Zimbabwe crowds rejoice as they demand end to Mugabe rule

Thousands of people have celebrated the army takeover in Zimbabwe and urged President Robert Mugabe to step down.

They tore pictures of Mr Mugabe and marched to his office and residence.

The army intervened on Wednesday, days after Mr Mugabe sacked his deputy, signalling that he favoured his wife Grace as his successor.

Mr Mugabe, who is confined to his house, was to meet army chiefs on Sunday, state TV said. The 93-year-old has led Zimbabwe for 37 years.

The military says it will advise the public on the outcome of talks “as soon as possible”.


Egypt’s Sisi discusses Palestianian reconciliation process with President Abbas during New York meeting

The two presidents met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Monday, discussing reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi held talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in New York on Monday, discussing developments in the Palestinian national reconciliation process, the Egyptian president’s office said in a statement.

At the meeting, held at El-Sisi’s New York residence, Abbas expressed his appreciation for Egypt’s sincere and productive efforts at achieving reconciliation between Palestinian factions.
Egypt has played an important role in mediating a reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Ramallah and the Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday, Hamas announced that it had dissolved its administrative committee running Gaza, making way for the formation of a unity government in Gaza comprised of Hamas and Fatah officials, and paving the way for the first elections in Palestine since 2006.
The move follows several rounds of talks in Cairo between Egyptian officials and Hamas leaders over the past several months.
Fatah welcomed the Hamas decision and said the PA is ready to work with the Islamist movement to achieve national unity.
The Palestinian president also expressed optimism about the prospects for acheving unity among the Palestinian people.
During Monday’s meeting, El-Sisi said that Palestine would always be a top priority in Egyptian foreign policy and that Egypt would continue its efforts with the various Palestinian factions, seeking to end the spilt that divides them between the West Bank and Gaza.
The Egyptian president’s office said that the two leaders agreed during the meeting to continue consultation and coordination to end divisions within Palestine.
Also attending the meeting were Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Khaled Fawzy.
El-Sisi is currently in New York to attend the meetings of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). He is due to address the Assembly on Tuesday.


UN chief says world is afraid of nuclear war with N.Korea

Global anxieties about a nuclear war are at their highest level in decades, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Tuesday as he opened a gathering of world leaders dominated by the crisis with North Korea.

Addressing the high-level debate at the General Assembly, Guterres said millions of people are living in dread as a result of North Korea’s provocative nuclear and missile tests.
“The use of nuclear weapons should be unthinkable,” Guterres told the 193-nation assembly meeting in New York.
“But today global anxieties about nuclear weapons are at the highest level since the end of the Cold War.”
The fear of nuclear warfare “is not abstract”, he added. “Millions of people live under a shadow of dread cast by the provocative nuclear and missile tests” carried out by Pyongyang.
The United States backed by Japan, South Korea and its western allies are pushing for a strong international response to North Korea after it conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test and fired missiles over Japan.
But China and Russia have warned that US talk of military options to address the North Korean crisis would have a catastrophic result and are pushing for diplomatic talks.
Guterres warned that rising tensions were increasing the chance of miscalculation and that “fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings.”
He called for a political solution, saying “this is a time for statesmanship.”
“We must not sleepwalk our way into war,” he said.


Door still open for new faces to join Egypt: Assistant coach

Egypt’s assistant coach Osama Nabih says those players who impress may still have a chance of joining the Pharaohs ahead of October’s World Cup qualifier against Congo

Egypt’s assistant coach Osama Nabih said on Tuesday that there is still room for new players who prove their worth being drafted into the Pharaohs squad ahead of next month’s World Cup qualifier against Congo.
“Consistency of satisfactory performance is the key to earning a spot on the national team. If a player plays five or six matches and keeps improving his performance, he will defintely get our attention,” Nabih said on the DMC Sports television channel.
Egypt called up 14 Europe-based players on Monday amid preparations for the much-anticipated qualifier at home against Congo, scheduled for 8 October.
On Tuesday, Nabih has also commented on the recent tough media criticism of Egypt coach Hector Cuper, saying that the technical staff don’t pass on all such criticisms to the coach.
“We agreed among the technicial staff that we should not be telling him every critical remark made against him,” he explained.
The Argentinean has become vulnerable to criticism for his defensive tactics and squad choices after a shocking 1-0 defeat away to humble Uganda in the World Cup qualifier on 31 August.
However, despite the loss, some reports have suggested that Cuper has been promised by some EFA members that he will continue leading the team until World Cup 2022.
Seven-time African Cup of Nations champions Egypt are bidding for their third-ever World Cup appearance, ending 28 years of failing to qualify for the prestigious tournament.
Topping Group E with nine points, the Pharaohs are looking for a victory over Congo to bring them a step closer to Russia 2018.
Egypt should officially qualify if they beat Congo and second-placed Uganda stumble against Ghana in the same round.

Trump says if threatened, U.S. will ‘totally destroy’ North Korea

U.S. President Donald Trump escalated his threats against North Korea over its nuclear challenge on Tuesday, threatening to “totally destroy” the country of 26 million people and mocking its leader, Kim Jong Un, as a “rocket man.”

In a hard-edged speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Trump offered a grim portrait of a world in peril, adopted a more confrontational approach to solving global challenges from Iran to Venezuela, and gave an unabashed defense of U.S. sovereignty.
“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump told the 193-member world body, sticking closely to a script.
As loud, startled murmurs filled the hall, Trump described Kim in an acid tone, saying, “Rocket man is on a suicide mission for himself and his regime.”
His remarks rattled the leaders gathered in the green-marbled U.N. General Assembly hall, where minutes earlier U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for statesmanship, saying: “We must not sleepwalk our way into war.”
Trump’s most direct military threat to attack North Korea, in his debut appearance at the General Assembly, was his latest expression of concern about Pyongyang’s repeated launching of ballistic missiles over Japan and underground nuclear tests.
His advisers say he is concerned about North Korea’s advances in missile technology and the few means available for a peaceful response without China’s help.
One man in the audience covered his face with his hands shortly after Trump made his “totally destroy” comment. Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom crossed her arms.
“It was the wrong speech, at the wrong time, to the wrong audience,” Wallstrom later told the BBC.
North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A junior North Korean diplomat sat in the delegation’s front-row seat for Trump’s speech, the North Korean U.N. mission said.
Trump’s saber-rattling rhetoric, with the bare-knuckled style he used to win election last November, was in contrast to the comments of some of his own Cabinet members who have stated a preference for a diplomatic solution.
Reaction around the United States was mixed. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, tweeted that Trump, a fellow Republican, “gave a strong and needed challenge” to U.N. members to confront global challenges.
But Democrat Ed Markey of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee denounced Trump’s remarks in a CNN interview, saying the president had yet to exhaust his other options in encouraging Pyongyang to negotiate.
“He engages in escalatory language that only induces further paranoia in Kim,” Markey said. “The least we should be able to say is that we tried, we really tried, to avoid a nuclear showdown between our two countries.”
In a thunderous 41-minute speech, Trump also took aim at Iran’s nuclear ambitions and regional influence, Venezuela’s collapsing democracy and the threat of Islamist extremists and criticized the Cuban government. ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠ “Major portions of the world are in conflict and some in fact are going to hell,” he said.
His speech recalled the fiery nationalist language of his Jan. 20 inaugural address when he pledged to end what he called an “American carnage” of rusted factories and crime.
His strongest words were directed at North Korea. He urged the United Nations member states to work together to isolate the Kim government until it ceases its “hostile” behavior.
In what may have been a veiled prod at China, the North’s major trading partner, Trump said: “It is an outrage that some nations would not only trade with such a regime but would arm, supply and financially support a country that imperils the world with nuclear conflict.”
The U.N. Security Council has unanimously imposed nine rounds of sanctions on North Korea since 2006 and Guterres appealed for that 15-member body to maintain its unity.
Turning to Iran, Trump called the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, an embarrassment and hinted that he may not recertify the agreement when it comes up for a mid-October deadline.
“I don’t think you’ve heard the last of it,” he said.
He called Iran an “economically depleted rogue state” that exports violence.
There was no immediate comment from either Iran’s U.N. delegation or its foreign ministry in Tehran.
French President Emmanuel Macron, in his U.N. speech, said his country would not close the door to negotiations over the North Korea crisis and staunchly defended the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“Renouncing it would be a grave error,” Macron said.
Trump said the United States does not seek to impose its will on other nations and will respect other countries’ sovereignty. He said the U.S. military would soon be the strongest it has ever been.
Trump called the collapsing situation in Venezuela “completely unacceptable” and warned the United States was considering what further actions it can take.
“We cannot stand by and watch,” he said.
Venezuela rejected Trump’s threats and said it was prepared to resist any U.S. actions, even a military invasion. Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza called Trump a white supremacist who was returning the world to the Cold War of the 1980s.
“He came to the house of peace and promoted war and the destruction of certain countries,” Arreaza told reporters.
Financial markets showed little reaction to Trump’s speech, with most major assets hovering near the unchanged mark on the day.
“He stuck with his script,” said Lennon Sweeting, chief market strategist at XE.com in Toronto. “The dollar/yen jumped around a bit but it’s basically flat. I don’t think we will see any more volatility out of this.”


Egyptian parliament’s human rights committee begins ‘surprise visits’ to police stations

The committee will begins visits to police station holding cells and prisons, particularly those where torture has been reported

A delegation of MPs affiliated with the Egyptian parliament’s human rights committee began on Tuesday paying field visits to a number of police stations and prisons in Cairo and Giza.

Alaa Abed, the head of the committee, told reporters that the visits reflect the committee’s role in supervising the performance of police officers and ensuring that human rights are fully observed in police stations and prison cells.

“The visits will in particular focus on police stations and prison cells where some torture cases were reported,” said Abed.

The delegation includes Margaret Azer, Manal Maher, Abu Bakr Gharib, Hayam Halawa, Ahmed Youssef, and Abu Sobhi El-Dali.

Azer told Ahram Online that the parliamentary delegation began on Tuesday by visiting El-Warraq district police station in Greater Cairo.

“There were violent clashes between the residents of El-Warraq and policemen two months ago,” said Azer.

“We want to make sure that citizens who were detained following these clashes receive good treatment.”

Azer revealed that the committee’s visits will also include orphanages.

“We got several reports from the media and independent lawyers that there was a lot of abuses in some orphanages and child care centres and we want to review conditions there,” said Azer.

Abed indicated that the committee’s visits to a number of police stations last year resulted in improving performance and imposing discipline.

“For example,” said Abed, “following a visit to East Cairo’s El-Ameriya police station last year, a police officer suspected of torturing a Christian citizen – Magdi Makeen – was referred to trial,” said Abed, adding that “the committee also visited Fayoum prison in Upper Egypt after some torture cases were reported there.”

Abed explained that the visits will continue on Wednesday and Thursday.

“I want to stress that these are ‘surprise visits’ because police stations do not have notice in advance,” said Abed, adding that ” this differs from visits to prison cells, which require that you must get prior permission from the interior ministry, in accordance with prison regulations in Egypt.”

Abed said the first group of visits this week will focus on police stations in densely populated districts in four governorates: Cairo, Giza, Alexandria and Assuit.

“At the end of the visits we will prepare a report to be discussed by parliament in a plenary session and in line with Egypt’s 2014 constitution which gives the committee and the National Council for Human Rights primary roles in observing respect for human rights in Egypt,” said Abed.

Abed said in general the committee wants to send a message that “performance of police officers and respect of human rights are strictly observed by the Egyptian parliament, as well as independent human rights groups and civil society organisations.”

Western visits

Abed revealed that the Committee will also make visits to a number of Western cities in the USA and Europe next October or November. “We plan to visit New York and Washington in the US, Geneva in Switzerland, and Brussels in Belgium to meet with a number of human rights organizations based in these cities,” said Abed, explaining that “the visits aim to meet officials there to give them detailed response to a recent report in which the New York-based Human Rights Watch alleged that torture has become a systematic practice in Egypt.”

According to Abed, the committee will hold meetings with the European Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and human rights committees in parliaments in Italy, Germany and England.

“We have friendship associations with MPs in these countries and we will use them to expose facts about the human rights situation in Egypt,” said Abed.

Abed said Egypt’s parliament has already filed a complaint against Human Rights Watch with the Geneva-based Inter-parliamentary Union.

“In its politicised and flawed report, HRW alleged that parliament’s human rights committee is being manipulated by security apparatuses in Egypt,” said Abed, adding that “for this reason, we asked the Inter-Parliamentary Union to open an investigation into this allegation and to question HRW’s officials who propagated this lie.”

“We know who gives HRW this flawed information for political reasons,” said Abed, adding that “HRW receives $250 million in funding every year, with most of this money coming from Qatar and Muslim Brotherhood offices in Turkey and some European capitals.”


Egypt exports seen up 10 percent for year, China fastest growing investor: Minister

Egypt’s exports should grow about 10 percent this year to reach $22 billion, Trade Minister Tarek Kabil said on Tuesday, as the country lures foreign investors keen on setting up manufacturing following economic reforms.
He also told Reuters in an interview that China was set to be the country’s fastest growing investment partner.
Egypt has been looking to plug a gaping trade deficit that stood at $42.64 billion last year but which has been narrowing in recent months, helped by a currency float that halved the pound currency’s value, making Egyptian goods cheaper abroad and buying more expensive.
“Exports will be higher than last year, we expect about $22 billion,” Kabil said. Last year, they were at about $20 billion.
Earlier, he told a Euromoney financial conference that the trade balance this year had been reduced by 37 percent, with imports down 23 percent to almost $30 billion and exports growing by 11.5 percent to $15 billion.
Egypt has been trying to market itself as a manufacturing hub for foreign investors, with easy access to European markets, relatively cheap labour, and economic reforms tied to a $12 billion International Monetary Fund lending programme it hopes will instil confidence in investors, many of whom fled after the 2011 uprising.
Foreign direct investment for the fiscal year that ended in June hit $7.9 billion, but Cairo is hoping a new investment law offering a slew of incentives which is expected to be active within weeks will help it top $10 billion this year.
Kabil told Reuters he expects China to be the fastest growing investor in coming years, with Egypt positioned to reap major investments from its Belt and Road initiative, a global development project aimed at expanding links between Asia, Africa and Europe.
“Currently (the European Union) is the biggest but I think China investors will grow rapidly… We’re in discussion with major players in terms of textiles and automotives. Those are two main projects we are in discussions with,” said Kabil, without providing more specific details.
Egypt and China this month signed a memorandum of understanding for Beijing to finance a rail link worth about $739 million to serve a new administrative capital, a large portion of which is expected to be constructed by Chinese developers.


Sisi calls for US-Egypt free trade zone in mtg with US Chamber of Commerce

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi attended a luncheon organised by the United States’ Chamber of Commerce and the US-Egypt Business Council in New York on Monday, where he advocated a free trade agreement between the two countries.

According to El-Sisi’s office, the president met with a number of US businessmen from different sectors and expressed his appreciation for the role played by the Chamber of Commerce and the business council in supporting economic and commercial relations between Egypt and the United States.
In his address at the luncheon, El-Sisi told the attendees that economic relations between the two countries are an important pillar in the strategic relationship, and that Egypt was looking forward to strengthening those relations.
He also advocated a free trade agreement between the two countries as it would lead to an increase in trade.
According to the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt, the stock of US direct investment in Egypt stood at $22.6 billion in 2016, representing 35.4 percent of US direct investment in Africa and 46.2 percent of US direct investment in the Middle East.
As of 2016, Egypt became the largest recipient of US foreign direct investment in Africa and the second in the MENA region after the UAE.
Myron Brilliant, the executive vice-president and the head of international affairs at the Chamber of Commerce, also addressed the attendees, praising the Egyptian government’s recent economic reforms and the economic delegations to Egypt organised by the chamber.
He said the chamber has formed a taskforce to organise an investment forum in Egypt, to show American companies the investment opportunities in the country.
The luncheon was attended by a number of Egyptian officials, including Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr.
Also on Monday, El-Sisi attended a dinner at the Business Council for International Understanding, an NGO that aims to expand international trade and commerce through dialogues between governments and businessmen.
He also expressed how he looked forward to having American companies increase their activities in Egypt, especially as the Egyptian market is large.
El-Sisi is currently in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly. He will address the UNGA on Tuesday.


Telecom Egypt launches country’s fourth mobile network WE

Telecom Egypt on Monday officially launched “WE”, the country’s long-awaited fourth mobile network.
The fourth mobile network is available with the technologies of 2G and 3G, and 4G experimentally.
The SIM cards for the new mobile network were available for purchase from 8pm Monday.
The pre-paid cards for the fourth mobile network will be available for distribution by 15 October.
There are three other mobile service providers in Egypt: Orange, Vodafone and Etisalat.
Telecom Egypt has a monopoly on landlines in the country.
The high-speed 4G service is set to be officially activated for all four mobile services by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority within weeks.
Telecom Egypt has a helpline — 111 – for all customers’ inquiries.
The mobile internet service provided by WE will cost EGP 10 for 1GB, EGP 20 for 2.5GB, EGP 40 for 6GB, EGP 100 for 18GB, and EGP 200 for 40GB.
The company has a fixed-line subscriber base in excess of 6 million subscribers.
In 2001, Telecom Egypt acquired TEData (formerly GegaNet) to act as its data communications and internet service provider.