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Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Report on Egypt’s alleged arms trading with North Korea tops international coverage

Topping coverage of Egypt in the international press this morning is the Foreign Ministry statement denying the Washington Post exposé that claims the country had been buying mns of USD-worth of arms from North Korea.

While we’re on North Korea, Russia appears to be getting into the TMT game over there, as Russia’s TransTeleCom appears to have been chosen as a second handler of North Korean web traffic, Dyn Research says. The firm is apparently routing 60% of North Korean internet traffic, a move which Dyn says could expand its cyber warfare capacity, Reuters reports. While, TransTeleCom has not confirmed the story, either way, we’d like to urge it to take heed of Naguib Sawiris’ involvement with Koryolink.)

Coming in at a close second for Egypt is the continued fallout from the Mashrou’ Leila concert, after the State Security Prosecutor (which typically handles issues of national security) ordered the detention of two young activists for 15 days pending an investigation into claims they belong to an illegal group and received foreign funding in exchange for promoting debauchery and [redacted] deviancy, Al Shorouk reports.

The international press is noting reports on the arrest of some 22 people over the past three days over the raising of rainbow flags in support of LQBTQ rights at the concert. “The arrests bring the total number of people who have been detained based on their perceived [redacted] orientation to 33 — 32 men and one woman,” Amnesty International said in a statement on Monday. The statement notes alleged cases of [invasive forensic exams] conducted against five people under arrest, which it says is tantamount to torture. Publications, including Deutsche Welle, are noting that the state is putting 17 men on trial on “debauchery” charges as “part of a wider crackdown” on the LGBTQ community.

Egypt fears a potential threat to the Nile from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Maggie Michael writes for the Associated Press. Egypt fears the dam “will cut into its water supply, destroying parts of its precious farmland and squeezing its population of 93 mn people, who already face water shortages.” Michael notes that Egypt’s relationship with the Nile is “different” as it provides 90% of the country’s water supply. One professor estimates that Egypt stands to lose 51% of its farmland if the dam’s fill is done in three years. “Other experts say the impact will be far smaller, even minimal. They say Egypt could suffer no damage at all if it and Ethiopia work together and exchange information, adjusting the rate of filling the reservoir to ensure that Egypt’s own massive reservoir on the Nile, Lake Nasser, stays full enough to meet its needs during the fill.” Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt had agreed to contract an independent study of the dam’s impact, but “the deadline to complete the study has passed, and it has hardly begun.” The dam is likely to be finished this year or early next.

Other international news worth noting in brief includes:

  • IT Web Africa took note of the roll out of 4G in Egypt, particularly that the government netted over USD 1.1 bn from the sale of licenses to the four mobile network operators.
  • It might be time for US hotels to install metal detectors and scanners, following the example of countries such as Egypt and Jordan, Janet Eve Josselyn suggests in a piece for HuffPost.

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