Monday, 24 November 2014
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WHAT WE’RE TRACKING TODAY
A “senior source” close to Ittihadiya confirmed the Sisi administration is considering extending an invitation to Qatar to attend the March 2015 Sharm summit. Suffice to say this is a sea change in policy following the GCC fence-mending summit a week ago.
The 30 June 2013 fact finding committee submitted yesterday its final report to President Abdelfattah El-Sisi. The committee, appointed to look into violence in the wake of the 30 June Revolution, was headed by Mr. Justice Fouad Abdel Moneim Riad, who distinguished himself with service on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia 1995-2001. The committee will hold a press conference on Wednesday (26 November) to discuss its findings, which appear all but certain to have an impact on this weekend’s planned Islamist protests. (Read a lengthy interview between Riad and Al-Ahram Weekly in 2002, just after he completed his ICTY term.)
Speaking of the protests: The Muslim Brotherhood is backing the call of a Salafi splinter group for protests on 28 November to “reassert Egypt’s Islamic identity.” According to a report in Ahram Online, the Ikhwan posted a statement on its official website yesterday that reads in part: “The Muslim Brotherhood treasures the call to preserve the nation’s identity, which the Egyptian people including the Muslim Brotherhood fought for. The Egyptian people won’t accept any attempt to obliterate its Islamic identity.” The Salafist Youth Front has called for a “Muslim youth uprising” this coming Friday. Egypt Independent notes that Al-Nour, the Salafi party most cooperative with the state, has denounced the 28 November protests, claiming their erstwhile pals from Ikhwan want to repeat the “1952 Cairo Fire.”
Everyone from Reuters to the FT appears in agreement: Iran and six world powers appear likely to miss today’s self-imposed deadline for a comprehensive resolution to the 12-year standoff over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions. There appeared to be signs, however, that the parties might extend talks. Noted Reuters: “The cost of failure to reach a deal could be high. Iran’s regional foes Israel and Saudi Arabia are watching the Vienna talks nervously. Both fear a weak deal that fails to curtail Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, while a collapse of the negotiations would encourage Iran to become a threshold nuclear weapon state, something Israel has said it would never allow.
The second and final day of the 16th Arab Business Leaders and Investors Conference, held under the auspices of President Abdelfattah El-Sisi, opens this morning in Cairo. We expect extensive coverage of yesterday’s sessions (at which essentially the entire Cabinet was scheduled to speak on one panel or another) to feature heavily in today’s news headlines.
LAST NIGHT’S TALK SHOWS
Saudi investments were the order of the day on Lamees El Hadidy’s show last night. El Hadidy hosted two Saudi businessmen who were part of the 150-member Saudi business delegation that participated in the Arab Business Leaders and Investors Conference, which opened in Cairo yesterday.
Sultan Al-Daweesh (who has had agricultural investments in Egypt in excess of EGP 400 million since 2008) and Abdallah Al-Khatib (Head of Al Anani Group which owns tourism projects in Ain Sukhna and industrial projects in Damietta) both expressed their faith in the Egyptian economy and their desire to expand their investments here.
“The problems that Saudi investors face are no different from the problems of Egyptian investors,” said El Hadidy. “The bureaucracy, the lack of decision making and delays in the allocation of land.”
“Today there is good faith on both sides of the equation. Some of the past problems have been solved, but others are ongoing. We are, however, encouraged by the meeting that we had with the President and Prime Minister yesterday,” saidAl Khatib.
“A strong example of this good faith is ‘Jusoor,’ the company established by Sheikh Saleh Kamel, Head of the Saudi Egyptian business council, two days ago. The new holding company will provide seed money for the Suez Canal project. In just one day, Kamel was able to collect EGP 1.5 billion,” explained Al Khatib. “The more problems are solved the more Saudi investment will come in,” he added.
In the second half of her program, El Hadidy shifted gears to focus on education in an interview with Education Minister Mahmoud Aboul Nasr.
“After the death of the third child last month, I called for your resignation: What do you have to say to that?” asked El Hadidy. Aboul Nasr refused to answer, saying he would let her be the judge at the end of the show.
El Hadidy remained skeptical as the Minister described the miserable state of Egypt’s public education system. With an annual budget of only EGP 68 billion, 90% of which goes towards salaries, the Ministry of Education suffers from a huge budget deficit, said Aboul Nasr.
El Hadidy went on with a rather frustrating banter that went something like this:
“Why isn’t the private sector your partner in education?” asked El Hadidy.
“We are seeking to engage the private sector with public private partnerships,” said Aboul Nasr.
“We have been talking about this for years. Why hasn’t it happened,” asked El Hadidy.
“The problem is land allocation,” said Aboul Nasr.
“Samih Sawiris said he is ready to build 1,000 schools. Why haven’t you taken him up on that offer,” asked El Hadidy.
“Again, we have a problem with land allocation, maybe you can help us with a campaign that can move this forward,” said Aboul Nasr.
Ibrahim Eissa interviewed Minister of Finance Hany Kadry Demian, Minister of International Cooperation Naglaa El Ahwany, and CIB ChairmanHisham Ezz Al Arab on the upcoming Sharm investment summit and the general economic outlook for Egypt.
“We need to move the economy to a different level, but to do so we have to identify where we are today and where we want to be tomorrow,” said Demian. “We want to be at the level of South Korea, this is how ambitious our plan is. We want to improve the standard of living of our population. For the past 20 years, we have been operating as a free market economy — but till this day we have not really achieved that because our institutions and our legislation have not developed properly.”
Added Ezz Al Arab: “Our problems began long before 2011, but we have turned the corner and we are heading in the right direction. As the private sector, I need to be clear on a vision for the future. When I approach my board to tell them what I’m investing in, I need to know that there will be continuity in that vision. I want to know where Egypt will be in 2050.”
“If we are unclear about our vision, you can imagine what it must be like for foreign investors. One of our goals with the Investment Summit is to clarify the vision to ourselves and the outside world once and for all,” said El Ahwany.
The EGX gained 0.17% on Sunday to close at 9,274 points with on turnover of EGP 727 mn, about 6% under the 90-day average. KSA’s Tadawul rose 1.1%, Kuwait was flat, Qatar shed 0.7%, ADX gained 0.1%, and the DFM added 1.5%.
MEED’s (epically lengthy) press release for its “Invest in Egypt” conference is getting wide play in GCC media, underscoring the push from the KSA, UAE and Kuwaiti governments to use the gathering as a roadmap builder for March’s Sharm investment summit. One nugget we had earlier missed: The HSBC official quoted in the release says the bank’s latest Trade Confidence Index shows “businesses in Egypt are very confident about import and export trade over the next few months — ranking highest amongst all 23 countries surveyed across the globe.” (Read the entire release in the Saudi Gazette)
Egypt could send troops to help stabilize a future Palestinian state:Egypt would be ready to lend a hand in securing a future Palestinian state by sending in troops that could help out local police and offer Israel security guarantees, President Abdelfattah Al-Sisi told Italian daily Corriere della Sera. “We are prepared to send military forces inside a Palestinian state. They would help the local police and reassure Israelis in their role as guarantors,” he said, noting that he had floated the idea past Netanyahu and Abu Mazen. (Read) Meanwhile, Ittihadiya spokesman Alaa Youssef issued a statement last night adding that “Regarding the statement about the possibility of sending troops from Egypt and the Arab countries to secure a future Palestinian state, these statements were made to encourage Israel to move towards the two-state solution.”
Hotelier Middle East has a long look at a sharp improvement in fortunes at hotels across the nation, which are admittedly rising from a very low base, in Egypt: From the Ashes (Read, and make certain to follow the story across the three separate pages — we couldn’t find a ‘view on one page’ link.)
On Saturday the High State Security Prosecution specified charges against recently-arrested Brotherhood figure Mohamed Ali Bishr, accusing him of collaborating with the United States and Norway. (Read in Ahram Online)
Saudi and Russian corporate servers and SMEs alike are being singled out for attack by a new spyware tool believed to have been crafted by a foreign intelligence service. Cyber-security firm Symantec is the first to have discovered the exceptionally sophisticated spyware, which it has dubbed Regin. Regin infects ISPs and mobile networks to then target sectors includinghospitality, energy, research and the airline industry. Re/code quotes one of the authors of the Symantec study as saying the “quality of Regin’s design and the investment required to create it is such that it was almost certainly made by a nation-state,” pointing the finger at the United States, China and Israel, Fully 52% of all attacks documented by Symantec have been against KSA and Russian companies, with the balance being primarily in Mexico, Ireland, India, Afghanistan, Iran, Belgium, Austria and Pakistan. (Read on Re/Code or check out Symantec’s blog post)
Efforts to contain West Africa’s Ebola epidemic are not on track: A joint webcast newser by UN chief Ban Ki Moon and WHO director general Margaret Chan moved their estimate for when the disease may be contained to mid-2015 and expressed concern the disease could ravage a fourth country, Mali. The WHO had previously suggested it hoped to bury 70% of the dead and treat 70% of the sick by 1 December. (Watch the web broadcast here)
EGYPT IN THE NEWS
Old tropes make a comeback in international coverage of Egypt this morning, with the BBC embracing “Egypt: The forbidden love of interfaith romances” (read) and USA Today talking to everyone from a random “resident of a crowded district” to a taxi driver, an AUC prof and a Human Rights Watch official for “Egypt faces a new, harsher kind of repression” (read).
Meanwhile, the attacks on Khaled Aboul Naga, who appears to face a third-party lawsuit for alleged ‘treasonous’ behavior after remarks criticizing the Sisi administration for relocating residents of Rafah, continue to make headlines. Al-Arabiya weighs in this morning with “How ‘treacherous’ is criticizing Egypt’s president?” (read).
Completely off the beaten track this morning: A photo essay on the website The Globalist documenting a performance in Malta by an orchestra of blind women organized by Al-Nour w Al-Amal entitled “Blind Women Make Music in Egypt.” (read)
Bishop Mikhail of Assiyut passed away yesterday at age 93. At the time of his death, Metropolitan Mikhail was widely believed to have been the oldest and longest-serving Orthodox bishop alive, having been ordained in 1939 and invested as bishop of Assiyut in 1946.
Victor Elmaleh — builder and entrepreneur, dies at 95. As the New York Times reminds us: “He imported the first Volkswagens to the United States … developed $7 billion worth of real estate … painted more than 4,000 watercolors … won national championships in handball and squash and a squash tournament at 81 … [and] married a beautiful and celebrated ballerina.” A Moroccan Jew who was sent to Brooklyn in 1925 as a boy to join his family, he decided to stay behind with relatives to attend school there when his family returned to Morocco. ‘“I’ve never quite understood how they let a 7-year-old make such a decision,’ he said in [an] oral history.” Visit the website of his World Wide Group or read his obituary in the Times.
ENERGY, RENEWABLE ENERGY & SUBSIDY REFORM
Egypt to host INTERCEM Energy Forum next month
Al Borsa | 22 Nov 2014
The annual INTERCEM Energy Forum will take place at the Conrad Hotel in Cairo next week from 1-2 December. The meeting will gather stakeholders from government and the cement and energy industries. The conference will focus on the use of coal in the cement industry (day one) while panel discussions on day two will include looks at the use of refuse-derived fuel and solar power. (Read in Arabic and register online here)
Italian solar panel maker to invest EUR 50 mn in Egypt – AlexBank’s CEO
Zawya | 23 Nov 2014
At the Economic Research Centre for Southern Italy & the Med Area (SRM) Conference on relations between Italy and the Mediterranean, Bank of Alexandria CEO Roberto Vercelli told investors that the political and economic situation in Egypt is improving. “Egypt is one of the highest growth potential markets in the MENA region” Vercelli said, and noted that a large Italian solar-panel producer intends on investing EUR 50 mn in a solar power station near Cairo. (Read)
OIL & GAS
EGPC to announce winner of tender to offer USD 1.5 bn loan this week
Al Masry Al Youm | 22 Nov 2014
The Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) will announce a winner for the USD 1.5 bn loan tender this week, according to an official source within the EGPC. The loan will be used to pay back the government late arrears owed to its international E&P partners. BG Egypt is certain that the Egyptian government will be able to pay back late arrears owed to its international partners. Arshad Sufi, BG Egypt’s Managing Director, explained the government has been making a substantial effort to pay back its debt. (Read in Arabic)
Oil Ministry may issue USD-denominated bonds after parliamentary elections
Al-Ahram Al-Iqtesady | 23 Nov 2014
The Sisi administration will issue USD-denominated bonds on behalf of the Ministry of Petroleum to fund payment of arrears to international E&P partners. The move will likely take place after parliamentary elections and after the IMF issues a report on Egypt’s economic situation, Al-Ahram Al-Iqtesady speculates. Khaled Abu Bakr, the Head of the Energy arm of the American Chamber of Commerce and Executive Chairman of energy distributor Taqa Arabia, explained that paying back dues will encourage investment in the petroleum sector, keeping in mind the vast amount of still-undiscovered petroleum wealth that requires high investments to extract.
MoP Sources: USD 6.2 bn investments in the petrochemical sector
Argaam | 21 Nov 2014
Investments worth USD 6.2 bn are being allocated to Egypt’s petrochemical sector, according to a source in the Ministry of Petroleum (MoP), saying USD 4.4 bn are directed to existing projects and USD 1.9 bn toward planned projects. Among the most important projects being executed is a complex dedicated to produce ethylene and its derivatives in Alexandria, worth USD 1.9 bn in investments. (Editor’s Note: None of this is ‘news’ — the figures have been hashed and re-hashed before, but we can expect a growing volume of statements such as these in the run-up to Sharm.) (Read in Arabic)
Giza governor inaugurates ‘Urban Upgrade Unit’ in south Giza; program is backed by German government
Zawya | 23 Nov 2014
The latest program to target development of informal settlements in South Giza was inaugurated yesterday by the Governor of Giza. As near as we can tell from the press release on the subject (it’s written in Eurocratese), the German-funded program is largely diagnostic, but does include a phase to track implementation of any projects for which it may arrange funding. (Read)
Amer Group to split into two companies
Reuters + Enterprise | 23 Nov 2014
Amer Group is spinning off its real estate development arm, essentially splitting itself into two companies: Porto Group will be a developer of Porto-branded communities in Egypt and abroad and derive the lion’s share of its revenues from real estate development and sales. Amer Group, by turn, will focus on development of recurring revenues from the group’s portfolio of restaurant, hotel and mall brands. “The goal of the division is to obtain the true value of the company’s shares in the market by shedding light on all activities in a clear manner,” Chairman Mansour Amer told reporters. Amer Group would also serve as master-planner of Porto communities and grow a land bank for development by Porto or third-parties. The proposed reorganisation of the company is subject to shareholder approval, Amer said, and a division of assets, liabilities and equity would be made “at book value at the effective date of the split.” The company’s shares closed up 5.5% for the day on the news. (Read in English or view the EGX disclosure in Arabic)
NTRA: Mobile operators provide poor service, Vodafone appears to come out the worst
Mubasher | 23 Nov 2014
The National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA) has stated in their quarterly report that service by Egypt’s three mobile carriers, Vodafone, Mobinil and Etisalat, is getting worse. A government official says the NTRA has the legal mechanisms in place to penalize any of the three providers in case of poor service quality, but says these mechanisms have not yet been brought into play. According to the report, calls that failed to connect on Vodafone’s network exceeded the allowed limit of 2% of all calls in Benha, Damietta, Kafr al-Sheikh, Mahalla, Mansoura and Shebin al-Koum. Dropped calls by Vodafone exceeded the allowed limit of 2% of all calls in Damietta, Kafr al-Sheikh and Fayyoum. Worsening call quality exceeded the allowed limit of 10% of all calls in Kafr al-Sheikh, Damietta and Shebin al-Koum, which is the highest rate recorded among all three operators. The report also indicated an increasing rate of failed calls on Mobinil’s network, exceeding the allowed limit in Dahab. With regard to Etisalat, the rate of failed calls exceeded the limit in east and south of Cairo. (Read in Arabic)
Ministry of Education to form EGP 75 mn media company in JV with ERTU
Al Borsa | 23 Nov 2014
The Ministry of Education plans to form a new media outlet called ‘The Egyptian Education and Media Services Company’ in a joint venture with the Egyptian Radio and Television Union (ERTU) and Sono Cairo. 70% of funding for the new EGP 75 mn company will come from the Education Support Fund (ESF) while the balance will be covered by the other two partners, according to Mohamed Omar, the ESF fund manager. As of the now the new media outlet has obtained all the required licensing, according to Omar. (Read in Arabic)
Transport on the Agenda for Sharm? Egypt in talks with Chinese, Hungarian and Spanish co’s to refurbish locos, rolling stock
Al-Arabiya | 23 Nov 2014
Egypt needs EGP 41 bn to refurbish 700 pieces of rolling stock and 21 locomotives, Transport Minister Hany Dahy told state-run news agency MENA, raising the prospect of rail making an appearance on the investment menu at the March 2015 Sharm El-Sheikh investment summit. The minister says Egyptian National Railways is in discussions with Chinese, Hungarian and Spanish companies to carry out the refurb work; revenues at the state-owned rail monopoly were down 34% last year on cancelled lines due to security concerns in Upper Egypt. (Read)
BANKING & FINANCE
Export Development Bank of Egypt ratings affirmed; FSR outlook revised to Stable
CPI Financial | 23 Nov 2014
Capital Intelligence has affirmed Export Development Bank of Egypt’s (EBE) Financial Strength Rating (FSR) at ‘BB-‘, with the Outlook for the FSR reverting to ‘Stable’ from ‘Negative’, reflecting a growing customer deposit base and comfortable liquidity position, the rebound in both operating and net profitability, coupled with improved net interest margin and a moderate capital adequacy ratio. (Read)
MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS
Abraaj tops Kellogg’s latest bid for Bisco Misr by EGP 0.1 / share
Al Mal and Reuters | 23 Nov 2014
Abraaj Capital, the largest emerging-markets private equity group, raised its bid for Bisco Misr to EGP 79.10 per share, 10 piasters better than a rival offer extended by Kellogg on Thursday. Majority shareholders had agreed earlier this month to Abraaj’s initial offer at EGP 73.91 / share before Kellogg overbid. (Read in Arabic on Al-Mal or in English in Reuters)
OTHER BUSINESS NEWS OF NOTE
African Development Bank Group secures USD 40 mn for Egypt’s franchise sector
Al Borsa | 23 Nov 2014
The Egyptian Junior Business Association, in cooperation with the Social Fund for Development, inaugurated the Franchise Egypt Expo 2014 on Saturday to support Egyptian SMEs and the growth of private businesses. The expo served to bring together financiers as well as young businessmen to consult on best-practices, franchising business models as well as build a network for interested individuals. The African Development Bank has previously opened a credit line worth USD 40 mn through the Social Fund for Development to support the franchising sector in Egypt. (Read in Arabic)
EGYPT POLITICS + ECONOMICS
Inviting Qatar to attend the Egypt Investment Summit is the presidency’s decision – Source
Al Masry Al Youm | 22 Nov 2014
A senior government source told AMAY that the office of the president is handling the invitations to the Egypt Investment Summit in March 2015 and that inviting Qatar to attend is currently being considered. (Read in Arabic)
Last tranche of Qatar’s deposit to be paid in 2015 – CBE
Egypt Independent | 21 Nov 2014
Upon paying USD 500 mn in early 2015, Egypt will have repaid Qatar deposit at the CBE in full according to its governor, Hisham Ramez. He also noted that the CBE is taking active measures to control the foreign currency black market, assured that the ceiling for real-estate loans to middle income families will be increased to EGP 500,000, and that an IMF mission is currently in Cairo to monitor the CBE’s monetary policy. (Read)
SEBA Chairman founds company with USD 3 bn in capital to invest in Suez Canal area
CNBC Arabia and Al Mal | 23 Nov 2014
Saleh Kamel, chairman of the Saudi Egyptian Businessmen Association, announced that he has founded a company focused on investments around the Suez Canal area with USD 3 bn in capital. He also called on the head of the Suez Canal Authority to alleviate all bureaucratic impediments to investments in the area. (Read in Arabic on CNBC Arabia and in Arabic in Al Mal)
Al Rihab to establish EGP 2 bn industrial complex by Damietta
Al Mal | 23 Nov 2014
According to a statement issued by Ahmed Sabry Darwish, the secretary general of the Saudi Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (SEBA), the Saudi development Al Rihab plans to establish several industrial projects worth EGP 2 bn in its properties located adjacent to the Damietta logistical complex. The move comes after the Egypt government had excluded Al Rihab’s property from the logistical complex zone, however, it has permitted the land’s use for industrial development as compensation for Al Rihab. (Read in Arabic)
EGP 10 bn company to finance Egypt-Saudi trade
Al Ahram | 23 Nov 2014
Sheikh Essam Nas, the Deputy Head of the Egyptian Saudi Business Council, announced yesterday the establishment of a new company, under the name of ‘FORAS, with capital of EGP 10 bn to finance trade between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. He added that a group of Egyptian businessmen already raised paid-in capital of EGP 1 bn, pointing out that the company would provide financing for any Egyptian source, or Saudi importer, to help double trade volume between the two countries. (Read in Arabic)
Egypt signs water cooperation agreement with South Sudan, reopens power plant
SIS and Ahram | 22 Nov 2014
As South Sudan’s president visited Cairo to hold talks with President Sisi, the Egyptian minister of water resources and the South Sudanese minister of electricity and dams signed an agreement on cooperation in the technical field and development of water resources. Egypt asserted its readiness to meet all the development needs of South Sudan, especially in the field of training and building capacity. The Egyptian Minister of Energy gave orders to re-operate the Yambio power plant built by Egypt in South Sudan in 2011. The power plant was a gift from Cairo to Juba and was finalized in 2011 but halted operations after its first trial run. The power plant was part of a larger effort by Egypt in South Sudan to build four new power plants. (Read the SIS release in English and in Arabic in Ahram)
Egypt hires German firm to bore transport tunnels under Suez Canal
Reuters | 21 Nov 2014
Egypt will use machines made by Herrenknecht AG German firm to bore at least four tunnels under the Suez Canal. Herrenknecht was discussing contract details, a spokesman for the company said on Friday, giving no details. Kamal al-Waziri, chief of staff of the Egyptian armed forces’ engineering division, had said on Thursday that the army had contracted a German company to provide machines for three car and train tunnels in Port Said, the northern outlet of the canal into the Mediterranean Sea. The tunnels are being built by Orascom Construction and other Arab contractors. (Read)
UAE’s Khalifa Fund to bankroll SMEs in Egypt
Mubasher | 23 Nov 2014
UAE’s Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development (KFED) is to sign two agreements with the Egyptian government for the funding of micro projects in Egypt. The signing of the agreements is expected to take place this morning between Egypt’s Minister of International Cooperation and KFED’s chairman, and will outline the extension of credit facilities to micro projects and the implementation of a number of projects to be supervised by KFED’s including a vocational training school in Assiut. (Read in Arabic)
China won a major entry into Africa’s infrastructure market with its “massive rail deal” in Nigeria, writes Foreign Policy: “China Railway Construction Corporation’s eye-popping $12 billion deal to build an 870-mile railroad in Nigeria is the biggest single overseas contract in Chinese history and will boost the country’s manufacturing sector just as its overall economy shows some signs of slowing. That’s not the only upside for China, however: the deal will also give Chinese firms more of a foothold in Africa’s biggest economy.” (Read, and while you’re at it, browse the site: Foreign Policy carried at note as we went to press that it would be open to non-subscribers “all week” thanks to a sponsorship from Chevron.)
Fitch revises down its outlook on Israel’s debt to stable from positiveciting problems with fiscal consolidation arising from the military conflict in Gaza, government debt and stagnating peace efforts. (Read)
The World Bank’s blog notes that while there are no official numbers on youth participation in Tunisia’s parliamentary elections, it has been anecdotally observed that few of Tunisia’s young people cared enough to vote. Now with Tunisians returning to the polls yesterday to elect their president, the World Bank’s blog asks: Why aren’t young people voting in Tunisia’s presidential elections?
ON YOUR WAY OUT
Even without the threat of competition from the Brotherhood’s electoral juggernaut — and in the absence of a firm date on which voters will go to the polls — at least a handful of Egyptian political parties are already clamoring for the postponement of elections for the People’s Assembly. (Read)
The total value of Egyptian exports fell 6% in 1H2014 to USD 14.6 bn, reports the Daily News this morning, citing figures from the Egyptian International Trade Point (EITP). Meanwhile, imports slid 14% in 1H2014 to USD 30.3 bn. The brief piece carries a handful of regional breakouts. (Read)
It may be a sideshow to Bisco Misr, but the ongoing competition to buy Arab Dairy should solidify this week after Arab Dairy called yesterday an AGM for 11 December. The move comes after France’s Lactalis hired Ernst & Young and Al-Kamel Law to advise it on its bid for Arab Dairy. Lactalis, Europe’s largest dairy company, has offered EGP 66 per share, topping rival offers from Saudi Arabia’s Arrow Foods (EGP 57.12 per share) and Egypt’s Pioneer Holdings (EGP 56.00 per).
In two overnight security developments, one police officer and a police conscript were killed in an attack on an armored vehicle on the outside of El-Arish (read). Ahram online, meanwhile, reports that the sole body found found at the scene of the Beni Suef train bombing on Saturday was that of a 24-year-old member of the Muslim Brotherhood. (read)
The trial of Alaa Abdelfattah and more than 20 other activists was carried over to Wednesday after a hearing yesterday, Al-Ahram Online reports (read).
Three hot spots contaminated with bird flu in Aswan: Egypt’s General Manager for Veterinary Medicine, Gamal Othman, was quoted in Al Mal saying that bird flu contamination was discovered at three locations in Aswan, namely, the industrial village, the Serag district in Edfu, and in the vicinity of Aswan’s Thursday Market. Othman added that all three locations were safely decontaminated after infected chickens were terminated and safely buried. (Read in Arabic)
Citing the example of the cholesterol drug Lovastatin, which only became commercially available in Egypt 12 years after receiving FDA approval, two researchers show the trade-offs between making new drug therapiesavailable and making them affordable as policy choices on patent rights and price regulations. (Read)
Foreigners joining Kurdish forces in Syria: At least two Brits and an American, all with combat experience in Afghanistan, and a Canadian woman are among the “dozens” of foreigners known or suspected of having joined Kurdish forces fighting Daesh in Kobani, the Guardian reports, in what we expect will become the first of a journalistic trend of reporting on the topic. (Read)
Paris needs a 42-story glass pyramid like a fish needs a bicycle. Chuffed as we are by the French love of Egypt, we’re even more delighted the right-leaning UMP is siding with the Communists and Greens in a bid to quash the Socialist mayor of Paris’ plan to build the “Triangle Tower” in the 15th near Porte de Versailles. Still, the prospect of 5,000 new construction jobs would be hard for any mayor to turn down… (Read) (And on the “Like a fish needs a bicycle line” — that’s Aussie journalist-turned-politician Irina Dunn, not Gloria Steinem. And Dunn was using a turn of phase dating at least to the 19th century. Check out the back story here.)
Movie review – Interstellar: Fell asleep during the first half, went home during the intermission, fell asleep on the ride home, went home, slept in till late the next day. But everyone says it’s really good. (Playing at the IMAX cinema in Sixth of October)
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