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Buttered Up: A blueberry cake and flashes of color

By Sarah Khanna I grew up wearing shades of watermelon, tangerine and aqua; colors I was taught by my mother. In our home, there was never use of the unadorned word blue, only baby blue, navy blue, royal blue and petrol. This is how she saw the world and what drove us, my sister and …

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Moments in spray paint: Minutes from the Frankfurt Graffiti workshop

By Caram Kapp Caram Kapp is one of the artists that participated in the “Festival of Egyptian Culture” held at the Tutankhamun exhibit in Frankfurt. The below are moments in time picked out of the workshop “Egyptian Street Art and Arabic Graffiti” on April 7-14, 2012. Amidst the skyscrapers of Frankfurt, hidden away near the …

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Writers send messages in translation unsure if they hit home

By Chitra Kalyani Alongside the ancient pharaoh King Tutankhamun, a display of more recent Egypt was presented in Frankfurt through the “Egyptian Festival of Culture.” As part of the literary program at the fest, excerpts from four emerging Egyptian authors’ works were translated and read in dramatized form by German actors. “It is important for …

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Tweeting democracy across the Arab world

By Guy Golan Over the past few years, the political landscape of the Middle East has wholly transformed by the diffusion of social media across the region. Accounting for 50-65 percent of the region’s population, young Muslims quickly embraced these new platforms of mass communication and soon thereafter, they became leaders of revolutions. Social media …

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Egypt Q1 tourist arrivals up 32 pct

By AFP CAIRO: The number of tourists visiting Egypt rose 32 percent in the first quarter of 2012, compared to the same period of 2011 when the sector plunged because of Egypt’s revolution, officials said on Thursday. A total of 2.5 million tourists arrived in Egypt between January and March, compared with 1.89 million a …

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Turkey calls for tougher action against PKK

By AFP ANKARA: Turkey on Friday urged the leader of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region for tougher action against a drawn-out insurgency waged by Kurdish militants, a Turkish diplomat told AFP. “The issue of tougher action against the (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) PKK was discussed … during the meeting” between Massud Barzani and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet …

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Yemeni says 18 militants killed in Al-Qaeda-held area

By Mohammed Mukhashaf and Firouz Sedarat / Reuters ADEN: Yemeni troops have made advances in an offensive against Al-Qaeda-linked militants near the southern city of Zinjibar, killing 18 insurgents, the Defense Ministry said on Friday. It said on its website that the militants were pushed back on Thursday from several positions near Zinjibar, capital of …

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Iran’s last chance?

By Javier Solana MADRID: The latest round of negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program between Iran and the so-called “5+1” group (the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members — the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, France, and China — plus Germany) has now begun. Following more than a year of deadlock, after negotiations in …

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Unrest spreads in Sudan amid deadly standoff with South

By Ian Timberlake / AFP KHARTOUM: Rebels in the eastern border state of Blue Nile claimed dozens of government dead on Friday as unrest spread within Sudan, 10 days after a deadly standoff with the South erupted over a major oilfield. In Sudan’s western Darfur region, peacekeepers expressed concern that rebels were exploiting the Sudan-South …

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UN aims to triple Syria observer team next week

By Frank Jordans / AP GENEVA: The United Nations hopes to have 30 cease-fire monitors in Syria next week and plans are already being made for the deployment of up to 300, a spokesman for international envoy Kofi Annan said Friday, as France called on the international community to prepare for the possible failure of …

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Military refers ban on presidency candidates to court

By Tamim Elyan and Ali Abdelatti /Reuters CAIRO: Egypt’s military rulers have asked the constitutional court to rule on whether top officials from Hosni Mubarak’s era can run for the presidency, a judicial source said on Thursday, after the Islamist-dominated parliament passed a law banning them. Last week’s new law must be passed by the …

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Islamist group ‘trusts’ Abu Ismail, criticize his escalation

By Abdel Rahman Youssef ALEXANDRIA: The association of Alexandria religious scholars and preachers said it “fully trusts” disqualified candidate Hazem Abu Ismail, but criticized his calls for escalation in response to being eliminated from the presidential race. Ahmed El-Mahlawy, head of the association and the sheikh of El-Qaed Ibrahim Mosque, said Abu Ismail is a …

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Azhar says no punitive action against Mufti despite refusal of normalization

By Heba Hesham CAIRO: Members of the Islamic Research Center (IRC) decided Thursday not to take any punitive measures against the Grand Mufti after listening to his explanation regarding a recent visit to Jerusalem. However, the IRC said they remain committed to their rejection of any visit to Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque under the Israeli …

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Arab League calls emergency meeting on 2 Sudans

By Michael Onyiego / AP JUBA: The Arab League said Thursday it would hold an emergency meeting over the increasing violence between Sudan and South Sudan. The south reported new skirmishes even as Sudan’s president increased his threats of war toward the south. Sudan President Omar al-Bashir said the recent violence has “revived the spirit …

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IMF needs solid Cairo support for loan: Lagarde

By AFP WASHINGTON: IMF chief Christine Lagarde said Thursday that the global lender needs solid support from Cairo’s authorities for a truly viable program if it is to lend Egypt money. “I want to help Egypt, no question about it,” Lagarde told journalists in Washington after being asked what was holding up a $3.2 billion …

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Samira Ibrahim makes Time 100 list

By AFP NEW YORK: Egyptian activist Samira Ibrahim was among this year’s 100 most influential people in the world, according to Time magazine. Time published its annual list Wednesday, showcasing a typically eclectic mix of personalities, ranging from the rich and powerful, like financier Warren Buffett or US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernake, to popular …

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Parliament discusses wages draft law

By Mennatallah Fouad Youssef CAIRO: Parliament members continued discussions of the proposed law concerning implementing a minimum and maximum wage amid continuous labor sit-ins and protests in different sectors. The proposed law presented by the planning and general budget committee would cap the maximum wage at 35 times that of the minimum wage, and thus …

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Egypt expects Saudi financial support by end of month

By Reuters CAIRO: Saudi Arabia will deposit $1 billion at the Egyptian central bank and buy T-bonds valued at $750 million by the end of the month as part of a $2.7 billion support package agreed with Riyadh this week, an Egyptian government official said on Thursday. In addition, Saudi Arabia will provide $250 million …

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New Brotherhood candidate for Egypt vote may struggle

By Tom Pfeiffer / Reuters CAIRO: The man thrust unexpectedly into the limelight as the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate to lead Egypt is a mild-mannered figure whose low public profile may leave him struggling against more forceful rivals vying for the votes of Islamists and others. Mohamed Morsi, the head of the Brotherhood’s political party, was …

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Spring Festival returns with a promising future

By Maha ElNabawi Now in its fifth edition, the Spring Festival organized by Al Mawred Al Thakafy (Culture Resource) returns to Egypt and the region this Friday with socio-political vengeance. Through a series of workshops, public discussions, storytelling, music, theater and dance, the festival seeks to address the region’s post-revolution questions of “What happened?” and …

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Arthouse meets glamour in Cannes festival line-up with Egypt competitor

By Emma Charlton / AFP David Cronenberg, Ken Loach and Michael Haneke will headline the race for Cannes gold at the Riviera festival next month, in a line-up studded with stars from Nicole Kidman to Brad Pitt, unveiled Thursday. With a month to go until the May 16-27 event, organizers named the 54 films awarded …

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Qatar builds yield curve with T-bill issues

By Mala Pancholia and Rachna Uppal /Reuters DUBAI: Qatar’s decision to expand its issues of Treasury bills is succeeding in draining excess liquidity from the banking system, but it also appears to have another, long-term policy purpose: building a complete Qatari riyal yield curve. That could have several benefits for the emirate, helping it fund …

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Egypt index edges higher, Gulf markets down

By Reuters CAIRO: Egypt’s main index closed virtually unchanged, trading in thin volumes as traders waited for details of a regulatory decision on France Telecom’s bid to buy out most of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology’s (OTMT) stake in Mobinil. The index edged 0.8 percent higher to 4,708 points. The bourse suspended trading in Mobinil …

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Muslim Brotherhood blasts mufti’s Jerusalem visit

By AP CAIRO: The Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday denounced a rare visit to Jerusalem by the nation’s top Islamic theologian that broke with decades of opposition to traveling to areas under Israeli control. Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa said his two-hour visit on Wednesday was a symbolic show of solidarity with the Palestinians’ claim to Israeli-held …

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