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Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Controversy over LGBT flags at last week’s Mashrou’ Leila concert tops Egypt coverage

Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press this morning is the controversy arising after some concertgoers raised LGBTQ rainbow flags at a Mashrou’ Leila performance in Cairo last week. Security forces have arrested yesterday seven people who had been seen raising the flag at the concert on charges of “promoting [redacted] deviancy,” Reuters reports. Prosecutor General Nabil Sadek has also tasked the State Security Prosecution Service with investigating the concert after a report was filed on the raising of the flag, Al Masry Al Youm reports.

The public backlash against Mashrou’ Leila in Egypt has been widespread, as we note in Last Night’s Talk Shows, above. The Salafist Nour party plans to submit an official request to the House of Representatives to ban the Lebanese act from performing in the country, Ahram Online reports. The Music Syndicate has reportedly already taken measures to stop the band from performing in Egypt again, saying they perform “‘abnormal art,’” according to Egyptian Streets.

New Trump regs on gun exports could see weapons falling into the wrong hands: The Donald Trump administration will issue new regulations on gun exports that risk seeing weapons fall into “the hands of human rights abusers, terrorists, and international criminal gangs,” Josh Rogin writes in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. The regulations are expected to “significantly reduce oversight and transparency on small-arms exports to governments and private businesses in about three dozen countries,” he notes, arguing that gun manufacturers are the only ones who stand to benefit from the regs. He points to the fact that “Americans and Egyptians alike were outraged to discover that tear gas used in brutal crackdowns on peaceful protesters by Egyptian police had been approved for sale by the US government.”

Also worth a skim today:

  • Energy cooperation Israel could play an important role in the normalization of relations between Egypt and our eastern neighbor, David Awad writes for Al-Monitor.
  • Sheikh Jackson director Amr Salama is working on his new film Iraqi Sniper, “a riposte to “American Sniper” that’s intended to lend perspective to Mustafa, the Iraqi insurgent in Clint Eastwood’s Oscar-winning movie,” Variety says.
  • Syrian families in Egypt are facing significant economic and social challenges, Nikolaj Nielsen writes for EUObserver. The drop in the EGP value and the removal of subsidies on fuel along with unemployment are adding price pressure on the families.
  • A UN project in Egypt mainly targeting women and youth is helping train and educate farmers to improve the country’s food security, AllAfrica reports.
  • The reduced influence of Islamists in countries like Egypt and Tunisia doesn’t mean that these groups’ influence in the region is waning, as electoral gains in Jordan and Morocco tell a different story, says the Washington Post.
  • Students mocking or disrespecting the flag could face a year in jail and fines of up to EGP 30k after a decree by Education Minister Tarek Shawki singling out youngsters, according to The Guardian. (Except we understand it wasn’t a decree, but a circular pointing out that the law mandates the crime of disrespecting the flag is punishable by a year in the clink.)
  • Eman Abdel Atti, who was dubbed the world’s heaviest woman, died yesterday in an Abu Dhabi hospital, according to Khaleej Times.

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