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Medicinal herb farming flourishes amid Egypt's ailing economy
29 July 2017 - Like most of his peers and neighbors in Agamyeen village in Fayoum Valley, 42-year-old Abdul Nabi inherited farming from his ancestors. For decades, Abdul Nabi grew wheat, rice, cotton, and corn in his 50-acre farm. But 13 years ago, the man decided to shift to the cultivation of organic medicinal herbs to earn more money. The middle-aged man started a company to grow, process, and export herbs and is now sending his produce of some 20 species of medicinal herbs and spices to Europe, the Americas, and China. 'They told me that European companies have tested the soil and the weather here and said they are unique for growing medicinal herbs.' (more)

French energy company prepares for renewable energy development in Egypt
20 April 2016 - On the occasion of the State visit by the President of the French Republic, Fran├žois Hollande, French energy company EDF has signed five memoranda of understanding, which confirms its strategy for developing low carbon, renewable energy in Egypt. (more)

Egypt: Start-up companies are flourishing
26 February 2016 - For some young entrepreneurs, creating a business is a way to work toward a positive future for Egypt when avenues of political change appear closed for the moment. They are developing innovative businesses that are beginning to attract international funding. In just a few years, entrepreneurship has gone from an unfamiliar word to something of a buzzword, as an ecosystem of incubators, mentors, investors, and start-ups has grown virtually from scratch. (more)

'Supergiant' natural gas field off Egypt
30 August 2015 - The Italian energy company Eni SpA announced Sunday it has discovered a 'supergiant' natural gas field off Egypt, describing it as the 'largest-ever' found in the Mediterranean Sea. (more)

El Sewedy Electric to develop solar power plant in Upper Egypt
14 June 2015 - Egyptian cable maker El Sewedy Electric said on Sunday it had entered into an agreement to develop a 50 megawatt solar energy power plant in the Upper Egypt region. El Sewedy formed the Egyptian Company for Solar Energy Development, a subsidiary that it will invest about $75 million in, which will be in charge of developing, funding, owning, and running the power plant, the cable maker said in a statement to Egypt's stock exchange. (more)

Egypt opens borders with Gaza for the first time in months
13 June 2015 - Egypt opened its borders with the Gaza Strip for the first time in months Saturday, allowing Palestinians to enter and leave the isolated coastal strip. The Rafah border crossing is Gaza's only gateway to the outside world with no Israeli control. Egypt has kept it mostly closed since the militant Hamas group seized control of the coastal strip in 2007. The closure worsened after Egypt's military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood member, in 2013. Hamas is an offshoot of the Brotherhood. (more)

Egypt opens Rafah crossing into Gaza in sign of easing tensions
13 June 2015 - Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing on Saturday to allow Palestinians to travel in and out of the Gaza Strip for the first time in three months, in a possible sign of easing tension between Cairo and Gaza's dominant Islamist Hamas movement. Two weeks ago, Egypt reopened Rafah for three days but only in one direction -- for Palestinians stranded outside Gaza to return home. But Saturday's move, allowing travel in both directions, might signal a cautious improvement in relations between Cairo and Hamas after two years of high tension. (more)

Egypt's Aziza Hussein: A visionary for women's rights
26 January 2015 - Many young women living in Egypt and worldwide today do not know that the rights they enjoy are legally theirs because of the great women who fought for them, like Aziza Hussein. Aziza Hussein (1919-2015) was a pioneer of women's rights and development in Egypt and the Arab world. She was the first Egyptian female member of the UN delegation to address the General Assembly. (more)

GB Auto aims to invest $1.5 bln in vote of confidence for Egypt
7 January 2015 - Egypt's GB Auto aims to invest $1.5 billion to build two new factories, its chief executive said, in a vote of confidence for the country's political stability. Political turmoil has hammered Egypt's economy since an uprising toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has pledged to get the economy back on track and lure back investors by creating a more business-friendly climate. (more)

Egyptian business sees fastest growth in three months in December: PMI
6 January 2015 - Business activity in Egypt expanded at its fastest rate in three months in December, a survey showed on Tuesday, with rising output and export demand bolstering a fragile economic recovery. The HSBC Egypt Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for thenon-oil private sector rose to 51.4 points in December, from 50.7 points the previous month, reaching its highest level since registering a near-record 52.4 points in September. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Programmes to create coherence, peace through Transcendental Meditation planned for Egypt
13 January 2011 - For the first time, Egypt has its own native Teacher of the Transcendental Meditation Programme, who graduated from Teacher Training last December. In the past, Teachers from other countries traveled to Egypt to offer courses, through which many people have learned the technique. One initiative planned is to establish a group of people regularly practising Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programmes together, to create an influence of invincible coherence, harmony, and peace in the collective consciousness of the nation. (more)


Flops
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Suicide bomber strikes near ancient temple in Luxor, Egypt
10 June 2015 - A suicide bomber blew himself up Wednesday close to the ancient pharaonic temple of Karnak in southern Egypt, a site visited by millions every year, the government said. No tourists were hurt and the Nile-side monument was not damaged. The attacks suggest extremists are shifting from shootings and bombings of security forces to targeting Egypt's vital tourism industry. For two years, attacks have been centered in the Sinai Peninsula, mostly by a group that has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group and largely focused on retaliation against police and soldiers. A campaign against tourism, one of the main sources of foreign revenue, could deal a blow to el-Sissi's promises to repair Egypt's economy. (more)

Jobless and desperate, Egyptians risk all in perilous Libya
30 January 2015 - Facing grim economic prospects at home, desperate young Egyptians are seeking jobs in Libya -- a country sliding into lawlessness where armed groups battle for control and dozens of their compatriots have been kidnapped. Tackling unemployment in Egypt -- where half of the rapidly growing population is under 25 -- is one of the toughest challenges facing President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. He rules a country that has seen two presidents deposed in the past four years. The 2011 popular uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak was fuelled by anger over joblessness. The political and social unrest since Mubarak was ousted has deterred foreign investors and tourists from Egypt. This has exacerbated the jobs crisis, and the unemployment rate has climbed. (more)

Gunmen attack Egypt troops, killing 21 near Libya
19 July 2014 - Gunmen armed with rocket-propelled grenades attacked a border guard post Saturday in Egypt's western desert in a brazen assault that killed 21 troops deployed in the province along the border with neighbouring Libya. Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi called it a 'terrorist attack' on soldiers defending the country's borders that will 'not go unanswered. 'Terrorism will be uprooted from every part of Egypt,' a statement from the presidency said. It declared a three-day mourning period. The attack was the second in as many months on the same post, where a border guards company is based. Coming just over a month after el-Sissi took office, the attack is the worst single loss for military troops in recent history. (more)

Egypt's Sisi - extremists destroying the region, threaten the world
7 July 2014 - Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi warned world powers on Monday that Islamist militants are ravaging the Middle East and pose a threat to everyone's security. 'Be alert to what is happening in the region ... This region is being destroyed right now and we should not let this happen,' Sisi said in a televised speech. 'This matter concerns not just the Arab world. It concerns the entire world,' he said, naming the United States, Russia, China, and Europe. Militants have long challenged pro-Western Arab countries, and Egypt itself faces an Islamist insurgency based in the Sinai peninsula. But a lightning advance by the Islamic State through major oil producer Iraq has rung alarm bells from Cairo to Washington. The al Qaeda offshoot declared itself a 'caliphate' last month, weeks after overrunning the northern city of Mosul and seizing swathes of land north and west of the capital. (more)

More people, less water mean rising food imports for Egypt
3 July 2014 - For the past 15 years, antiquated irrigation systems and a government conservation drive have kept many farmers from nutrient-rich Nile waters, forcing them to tap sewage-filled canals despite their proximity to the world's longest river. 'This water ruins our pumps, it breaks our machines, it's bad for our production,' Sharaf Al-Dein, 50, said of the canal. But even as Egypt wrestles with dwindling water from its only major source, the Nile, it pushes farmers to grow more to supply the country's costly subsidised food programme. The two goals, farmers and experts say, are at odds with one another. And efforts to make the most of precious farmland have been hampered by decades of urban sprawl, which has accelerated since 2011 when the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak led to a security vacuum. The government, anxious to stimulate economic recovery after years of political turmoil, wants to cut its $4.5 billion food import bill. Most of that bill goes to subsidies that guarantee universal access to bread at less than one US cent (0.05 Egyptian pounds) per loaf. That makes Egypt the world's top wheat importer, purchasing around 10 million tonnes a year. (more)

Egypt jails Al Jazeera journalists, US calls sentences 'chilling'
23 June 2014 - Three Al Jazeera journalists were jailed for seven years each by an Egyptian judge on Monday, in what Washington called 'chilling, draconian sentences' that must be reversed. Cairo defended the journalists' convictions -- for aiding a 'terrorist organisation' -- and rejected the widespread condemnation as 'interference in its internal affairs'. The three, who all denied the charge of working with the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, included Australian Peter Greste and Canadian-Egyptian national Mohamed Fahmy, Cairo bureau chief of Al Jazeera English. The third defendant, Egyptian producer Baher Mohamed, was given an extra three years for possessing a single bullet, at the hearing attended by Western diplomats, some of whose governments summoned Egypt's ambassadors over the case. Al Jazeera, whose Qatari owners back the Brotherhood and have been at odds with Egypt's leadership, said the ruling defied 'logic, sense and any semblance of justice'. (more)

Egypt upholds death sentence on Brotherhood leader, nearly 200 supporters
21 June 2014 - An Egyptian court confirmed death sentences on Saturday against the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and 182 supporters, in a mass trial of Islamists who ruled Egypt for a year but face a fierce crackdown under the new president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Mohamed Badie and other defendants were charged in connection with violence that erupted in the southern town of Minya following the ousting of the Brotherhood's President Mohamed Mursi last July, led by then army chief Sisi. One police officer was killed in the violence. The court's decision came two months after it referred the case against Badie, general guide of the now outlawed Brotherhood, and 682 other defendants to a top religious authority, the first step to imposing death penalties. Those preliminary sentences triggered outrage among Western governments and rights groups, with the United States and European Union both saying they were appalled by the rulings. Since Mursi's overthrow, which was followed by protests by his supporters, hundreds of Islamist protesters have been killed and thousands jailed in a crackdown by security forces. Five hundred army and police officers have also been killed. (more)

Egypt's breadbasket Nile Delta under threat from illegal building
18 June 2014 - In the Nile Delta province of Qalubiya, lifelong residents remember the days when lush farmland stretched as far as the eye could see. Today, their view is marred by unfinished brick tenement buildings with metal rods jutting into the sky -- signs of the growing problem of illegal construction in Egypt's agricultural heartland. The unlicensed building is more than an eyesore -- it threatens plans by the world's top wheat importer to cut its costly imports bill by growing more locally. Scarce farmland has been eroded for decades by relentless population growth and urban sprawl, and the pace of unlicensed building exploded since 2011 when the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak led to a security vacuum. The Agriculture Ministry estimates that some 30,000 feddans (acres) have been lost each year to unlicensed construction in the past three years, up from 10,000 feddans before the revolt. (more)

Egypt sentences 683 to death in another mass trial
28 April 2014 - The Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader and more than 680 other people were sentenced to death Monday stemming from last year's post-coup violence in the latest mass trial that was denounced in the West and by human rights groups as contrary to the rule of law. In a separate ruling Monday, a court banned the 6 April youth group -- one of several that engineered the 2011 uprising against longtime leader Hosni Mubarak that set off nearly three years of unrest. It ordered the confiscation of the group's offices. The sentences for the 683 defendants were announced by Judge Said Youssef at a court session in the southern city of Minya that lasted only eight minutes. The verdicts are not final and are expected to be overturned. Under the law, once the defendants who were tried in absentia turn themselves in -- which is all but 63 of the accused -- their trials will start over. Monday's court action drew international outcry. Amnesty International said it feared the judiciary is 'becoming just another part of the authorities' repressive machinery, issuing sentences of death and life imprisonment on an industrial scale.' UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that the verdicts are likely to 'undermine prospects for long-term stability'. (more)

In Egypt, a corruption watchdog hit by backlash
18 April 2014 - Hesham Genena has created uproar by trying to actually do his job. The head of one of Egypt's foremost government oversight agencies, he says he has uncovered billions of dollars-worth of corruption, involving some of the country's most untouchable institutions, including the police, intelligence agencies, and the judiciary. As a result, rivals have barraged him in the media, calling him a sympathizer with the Muslim Brotherhood. His insistence on going public with allegations has led to two court cases against him, including one for insulting judges. And he is struggling to translate his investigations into action. He has referred hundreds of cases to the general prosecutor but says less than 7 per cent have been investigated. He has complained that security agencies bar his staff from inspecting their documents. 'I can't say they have stopped all investigations. But they are not responding to our requests,' he said of the prosecutors' office 'When I send a report, they should respond. They don't. We have no way of knowing.' If the prosecutors won't follow through, he added, there's 'only God after that.' (more)

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