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Sunday, 20 June 2021

TONIGHT: SCA finally gets a compensation offer it likes + Meet the group helping blackmail victims in Egypt. ALSO: Crypto and meme stock fails could lead to catastrophic losses

It’s your typical slow Sunday, ladies and gents, with barely anything of note coming out of the foreign and local press today. We hope you enjoy the light read.

THE BIG STORY TODAY- e-finance is eyeing fintech acquisitions: Topping coverage this afternoon is more updates from e-finance Chairman and MD Ibrahim Sarhan, who revealed to Al Mal that its upcoming expansion will hit fintech. The company is eyeing companies to acquire in the sector. We have more in this afternoon’s Speed Round.

A potential resolution on the Ever Given coming soon? The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) has received a “suitable” compensation offer from the owners of Ever Given container ship, SCA legal counsel Khaled Abou Bakr told the local press today, without revealing any details. He added that the offer is currently under review by the authority.

This comes as a potential ruling on compensation by the Ismailia Economic Court has been postponed to 4 July on the request of representatives of both sides, who want more time to reach a settlement.

** CATCH UP QUICK on the top stories from today’s EnterpriseAM:

  • Fifth consecutive hold on rates: The CBE’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) left interest rates unchanged on Thursday as it looks to preempt a possible rise in inflation on the back of spiraling global commodity prices.
  • New sectors eligible for export subsidies: Exporters in the automotive, ceramics, pharma, electronics, and chemicals industries can now enrol in the export subsidy program for the first time, under a decision approved by the Export Subsidy Fund on Friday.
  • Covid cases continued to decline over the weekend: Daily cases have now fallen 53% from their most recent peak during the Eid El Fitr holiday in mid-May, with the Health Ministry reporting 566 new covid-19 infections yesterday.

THE BIG STORY ABROAD- The Iran nuclear agreement has officially been pushed aside for the time being, with Tehran's delegation chief Abbas Araqchi telling Iranian state TV that negotiators for Iran and six world powers would return to their capitals for consultations, according to Reuters. "We are now closer than ever to an agreement but the distance that exists between us and an agreement remains and bridging it is not an easy job," he said. His statements come days after conservative hardliner Ebrahim Raissi won Iran’s presidential election and is expected to take a harsher stance on the West. Negotiations had been ongoing in Vienna since April as the US and Iran decide on the necessary steps to restore the 2015 nuclear pact.

🗓 CIRCLE YOUR CALENDAR-

The Clean Energy Business Council (CEBC) MENA are holding a webinar titled Energy Efficiency in the MENA region: Status and Outlook on 6 July at 3:30pm. The session will focus on energy efficiency developments and provide recommendations for businesses and policymakers. Later on next month, CEBC will also host the webinar Women Entrepreneurs in Clean Energy on 21 July at 3pm in cooperation with the initiative, Women in Clean Energy MENA and WiRE.

The British Egyptian Business Association (BEBA) is organizing a virtual education week from 5-6 July with three seminars planned. The first, taking place at 10am on 5 July, will discuss skills-based learning while the future of investment in education will be the topic on the table at 12:30pm the same day. On 6 July, a talk on the digitalization of education in Egypt will be held at 12pm.

The CIB PSA World Tour Finals 2020-2021 are taking place from 22-27 June at The Park in Mall of Arabia. Tickets are currently on sale for the final two days on TicketsMarche.

🚙 FOR YOUR COMMUTE-

A battle is brewing between activist investors and Big Tech over making ESG disclosures required in regulatory filings, the Financial Times reports, citing ESG positions Microsoft and Alphabet recently shared with the SEC. The two tech giants, along with others including Facebook and Intel, have sent letters to the regulator (here and here) that appear to be angling toward keeping climate reporting separate from annual and quarterly regulatory filings. That’s despite calls from asset managers Pimco and Invesco to include ESG statements in annual and 10-K reports and despite the two tech giants (and so-called sustainability leaders) having benefited from the recent surge in ESG investing.

The Big Short’s Michael Burry is warning that huge losses could beset retail investors should cryptocurrencies and meme stocks fail, saying that the consequences could be catastrophic, according to Bloomberg. In tweets that appear to have since been deleted, Burry warned that “all hype/speculation is doing is drawing in retail before the mother of all crashes … When crypto falls from trns, or meme stocks fall from tens of bns, #MainStreet losses will approach the size of countries.” Burry — who was played by Christian Bale in the movie The Big Short which depicted his successful calls against mortgages just ahead of the 2008 financial crisis — helped lay the foundation for the gamestop frenzy earlier this year with his bullish statements on the video game retailer.

Social activism done right: An Egyptian online group that helps victims of online [redacted] extortion, Qawem, is rightfully getting its moment in the sun, with a feature in Deutsche Welle. The organization’s volunteers contact the extorters and negotiate to get them to delete the blackmail material. Social activist Mohammed Elyamani created the group last year after a victim comitted suicide as a result of extortion. While Elyamani often urges women to go to the police, he says many shy away from the suggestion over fears of victim blaming or revealing their identity.

This is actually becoming a big problem here: Today, the group — which has 250k followers and 40 volunteers — says it receives a staggering 500 requests for help per day.

📺 ON THE TUBE TONIGHT-

The Elton John biopic, Rocketman, is currently on Netflix: The film starts off with Elton John’s childhood, when he was still Reginald Kenneth Dwight, and a young piano prodigy. His life was a tumultuous series of twists and turns, with sheer talent always battling against addictions and vices for center stage. Taron Egerton, plays the musician with a ton of gusto and takes every chance to show vulnerability. When asked, John refused to make the film “more PG13” opting instead to show most of the gory and scandalous details of his life. The Guardian talked to Elton John upon the release of Rocketman, discussing the production, content, and various anecdotes not depicted in the film.

Pyramids FC are playing against Morocco's Raja Casablanca tonight at 9pm in the CAF Confederation Cup semi-finals.

Two matches for you folks in the Euro 2020 cup today: Italy is playing against Wales at 6pm in Group A. The match could see Wales surpass Italy in the group’s standings if the team snags a victory. Meanwhile, also at 6pm and in Group A, Switzerland is going up against Turkey with both teams almost sure to round out spots three and four in the group, barring a strong comeback in the next few games.

This weekend’s fixtures: It was a quite unexpected weekend of matches, with several underdog teams managing to hold their own. On Thursday, Ukraine snagged a 2-1 victory against North Macedonia, while Belgium beat Denmark 2-1 and the Netherlands beat Austria 2-0. Sweden was Friday’s sole victor, beating Slovakia 1-0, while Croatia and Czech Republic tied 1-1 and England and Scotland tied 0-0. Finally, Saturday saw Hungary and France tie 1-1, Germany beat Portugal 4-2, and Spain and Poland tie 1-1.

🥑 EAT THIS TONIGHT-

Your one-stop shop for plant-based food: F&B marketplace Quanta Egypt has an entire section dedicated to vegan food products that look good enough to tempt even the most hardcore carnivore. The platform sells everything from Alpro milk alternatives to Beyond Meat’s burgers, sausages, and minced meat, and Heura’s vegan chicken. Also catching our eye, the brand Good Earth’s wide range of products, including cheese, meat balls, and beef strips. Quanta also sells a variety of cool ingredients for drinks such as purees, syrups, and sauces to elevate any coffee or beverage you’re making at home.

🎤 OUT AND ABOUT-

Yehya Khalil is performing alongside a jazz fusion band at the Cairo Opera House tonight at 8pm.

It’s another stand-up comedy night at The Room in New Cairo, featuring Comedy Bunker, at 8:30pm.

The Italian Cultural Institute in Zamalek is celebrating the International Day of Yoga tomorrow at 6pm with a Hatha yoga session that is open to everyone.

💡 UNDER THE LAMPLIGHT-

Rewire your brain for happiness: If you’re always running towards a goal that will eventually make you happy, you might have it the wrong way around. In his book, The Happiness Advantage Shawn Achor argues that “Happiness fuels success, not the other way around.” Being happy, and therefore less stressed and more focused, boosts productivity, creativity, and problem solving and brings you closer to reaping the advantages of said happiness in life and in work. Achor poses seven psychological principles that will help your brain build resilience against the bad times, detect potential successes, and spread the happiness around. If you’re interested in the topic, but don’t want to read the book, you can check out Achor’s Ted Talk (watch, runtime: 12:04).

☀️ TOMORROW’S WEATHER- The mercury will rise to 38°C during the day before falling to 23°C at night, according to our favorite weather app.

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