Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives today to discuss a host of issues with President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, chief amongst which are the signing of the Dabaa nuclear power plant contracts and the resumption of direct flights between Moscow and Cairo. Also on the agenda are potential arms sales. We have confirmation from Ittihadiya that some sort of accord will be inked during the summit to get the ball rolling on the USD 30 bn power plant, but it remains unclear when exactly the contracts will be signed and sealed. We have more in today’s Speed Round, below.
El Sisi is also set to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo today for one-on-one talks on the US’ declaration last week recognizing Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel. Abbas arrived in Cairo last night as modest numbers of demonstrators hit the streets in cities including Cairo and Alexandria to protest moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, Egyptian Streets reports. Meanwhile, the Arab League adopted yesterday a resolution demanding that US President Donald Trump rescind the declaration, the AP’s Hamza Hendawi reports.
A House delegation is meeting with European Parliament officials today to discuss legislative and economic developments in Egypt, Egypt’s ambassador to Belgium Khaled El Bakly tells Al Masry Al Youm. The delegation, headed by House Planning Committee Chairman Hassan Eissa, is making the pitch for investment over loans as the best way to spur economic development in Egypt.
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Making headlines in the global business and finance press:
Bitcoin futures began trading overnight on a Chicago futures exchange. There was enough interest that the exchange’s website bonked multiple times under the load. January bitcoin contracts opened at USD 15k and were trading at USD 16,250 at about 4:20am CLT. Tap or click here to check out the CBOE page and get bitcoin future trading data. The story is front-page news for the Wall Street Journal and Reuters. Need to get up to speed? The guy on the bitcoin beat for the Journal since 2013 has a video explainer about the cryptocurrency (watch, runtime: 1:44). And as always, one of your go-to resources for bitcoin news should be Coindesk.
Which brings to mind the best bitcoin joke we’ve read recently on the tweeter (which isn’t saying much, as jokes go): “You want to borrow USD 10,000 to travel across Europe this summer, son? In bitcoin? What are you going to do with USD 14,736? I mean, really, USD 9,812 is a lot of money. How are you going to pay back USD 11,923?”
The World Trade Organization is meeting in Buenos Aires, and EU officials are using it as a platform to take a swipe at The Donald’s trade policies, the Wall Street Journal reports: “European Union officials said the U.S. is threatening to cripple global commerce by undermining the World Trade Organization,” the Journal reports, “EU officials said the U.S. is pulling back from its position as the world’s pre-eminent guardian of free trade, and that the resulting lack of broader ambition among WTO members will likely make the trade gathering unproductive.” The ministerial gathering runs through Wednesday, and you can check out the agenda here.
And for your morning dose of miscellany:
- Robots will transform fast food, reports the Atlantic. If that’s a challenge for policymakers on the other side of the pond, what does it mean for tens of thousands of jobs here?
- Don’t feel smug, “professional managers”: Check out the Wall Street Journal’s Meet your new boss: an algorithm. Uber, GE and Shell are already rolling out algorithmic overlords for their full- and part-time workforces.
- “Saudi Aramco prepares for life after oil” is this morning’s Big Read in the Financial Times.
- We love New Zealand, but the Kiwis aren’t certain they love the notion of us buying property over there.
- Wait, what? “Child marriage in US is becoming less common but there were still 207,000 minors married between 2000 and 2015,” tweets HRW’s boss with a link to this piece in the Economist.
Last, but not least, Ars Technica has a guide to help you choose a gift for the true geek on your holiday shopping list: Ars Technica’s ultimate board game buyer’s guide. Even in a techie household such as ours, you need to know: You haven’t laughed since you’ve trash-talked family members while playing a board game with them. Monopoly will do. We particularly like this Stranger Things themed set.