate Change’s Effects

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Drivers maneuver through flood water after a torrential rain in Alexandria, Egypt.

Ibrahim Ramadan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

On Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, August should be prime tourist season. But the seaside restaurants in Alexandria are almost empty. Worries over security are keeping a lot of foreign tourists away. But there’s a much bigger worry looming: that hotter weather and a disappearing shoreline could make Egypt’s prospects even worse.

Scientists generally agree that human-made climate change – the effect of greenhouse gas emissions from things like cars and factories – is making the sea level higher and its waters warmer.

Rising sea levels are affecting the Nile River delta, the triangle where the Nile spreads out and drains into the sea. It’s where Egypt grows most of its crops. According to the World Bank, Egypt — with its already high poverty rates and rapidly growing population — is one of the countries that will be most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Hazem Adel is already seeing some of those changes firsthand. He sells hats and woven handbags at a stall in front of a wall of concrete barriers on the Alexandria waterfront.

“The water used to flood and cover the people and their cars,” says Adel. “That’s why the government put up the barriers – to stop the high water so it won’t flood the street.”

All along the waterfront, the government has erected barriers to counter increasingly fierce winter storms. There’s no beach on this part of the shore. The sand washed away years ago.

Many scientists predict a sea level rise here of more than two feet by the end of the century. Some historic buildings are already crumbling, as salt water seeps into the bricks. Entire neighborhoods could be submerged.

The Alexandria boardwalk is lined with concrete barriers to keep back rising waves.

Jane Arraf/NPR

For thousands of years, Alexandria’s fortunes have risen and fallen with the sea.

Near the concrete boardwalk, guides lead Arab tourists through a fortress built partly on the ruins of one of the wonders of the ancient world – the lighthouse of Alexandria.

For almost 2,000 years, the stone lighthouse was the tallest building in the world. It used mirrors to reflect the sun, and fires at night, to warn sailors away from the rocks. After a series of earthquakes between the tenth and 14th centuries, it tumbled into the water. Over the centuries, the sea swallowed what had been a thriving port and even the outline of the harbor itself.

Fishermen stand on what are believed to be some of the remains of the base of the lighthouse, casting lines into the water from long poles.

Saleh Hilmi, who has been fishing here for 25 years, says the fish now are smaller than before – he throws the ones he catches to stray cats. Because the sea water is warmer, he says, the bigger fish have retreated to cooler, deeper water.

It’s a big worry for climate change experts like Mohammad al-Raey from the University of Alexandria, who has been researching the potential effects of warmer temperatures and rising sea levels for decades.

“The sea level rise would affect all coasts and all beaches,” he says, looking out over the brilliant blue waters of the Mediterranean along Egypt’s north coast. “The models show the Middle East would increase in temperature and decrease in precipitation.”

Most models predict a possible average mean temperature rise of more than three degrees Fahrenheit over parts of Egypt over the next four decades.

Raey says the effects of hotter weather, including reduced rainfall, would cut agricultural productivity by 15 to 20 percent – a huge blow to a country already struggling to feed its people.

A fisherman stands on what are believed to be remains of the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria – considered one of seven wonders of the ancient world.

Jane Arraf/NPR

More than half of Egypt’s crops are grown along the Nile delta.

All along the delta, the river banks are eroding. With rising sea levels, sea water is seeping into Nile water used for irrigation.

“The crops die,” says Youssef Ghazali, who has been farming for 50 years. “If you water them with salty water, they die immediately. If I had proper water, I could grow rice, clover cotton. I could grow anything.”

Ghazali’s arms are crisscrossed with red gashes from cutting thistles. He shows me a patch of bare earth where, two years ago, he was growing rice. Now he says it’s too salty to grow anything at all.

Other farmers say they have had to abandon traditional crops like sugarcane because of the salinity of the water.

Ghazali says people here are already struggling with river water polluted by runoff from factories — and now they’ve been told that human activity is changing the very weather.

“We’ve heard for a long time that we shouldn’t burn wood and straw,” he says. “They say because of the smoke from that and smoke from the cars, it affects the temperature.”

Other Egyptians aren’t so sure.

Further up the Nile delta, near a fishing village called al-Ma’adiya where the Nile meets the Mediterranean, fisherman say winter storms have been so fierce the past two years, some people here believe God is punishing them.

“Last winter was the worst,” says Bedair Mohammad. “The sea swallowed up some of the land and got closer and closer to the village. We’re seeing things we never saw before, in a way that could make us believe this is anger from God on the village and its people.”

Mohammad says every year the winds get stronger, the waves get higher and more land disappears. They have to go further and further out to sea to find the same fish they used to catch close to shore.

He points to where the pale blue water of the Mediterranean starts to turn brown a few hundred feet closer to shore. It was bare ground just a few years ago – now it’s covered in water. In his grandfather’s time, it took more than half an hour to walk from the village to the shore. Now it takes less than 10 minutes.

Ten years ago, these were such rich fishing grounds people referred to this stretch of the coast as “Kuwait” — because its villages were so prosperous. Now the fish near the shore are smaller and scarcer. Fishermen need motorboats to get out to deeper water instead of the rowboats they used to use.

Mohammad says last year, the winds were so strong, the third story of his house was knocked down. Boats were tossed up from the water into the road.

“In the winter, the sea attacks us,” he says. “We are afraid the village will sink into the sea.”

 

 

Source  :  NPR.ORG

Egypt’s Moussa rejects calls to extend presidential terms

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The head of the panel that drafted Egypt’s 2014 constitution, possibly the most progressive in the country’s history, denounced calls to amend the charter on Saturday, saying in a carefully-worded statement that parliament should focus instead on implementing it.

Amr Moussa, a respected statesman and a former foreign minister and Arab league chief, was apparently responding to calls by some lawmakers to extend by two years the four-year term the president serves in office.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has less than one year left in his first term. He has yet to say whether he is running for a second term, but he is widely expected to do so in June 2018. The constitution stipulates the president can only serve two terms. The relevant clause cannot be amended unless the change “brings more guarantees,” according to the constitution. Moreover, any amendment must be approved in a nationwide referendum before it comes into force.

“Renewed talk about amending the constitution in a presidential election year raises questions about the maturity of the political thought behind it,” said Moussa, who unsuccessfully ran in a 2012 presidential election won by the Islamist Mohammed Morsi. El-Sissi led the military’s 2013 ouster of Morsi, whose one-year rule proved divisive.

Calls for extending the presidential term are led by lawmakers from a pro-government bloc. As the rationale behind their calls, they say four years is not long enough to allow el-Sissi to implement his plans to revive the economy and crush an increasingly emboldened insurgency by militants led by a local affiliate of the Islamic State.

“The only thing that does not change is the Quran, but anything else that is man-made, like the constitution, can be changed to suit the conditions and circumstances of nations and people,” Gamal Abdel-Al, a senior bloc member, said in an interview published Saturday in local daily al-Shorouk.

Parliament’s speaker, the fiercely pro-el-Sissi Ali Abdel-Al, has sought to prepare the nation for the process of constitutional amendments. He said in recent comments that the 2014 constitution was drafted at a time of “instability” — a reference to the unrest that followed Morsi’s ouster — and some of its clauses should be amended now that the country is stable. He did not mention the extension of presidential terms.

“Egypt needs to deepen stability and not create tension. It needs to reassert respect for the constitution, not cast doubt on it,” said Moussa, whose statement appeared to go to great lengths to avoid being seen as opposing el-Sissi.

“All Egyptians have been entrusted with protecting the constitution, particularly the House of Representatives, which I am confident will live up to its responsibility and give precedence to implementing, rather than amending, the constitution.”

Government critics contend that the government, especially its security agencies, is paying little heed to the constitution, violating its guarantees for freedoms and civil, legal and human rights on a virtually daily basis. El-Sissi has given priority to combating terror and reforming the ailing economy. And he argues that the right of Egyptians to good education, decent housing and medical care is just as important as their human rights.

Source  :  ABC News

Egypt cotton exports up nearly 20 percent as historic crop restored

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Reuters

Exports of Egypt’s prized cotton will hit 38,000 tonnes in the 2016-17 season ending this month, up 19 percent on last year’s total, the head of a cotton exporting council told Reuters, as Egypt looks to win back market share lost after a 2011 uprising. Production of Egyptian long-staple cotton, famously used for luxury linens, has fallen sharply since political upheaval six years ago led to less enforcement of regulations, degrading the crop’s quality.

Last year Egypt banned all but the highest quality cotton seed in order to save its historic crop, dramatically reducing the area under cultivation to about 130,000 acres, a more than 100-year low. Egypt is now looking to scale that cultivation back up. The area planted rose to about 220,000 acres this year and is expected to hit up to 500,000 acres in the next two to three years, according to cotton traders.

“The area under cultivation is growing and exports are going to grow … and we can now sell at a price that’s less than California Pima,” said Nabil al-Santaricy, head of the Alexandria Cotton Exporters Association, referring to long-staple American cotton, Egypt’s primary competitor. Egypt last November floated its currency, roughly halving it in value and making its exports relatively cheap on international markets, a boon for Egyptian cotton traders able to source higher quality cotton after the new regulations.

Ahmed Elbosaty, chairman of Modern Nile Cotton, Egypt’s largest cotton trading company, expects to more than double his exports to about 16,000 tonnes this year from about 7,000 in the season that ends this month. “The idea is to regain our position in this global extra-long staple market,” said Elbosaty, who sees Egypt able to more than double its global market share within three years to capture about 20 percent of a small but high-end market that trades some 500,000 tonnes of long-staple cotton per year.

Egypt’s prized long-staple cotton trades at a high premium, currently around 160 cents per lb versus 90 cents for the more common short-staple cotton. This makes it a lucrative dollar-earning export for the dollar-strapped country as it looks to narrow a trade deficit that hit $42.64 billion last year. Egyptian cotton, even lower grades, got a boost last year after a scandal involving the alleged sale of falsely labeled Egyptian cotton products by Indian textile manufacturer Welspun India, which prompted higher scrutiny among retailers.

“The scandal created demand for Egyptian coarse-count yarn. They have an export market today they didn’t have before because now the retailers are very cautious. If it’s labeled 100 percent Egyptian, it has to be Egyptian,” said Elbosaty.

 

Source  :  Egypt Daily News

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