What we’re tracking tonight on 21 March 2021
Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there. Y’all are amazing, and we hope all your loved ones — spawn and spouse alike — remembered to do something special for you today.
(North American readers: Don’t sweat it, you’re cool. It’s _Egyptian_ Mother’s Day. Moms in Canada and the United States will be celebrated on Sunday, 9 May.)
HAPPENING NOW- The Senate is discussing tougher penalties for female genital mutilation (FGM) in plenary sessions today and tomorrow. Lay persons caught performing the procedure could face up to seven years in prison if a victim is permanently disabled and a decade in the case of a death, according to Youm7. Medical professionals found guilty of FGM would face between 10-15 years in prison and will be stripped of their medical license. You’ll also face a term in prison if you’re caught promoting or encouraging the practice. The Senate will also be discussing a draft law that would set up a standards and accreditation body for the education industry as well as another bill that regulates the handling of cotton crops, according to Ahram Online.
CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from this morning’s edition of EnterpriseAM:
- Eastern Company’s monopoly on cigarettes could go up in smoke, but industry players aren’t yet lining up to bid on a new license that would require them to give a 24% stake to the state-owned outfit. (We have a followup in this afternoon’s Speed Round, below.)
- It’s all vaccines, all the time: The first made-in-Egypt vaccine against covid-19 is about to enter clinical trials, some 250k people could be jabbed this week, and Europe has cleared AstraZeneca of accusations that it causes blood clots.
- The central bank left interest rates on hold as we stare down the possibility of a commodities supercycle. The MPC noted that “leading indicators are gradually recovering to their pre-pandemic levels.”
GLOBAL BUSINESS NEWS is quiet today, as is often the case on a Sunday afternoon. CNBC and Bloomberg are both leading with news that Saudi Aramco will push ahead with a USD 75 bn dividend despite an “earnings rout” that saw its bottom line slump 44%. The Wall Street Journal is leading with news that Blackstone is going to shift its posture to invest in companies with “big growth prospects” rather than its traditional focus on rooting out undervalued companies.
🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-
The CIB PSA Black Ball Open 2021 men’s squash is running until Thursday, following the completion of the women’s league last Thursday. Some 48 men will compete for a USD 350k purse, evenly split with the women in what is the PSA World Tour’s first event of 2021. You can stream the event live on SquashTV or the official Facebook page of the PSA World Tour (excluding Europe and Japan). You can also snag tickets online to attend in person at the Black Ball Sporting Club in New Cairo.
KUDOS- Egypt’s Nour El Sherbini won the women’s squash league, after beating USA’s Amanda Sobhy on Thursday.
Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly will be visiting Amman this Tuesday to attend a meeting of the Joint Jordanian-Egyptian Higher Committee, Jordan’s news agency Petra reported.
The Real Gate real estate exhibition will kick off on Thursday and run until Saturday at the Egyptian International Exhibition Center.
The Spring Flowers Exhibit (Ma3rad El Zohoor) is currently taking place at Orman Botanical Garden in Giza. More than 200 exhibitors have set up shop to sell flowers, plants, agricultural products, and gardening equipment. The exhibit runs through 13 April.
The International Exhibition of Materials and Technologies for Finishing and Construction (Turnkey Expo) is taking place from 17-20 June at the Cairo International Conference Center. The second edition of the expo will feature 48 exhibitors and 172 brands from across the region.
AUC Press’s Mad March book sale will be ongoing for the rest of the month. The sale is open to the general public every day from 10am–6pm CLT at AUC Tahrir Bookstore & Garden.
🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-
Are you a watch nerd? Or want to dip your toes in that pool? Go check out The iconic watches that inspired Apple Watch faces. It’s a super-nerdy dive that’s still accessible to newbies who don’t know the difference between a Submariner, a Blancpain and a Speedmaster. Bonus: It has plenty of links if you want to go further down the rabbit hole.
Your face is not your own: Remember how the UAE is piloting a program that lets you land in the Emirates armed with nothing more than your face (provided you’re registered in a bunch of local databases? That’s just the tip of the iceberg — and at least it’s based on informed consent. Then there’s a company called Clearview, which has scraped the internet for images you’ve put on Facebook, LinkedIn Instagram, Twitter and elsewhere to create a massive database of human faces — including yours and your family’s. It’s already being used by US law enforcement and intelligence agencies. And it wins in a number of upcoming court battles, the stakes are nothing less than “giving companies the ability to track us as pervasively in the real world as they already do online.”
Yaphet Kotto has died. The iconic actor is known for his turn as bad guy Dr. Kananga / Mr. Big in the James Bond film Live and Let Die as well as for his turn in Alien. But if you’ve never seen him play Lt. Al Giardello on the crime drama Homicide: Life on the Street? You’re missing out on one of the best performances (alongside Andre Braugher) in one of the late 20th century’s best television shows of any genre. The New York Times’ obit is solid.
Supply chain woes are getting worse, with Samsung ringing the bell last week, Toyota and Honda saying they would halt production at plants in North America, and a fire at Japanese semiconductor giant Renesas Electronics stalling production for at least one month. Other than the global chip gap, the world is also experiencing shortages in petrochemicals and manufacturing, alongside pandemic-related problems and crippling weather in places like the US. The disruptions highlight how several forces are coming together to squeeze the world’s supply chains and ultimately cause cost increases and delays for numerous industries.
Fortune magazine agrees with us: Like it or not, vaccine passports are coming soon to an airport near you. Canada is mulling it, Europe could launch them as early as this summer, and China and Singapore are ahead of everyone else. Fortune talked with a consultant who’s advising Asian governments and businesses on “vaccine passports and other digital health solutions.”
📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-
(All times in CLT)
The ultimate Mother’s Day film for today: Otherhood on Netflix follows longtime friends Carol (Angela Bassett), Gillian (Patricia Arquette) and Helen (Felicity Huffman) who feel forgotten on Mother’s Day and embark on a roadtrip to reconnect with their adult sons. The film perfectly depicts a mother’s love and how they often have to redefine their relationships with their children, friends, spouses, and themselves as the years pass by.
The English Premier League’s gameweek 29 is coming to a close today, with West Ham set to play Arsenal at 5pm while Aston Villa will go head-to-head against the Spurs tonight at 9:30pm.
La Liga has a couple of reasonably anticipated matches on today, the most important of which are Atletico Madrid against Alaves at 7:30pm and Real Sociedad against Barcelona at 10pm. That last one is the pair’s fifth match against each other as they try to catch up to Atletico at the top.
Juventus will hit the field against Benevento soon in Serie A, with the match to start at 4pm. Meanwhile, you can also catch Fiorentina vs. Milan tonight at 7pm and Roma vs. Napoli at 9:45pm.
Chelsea and Sheffield United have just about started their match in the FA Cup and will be followed by Leicester City and Man United at 7pm.
🍴 EAT THIS TONIGHT-
Mother’s Day dinners you can take mama to today: If you hurry you can still catch Eish and Malh’s Mother’s Day Dinner with live music, starting at 5pm. Meanwhile, Piazzini in New Cairo is hosting a Mother’s Day dinner complete with classic Egyptian songs played live while you eat. Dinner service starts at 8pm today and we recommend you treat your mom to their lasagna. At the Hilton Zamalek, Mom eats tonight without charge at any of the hotel’s restaurants as long as she’s accompanied by three or more people. Kempinski Nile Hotel has a similar offer for two adult guests taking their mama out for lunch or dinner at the Blue Restaurant. Crave is also offering a photoshoot for mothers and their loved ones at City Centre Almaza, The Waterway, Arkan Plaza, Mall of Arabia, and The Park MOA today.
🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-
(All times in CLT)
The French Institute in Cairo has launched Micro-Folie, a gallery showing around 500 art pieces from major French and international institutions. Visitors to the gallery will be given tablets synchronized with the art displays to explain the details of the work — and allow visitors to interact with the work in the case of digital art. You can drop in for a visit on Fridays and Sundays from 2-4pm and Wednesdays from 4-6pm.
AUC theatre performance Msh Zanbek is hitting the stage starting tomorrow with the plays exploring the issue of [redacted] harassment from multiple perspectives: family and couple, bystander, victim and perpetrator, male and female, power and incapacity. Msh Zanbek will show at AUC New Cairo tomorrow, Tuesday, and Wednesday at 5pm as well as at AUC Tahrir next Tuesday and Wednesday (30-31 March) at 5pm. The play features over 50 AUC students and alumni working as directors, playwrights, actors, designers and managers.
😷 TOMORROW’S WEATHER- You can expect dry, hot and dust-laden weather to stay with us until Tuesday, the national weather service says. We’re looking at daytime highs of 35°C and nighttime “lows” of 25°C tomorrow with a 30% chance of rain in the capital city, our favorite weather app forecasts.