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Positive steps for better GCC-EU relations

The 17th session of the Joint Council between the European Community and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states was held on May 8, 2007, in Riyadh. Since the previous joint council meeting in Brussels in May 2006, expectations had been high that the Riyadh meeting would produce consensus on the long-awaited Free Trade Agreement (FTA), …

Daily News Egypt

Desparately seeking security

In Israel, the concept of security is a powerful one. It is used to justify all military activity, including the occupation of Palestinian territories and the vast budgets applied to it. Indeed, a mystique has developed around security – national security is a phrase invoked not just to increase military budgets, but also to silence …

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Reluctant optimism to Egypt's membership of United Nations Human Rights Council

Egyptian human rights organizations and dissidents are expressing a wary optimism towards Egypt joining the United Nations Human Rights Council. Egypt became one of the new African members, along with Angola, Madasgascar, and South Africa, of the council last Wednesday, easily winning a strong victory in the United Nations General Assembly, where it collected 168 …

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Al Ahly to host Handball Club World Championship

CAIRO: The International Handball Federation has officially awarded Al Ahly club the privilege of hosting the prestigious third edition of the Super Globe Competition where five continental champions will compete from June 4 to 10 to choose the globe s best handball club. It’s a great honor to organize such a big event in the …

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Egypt may cut cement prices

Egypt may reduce its tariffs on steel and cement exports later in the year due to an anticipated softening in prices, according to Trade Minister Rachid Mohammed Rachid and cited by Reuters. The government introduced the taxes in February because of rising domestic prices and to stop foreign buyers taking advantage of Egyptian subsidies. There …

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Sawiris plans Greece offer, rules out South Africa

Reuters DEAD SEA, Jordan: Egyptian billionaire and Orascom Telecom chairman Naguib Sawiris said he will offer within the next two weeks to buy the rest of Greece s second-largest telecom company, Tellas. Sawiris Weather Investments Spa is in talks with Greek utility Public Power Corp. (PPC) about buying its stake in Tellas, Sawiris told Reuters …

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Egypt arrests 14 Muslim Brotherhood members

Associated Press CAIRO: Police arrested 14 members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood as part of Egypt s ongoing campaign against the country s strongest opposition group, the interior ministry and the group said Sunday. The interior ministry said in its statement that the group was arrested Saturday for holding a secret organizational meeting in Sharqiyya …

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Pervez Musharraf's minions of terror

After his ill-advised dismissal of the chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court ignited a firestorm of violent protests, President General Pervez Musharraf may be banking on Islamic fanatics to create chaos in the nation’s capital, Islamabad. Many suspect that an engineered bloodbath that leads to army intervention, and the declaration of a national emergency, could …

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Sudan-Chad deal another Saudi diplomatic win

In a move that affirms its belief that regional problems need regional solutions, Saudi Arabia scored yet another diplomatic victory by brokering a deal between Sudan and Chad to quell spillover fighting from the Darfur crisis. While the impact will become clearer in the months ahead, there is no denying that the recent accord – …

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Al-Jazeera producer Howayda Taha appeals sentence

CAIRO: The defense team of Al-Jazeera producer Howayda Taha, who was recently sentenced to six months in prison and fined LE 20,000 for “tarnishing Egypt’s image has appealed the verdict. The next hearing is scheduled for June 16. Taha, who is currently in Qatar, does not plan on returning to Cairo because she is afraid …

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SCI TECH SCENE: And now, a mid-sized BlackBerry

Associated Press This is the story of Goldie the mobile malcontent and the three BlackBerries. The first BlackBerry, the 8800, though slender by most standards, was too big. The next BlackBerry, the Pearl, with its odd little keyboard, was too small. For these hard-to-please types, the company behind BlackBerry is hoping the Curve will be …

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Coelho's latest tells spiritual tale

Associated Press Like his other novels, Paulo Coelho s latest, The Witch of Portobello, is an incredibly beautiful read. And, like many of his other novels, it features an unusual and complicated main character. In this case, she s a woman born in Transylvania to a Gypsy mother who s later adopted by a wealthy …

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The future of Kirkuk: A constitutional issue

Many people, with or without a connection to Iraq, to Kurdistan or to Kirkuk, seem to have a ready-made opinion regarding the way to solve the Kirkuk issue. Some say let past injustice be past injustice and live with the new reality. Some compare the situation in Kirkuk with states absorbing immigrants, arguing that to …

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Arab media do not express concerns over Darfur

I recently travelled to Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, to participate in the second Arab Broadcast Forum (ABF). The forum is a remarkable gathering of broadcast journalists from across the Arab world and reporters and representatives from media outlets covering the Middle East. (The network that broadcasts my weekly programme Viewpoint …

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Authors like King, Lethem trying comics

Associated Press Author Jonathan Lethem was a big fan of the comic Omega the Unknown when he was a boy growing up in Brooklyn, and he was pretty depressed when the superhero vanished from corner store shelves. Never fear. He ll see Omega in print again soon, because Marvel Entertainment is reviving the comic after …

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At home chic magnifique

Maroquinerie and passementerie design and execution require talent and patience, especially in Egypt these days, to create a work of art that will not fall apart, is a feat in itself. If you are in search of “chic magnifique, the French designer, Cecile Lacorre has managed, after many months of trial and error with the …

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Egypt, Angola Qatar secure seats on UN Human Rights Council

Associated Press UNITED NATIONS: Egypt, Angola and Qatar easily won seats on the council despite opposition from human rights groups that said they did not deserve a spot on the council because of their bad human rights records. Belarus was defeated for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday after a campaign …

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Meditation: the art of relaxation

Seven years ago, I was one of the non-converted. At the end of the one and a half hour Ashtanga yoga session, the class was ordered to sit cross-legged on the floor, in the famous “lotus position. Then the chanting began: “Ooooom, oooooom. Our teacher led the way in his loud, low-pitched voice. Bemused, I …

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HEALTH MATTERS: Can an Aspirin a day keep the doctor away?

Years ago, while I was studying pharmacology, aspirin was viewed as a useful drug for relief from pain, fever and inflammation, and for preventing heart attacks and strokes. However, its potentially serious side effects of causing stomach bleeding or ulcers and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) rendered aspirin a relatively toxic drug. At that time, …

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The commodity problematique

If you will not pay us reasonable prices for our exports, we will export ourselves It s the kind of “it s-not-fair situation that makes poorer nations wonder where the pay-off is with free trade: Demand for coffee, tea, cocoa, cotton, and sugar – which is what many such countries have to offer the world …

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A war of nerves rages between Erdogan and Turkey's military

Arab journalists, more than any other journalists around the world, need security. They need physical security and economic security as well as the security of strong laws and regulations. Being an independent journalist in the Arab world is not a very safe profession. If you are working in the two most media-productive areas in the …

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Expect more of Blair's style from Brown

A family in Kosovo has just named their new born son Tonibler, after – I kid you not – the United Kingdom s outgoing Prime Minister Tony Blair, whom the family credit for saving them from Serbian tyranny and violence. Somehow I doubt that Blair, who formerly, not to mention finally, announced he will leave …

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Arab journalists are under more than one kind of fire

With the political standoff surrounding the selection of a new president intensifying, Turkey is entering a critical period that could have a profound effect on both the country’s internal evolution as a secular democracy and its relations with the West. The presidential candidacy of the moderate Islamist Abdullah Gul, currently the foreign minister, has been …

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America's suicidal statecraft in the Middle East

Since its victory in the Cold War, America’s global hegemony has rested on three pillars: economic power, military might, and a vast capacity to export its popular culture. The recent emergence of additional powers – the European Union, China, India, and a Russia driven to recover its lost status – has eroded America’s capacity to …

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New dates, old commitments

The American benchmarks plan that was recently submitted to both Israelis and Palestinians is a very significant step. It marks an important and useful change of gear for American involvement in the conflict in an apparent effort to arrest the deteriorating economic and political Palestinian situation. It doesn t, however, include anything new at all. …

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Locals help transform their shanty town

CAIRO: Manshiet Nasser, a shanty town perched precariously on sandstone cliffs in the desert outskirts of Cairo, the Middle East s largest city, is in the midst of witnessing a transformation of its fortunes. Some 800,000 people are crammed into this informal settlement . The problems of density – 110,000 people per square kilometer – …

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Despite Egyptian mediation, Gaza plunges into violence

Reuters GAZA: The Palestinian interior minister resigned on Monday, rocking a two-month-old unity government, after the biggest surge in factional fighting in months revived fears of civil war. Despite an Egyptian-brokered truce, two Palestinian gunmen and a vegetable seller caught in crossfire were killed in Gaza in clashes between the Hamas and Fatah groups. Eight …

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Despite early hope: like father, like son

The first time I met Anwar Al-Bunni, in June 2005, one of Syria’s numerous state-owned newspapers had just called him a traitor. Over tea that he made himself and countless cigarettes that he smoked as furiously as he defended human rights, Bunni explained that his presence across the desk from me in the office from …

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Poland's revolution is consuming its democratic child

Recently, the European Parliament condemned the Polish government’s attempt to strip Bronislaw Geremek of his parliamentary mandate. A leader of Solidarity, a former political prisoner, and the foreign minister responsible for Poland’s accession to Nato, Geremek refused to sign yet another declaration that he had not been a communist secret police agent. The European Union …

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A way forward to help the Palestinians

More than a year has passed since the European Union suspended its direct budget support to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in response to the formation of the Hamas-led government. Although the EU’s intention was to pressure Hamas into accepting the Quartet’s conditions, the suspension of aid did not achieve this effect. Europe is now confronted …

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