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Wednesday, 29 August 2018

On the nation’s airwaves, another night of vague murmurings bereft of meaningful content

So many words spoken, so little meaning delivered: It was another night of vague murmurings bereft of meaning on the nation’s airwaves. The worst of it is that the topics could have been interesting: Ethiopia. Sudan. Oil and gas.

So poor was last night’s performance by the show jockeys that we’re desperately looking forward to the return of Lamees Al Hadidi, who is going to be back in the anchor chair at CBC’s Hona Al Asema as of Saturday after a long break for the summer. Lamees made the announced last night via Twitter. We must admit that we’ve missed her: Like it or not, Lamees is the only one of the talking heads who knows squat about business and the economy. It’s just not the same without her.

On to the news: First, it was about insipid takes on Ethiopia. Shoukry’s visit to Addis Ababa with intelligence boss Abbas Kamel means to secure Egypt’s interests in the region, Al Ahram editor-in-chief deputy Al Ahram Deputy Editor Asmaa Al Hosseiny helpfully Al Hayah fi Masr (watch, runtime: 5:47). It also demonstrates Egypt’s support for Ethiopia as it faces delays in the construction of its Grand Dam, Political science professor Mahmoud Abol Einin told Hona Al Asema’s Dina Zahra (watch, runtime: 8:47). Yahduth fi Misr’s Sherif also covered the story (watch, runtime: 1:51).

Ghost trains to Sudan: Cairo and Khartoum are considering establishing a high-speed rail, line from Alexandria to Abu Hamad in Sudan, passing through 6 October City and Luxor, according to Railway Authority head Ashraf Raslan. He added that Transport Minister Hisham Arafat and his Sudanese counterpart, meeting in Cairo, also discussed the possibility of a 280 km railway line connecting the Aswan Dam to Wadi Halfa (watch, runtime: 4:07). Good ideas, but we figure our great-grandchildren may have the opportunity to ship freight on those lines.

Also in Cairo yesterday, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly met with Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi. Surprising absolutely no one, Zohr and Eni’s interest in the Western Desert topped the agenda, Cabinet Spokesperson Ashraf Sultan told Al Hayah fi Misr (watch, runtime: 9:22). Electricity Minister Mohamed Shaker and Oil Minister Tarek El Molla were also at the meeting.

Masaa DMC spent plenty of time talking about the nation’s banking sector, as host Osama Kamal sat down with MP Mohamed Badrawy and Banque du Caire Vice Chairman Hazem Hegazy (watch, runtime: 3:47). The two reassured the nation that good management, economic reforms and supportive policies have together sustained the industry through a difficult period (watch, runtime: 5:18). Groundbreaking, we know.

Mohamed Salah’s ongoing dispute with the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) appears to have intensified overnight. The EFA apparently lodged a complaint against Salah with FIFA on grounds of receiving “threatening” messages from his lawyer, according to sports critic Ihab El Khatib (watch, runtime: 5:51). Salah’s lawyer had threatened in a letter to call for the EFA board’s resignation if they fail to comply with the footballer’s rider when he lands in Cairo for the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier on 8 September, which requests that he have two bodyguards accompanying him at all times.

Falcon Security reportedly said it was prepared to offer its services to the national team free of charge, El Khatib told Zahra on Hona Al Asema, adding the governing body is widely expected to accept the offer. Sports critic Essam Shaltoot confirmed as much (watch, runtime: 4:12). Masaa DMC’s Osama Kamal also asked the EFA to accept Salah’s requests (watch, runtime: 6: 23).

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