What we’re tracking on 22 March 2017
It’s a slow news day in Egypt and around the world. Journalists are preoccupied with yesterday’s terror attack outside the UK parliament in London, which killed five and injured at least 40 (coverage in Speed Round, below), and suggestions that US intelligence may have “incidentally” picked up communications of the Trump transition team.
Ban on electronic devices in airplane cabins spreads: UK Department of Transport announced that the ban will be enforced on Saturday, according to the AP. Both Easyjet and British Airways will enforce by that day, the BBC reports. “[Easyjet] said passengers would face extra security checks and advised them to arrive early at their airport.” The ban affects three Easyjet flights per day. Meanwhile, Emirates is going to let passengers use their devices until just about the moment before they board and then “the airline will then take the items for storage in the cargo hold until arrival,” Bloomberg reports. The business news service also has a list of what it says are hacks to survive a flight without electronics that boils down to paper books, paper notebooks and learn to like the in-flight entertainment system. (We’d add, if you’re not traveling with the kids, that you consider a sleep aid. Or ethanolic beverages. Just don’t mix the two.)
Why Homeland Security says the ban is in effect, per an emailed fact sheet: “Evaluated intelligence indicates that terrorist groups continue to target commercial aviation and are aggressively pursuing innovative methods to undertake their attacks, to include smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items.”
Why the policy wonks say the ban is in effect: It’s all about business, not terror, suggests a piece for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog. Specifically, part of the war between US airlines and GCC-based carriers that we’ve discussed in the past. See, by way of example: The Middle East’s 3 best airlines have infuriated their US competitors (from back in 2015) and American airlines want Trump to take on their Gulf rivals. (H/t Youssef El-S.)
** Take our quarterly reader survey and we’ll take at least two of you to lunch… What are the biggest challenges facing businesses in Egypt? Were the last three months good for doing business? Where do you and your business see the exchange rate stabilizing? Help us help you find out by taking our quarterly reader poll for 1Q2017. The survey would only take a couple of minutes to complete and, as always, you don’t need to answer every question — but we’ll be ridiculously grateful if you do. And taking the couple of minutes to fill it out will benefit everyone in the community by serving as a snap poll of sentiment.
…at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza. We’ll draw the names of two readers who filled in all survey questions and send them to lunch with the editors of Enterprise at the Four Seasons Nile Plaza (that’s the one in Garden City). Each reader will be entitled to bring a friend or colleague. If you’re interested, make sure you leave your full name, email address and best telephone number at the end of the survey. The poll closes next Tuesday, and we’ll announce the results and the names of our lunch guests on Sunday, 2 April.
We’re off tomorrow: Our Weekend Edition is on holiday tomorrow as we work on another special issue for you — and recover from a really hectic week.