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Sunday, 24 March 2019

Egypt in the news on 24 March 2019: Ramy Shehata, Egypt travel

A performance ban on singer Sherine Abdel Wahab leads the conversation about Egypt in the international press this morning. The Musicians Syndicate banned the singer after she made a comment during a concert in Bahrain that lawyer Samir Sabry, known for going after high-profile figures, deemed critical of freedom of speech in Egypt. Sabry had previously sued the pop singer in January after she had dodged a six-month prison sentence for joking about falling ill from drinking Nile water. The Associated Press, the Times of London and The Telegraph, among others, have all picked up the story.

An Egyptian hero in Italy: Also getting international attention is the story of the Italy-born Egyptian teenager Ramy Shehata, who is being hailed as a national hero after saving 51 schoolmates from a bus hijacking last week. CNN reports that Shehata hid his phone and called his father to alert the police while pretending to pray in Arabic. Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s office later said it will speed up the process of granting Shehata Italian citizenship — and of revoking it from the driver, identified as a 47-year-old Senegalese Italian. The AP and the BBC were among those taking note.

The Supreme Council for Media Regulation rebuked the BBC in a statement on Friday, accusing the British broadcaster of having made a “huge mistake” in hosting an Egyptian designated as a terrorist to discuss local issues, Egypt Today reports.

Other headlines worth noting in brief:

  • Sudan + Red Sea exploration blocks: Sudan’s summoning of Egypt’s ambassador over oil and gas exploration in the Halayeb region earned some digital ink from Reuters, AFP, and the AP.
  • UK tourism: Egypt is no less safe than any other travel destination, simply because “troubled times” know no borders, the Telegraph’s Chris Leadbeater writes.
  • The Jerusalem Post is out with a series of pieces on Egyptian-Israeli relations since the Camp David Accords were signed nearly four decades ago. One reflects, two analyzes, three comments, four uses a horrible pun for a title, while five tells a contemporary story and six a much earlier one. The spotlight comes as Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu is catching flack over the 2015 sale of German submarines to Egypt, Haaretz reports.
  • Some of Egypt’s state-owned newspapers might be merged to offset their losses, which Al-Monitor concludes means they are on the brink of extinction.
  • Linwood Mosque imam is Egyptian: Reuters speaks with the Egyptian imam of Linwood Mosque in New Zealand’s Christchurch a week after the mass shooting.
  • Egyptian-American detained at Rabaa wants out: Egyptian-American Moustafa Kassem sent another letter to US President Donald Trump pleading for release from an Egyptian prison, Newsday reports.

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