Hamas leaders in Cairo for talks on prisoner swap deal

Gaza/Cairo - Senior officials from Hamas headed for Cairo Monday for talks on a prisoner swap deal involving an Israeli soldier held in the Gaza strip for over three years.

Media reports have indicated that deal is near which would see the soldier, Gilad Shalit, returned to Israel in exchange for hundreds of Palestinians being freed from Israeli jails.

Ayman Taha, a Gaza-based Hamas spokesman, told reporters that the deal could be finalized on the eve of the Muslim holiday Eid el-Adha, due to begin Friday.

Shalit was snatched during a cross-border raid that three Gaza Strip militant groups launched on June 25, 2006. Negotiations over his release have so far not been fruitful. (dpa)

UAE police give haircuts to "indecent" youths

UAE police give haircuts to "indecent" youthsCairo  - Police in the United Arab Emirates cracked down on youngsters at shopping malls who violated so-called "decency laws," media reported Saturday.

Scores of youngsters were detained by police in the Ras Al Khaimah emirate for sporting "unusual hair cuts" and clothing that showed parts of their bodies immodestly, the Gulf News reported.

Some of the teenagers were given haircuts by the police, in an effort to enforce the conservative code of the Gulf country.

Orascom chief: North and South Korea will reunite

Orascom chief: North and South Korea will reuniteCairo - The head of the Orascom groups, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, said Tuesday that his investments in North Korea were forward-looking as he expects the peninsula to be united.

Orascom Telecom Holdings runs a mobile network in the isolated north, and Sawiris estimated it had nearly 80,000 subscribers in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, which he described as a "miracle."

"We sometimes expect miracles," said Sawiris, who made the list of Forbes 50 wealthiest people in the world last year.

Mubarak: Egypt "fully supports" Palestinian president Abbas

Mubarak: Egypt "fully supports" Palestinian president AbbasCairo - Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak on Tuesday urged his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas not to step down, saying Egypt "fully supports" the Palestinian president, Mubarak's spokesman said.

"President Mubarak called on the Palestinian leader to continue his national endeavours, assuring Abbas that the Palestinian arena is still in dire need of his role and efforts for his people and their just cause," Mubarak's spokesman, Suleiman Awad, said after Mubarak and Abbas met in Cairo.

Amnesty: Egypt's housing plans failing Cairo's poor

Amnesty: Egypt's housing plans failing Cairo's poor Cairo  - An international human rights group on Tuesday concluded that government neglect has condemned Cairo's poor to living conditions that place their lives in peril.

In a report released Tuesday, the London-based group Amnesty International said the government was failing to prevent rock-slides in areas around informal settlements that house millions of Cairo's poor.

Most recently, in September 2008, at least 107 people were killed and 58 were injured when a rock-slide hit the overcrowded, eastern Cairo slum of Manshiyet Nasser.

Cairo Festival’s award to Adoor

33rd Cairo International Film FestivalAt the Cairo International Film Festival, renowned Malayalam filmmaker, Adoor Gopalakrishnan was given the lifetime achievement award for working in the industry for so many years.

Known most for his national award winning movies, Swayamwaram, Naalu Pengal, etc, Adoor was very happy about the recognition that he and his country got at the festival and felt that honesty and hard work is never wasted.

-Sampurn Media

Egypt launches first Arabic Internet domain

Egypt launches first Arabic Internet domainCairo  - Egypt is to create the world's first Arabic language internet domain, with registration opening Monday, the country's telecommunications ministry said Monday.

Website owners will now have the option of using ".msr" in the Arabic script, which means ".Egypt," instead of the more common ".com" or in the local instance ".com. eg."

Last month, Icann, the organization that regulates the internet, decided to allow non-Latin domain names, opening the way for Chinese, Korean and other scripts to feature at the end of addresses.

In tense game, Egypt beat Algeria forcing playoff

In tense game, Egypt beat Algeria forcing playoff Cairo  - Egypt defeated Algeria 2-0 at their World Cup qualifier match Saturday evening in Cairo, setting up a playoff match later this month between the two teams, who have seen tensions between them escalate in recent days.

The win sent jubilant Egyptians to the streets, with throngs of people celebrating into the night in various parts of the country.

Telecom Egypt third quarter profits down 13 per cent

Telecom Egypt third quarter profits down 13 per centCairo  - Telecom Egypt, the country's fixed-line monopoly, reported Thursday a 13 per cent decline in third quarter profits, compared to the same period in 2008.

Profit in the third quarter fell from 950 million Egyptian pounds (174.1 million dollars) last year to 826 million this year. In the nine months through to the end of September, the company increased profits by 17.7 per cent compared to 2008, reaching 2.576 billion pounds.

Rights group: US pullout could worsen tensions in north Iraq

Rights group: US pullout could worsen tensions in north IraqCairo  - Tensions between Kurds and Arabs in northern Iraq are having a devastating impact on small minority groups, and could turn into a full-scale conflict as the US withdrawal accelerates, a rights group said Tuesday.

A full-blown conflict of this nature could lead to a further destabilization of the country, the New York-based pressure group Human Rights Watch said in a 51-page report.

Forum to map out new commitments in Sino-African relationship

Wen JiabaoCairo - China's Premier Wen Jiabao on Sunday announced renewed commitments to African nations at a high-level meeting with Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak and other African leaders in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.

"I came to Sharm el-Sheikh to boost friendship between our country and the African continent," Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told participants of the fourth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China- Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

The FOCAC meeting, opened by the Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak, will follow up on the recommendations of the Beijing Summit and see if it has been implemented.

An Egyptian film festival, without Egyptian films

An Egyptian film festival, without Egyptian filmsCairo  - Flash bulbs will pop as Salma Hayek, Lucy Liu, Samuel L Jackson and a bevy of Bollywood stars strut down a red carpet at the Cairo International Film Festival next week.

Egypt's top actors and directors will be there too, but their films, by and large, will not. For many in this country that prides itself on being the traditional hub of Arab cinema and television, the dearth of Egyptian films in the 33rd annual festival's most prestigious competitions is a mark of shame.

At least 15 killed, 24 injured in Egypt train crash

Cairo, Oct 25 At least 15 people were killed and 24 others injured Saturday when two trains collided in southern Egypt, police told DPA.

Police said rescue workers were still working to pull people from the site of the crash, near al-Ayat, and that the number of those confirmed dead and wounded in the accident was likely to rise.

The Ministry of Health had dispatched 80 ambulances to transport the injured to nearby hospitals, Egyptian cabinet spokesman Magdy Radi told DPA.

The trains were both travelling south, police said. One was travelling from Giza, just across the Nile from Cairo, to the oasis of al-Fayum, roughly 80 km southwest of the capital. The second was travelling from Cairo to the southern city of Assiut.

Muslim Brotherhood: US, Israel interfered in 2005 Egypt polls

Mohammed-Mahdi-AkefCairo - The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, accused the United States and Israel of colluding with the Egyptian government in fixing the 2005 elections, in remarks published Saturday.

Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the Supreme Guide of the group, told the independent daily al-Masry al-Youm that the Brotherhood had struck a deal with "a senior official," whom he did not name, to release senior members of the group so they could run in the 2005 parliamentary elections.

Egypt's opposition leader sues President Mubarak's son

Hosny-MubarakCairo - Egyptian opposition figure Ayman Nour, who ran against President Hosny Mubarak in the 2005 presidential elections, said Saturday he plans to take Mubarak's son, Gamal, to court.

Nour told the German Press Agency dpa that that he intended to sue Gamal Mubarak, the head of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP)'s Policies Committee, for acting as "the unofficial ruler of the country."

Goldstone challenges Obama to point out flaws in the report

Richard GoldstoneCairo - South African judge Richard Goldstone, who wrote a a fact-finding report on the December-January war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, has challenged the United States to justify its objections on the report.

Goldstone told Al-Jazeera English TV channel Thursday that he is still waiting for the Obama administration to clarify its claim that the report has a number of flaws.

"I've yet to hear what the flaws of the report are. I'd be happy to respond if I know what they are," he told the Doha-based channel.

Abbas blames Hamas for delaying Palestinian reconciliation

Abbas blames Hamas for delaying Palestinian reconciliation Cairo  - Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that Hamas had "put obstacles in the path of the reconciliation" between rival Palestinian factions.

Abbas was speaking to reporters after meeting with Egyptian President Hosny Mubarak in Cairo. Abbas' Fatah faction, which controls Palestinian-administered territories of the West Bank, last Wednesday unilaterally signed an Egyptian-brokered compromise agreement to end the two-year-old split with Hamas.

Stressed Cairenes take separate paths to make marriage last

Stressed Cairenes take separate paths to make marriage lastCairo  - Youssef Kamal's friends like to tease him by telling him he is not really married, even though he has been with his wife for 13 years and has had two children by her.

"They say that unless we live under the same roof and yell at each other every day, we're not really married in their eyes," he told the German Press Agency dpa.

But Kamal says that since he and his wife began living separately eight years ago, they have had "a perfect, healthy marriage."

Archeologist discovers ancient holy lake in northern Egypt

Archeologist discovers ancient holy lake in northern Egypt Cairo - Egyptian and French archeologists discovered a sacred lake 12 metres underground in the ancient city of Tanis, 120 kilometres northeast of Cairo, Egypt's Minister of Culture announced Thursday.

The lake, which is 15 metres long and 12 metres wide, is part of a temple which was built in ancient Egypt to honour the goddess Mut, according to a statement by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

Egypt's anti-succession campaign launched amid low security

Egypt's anti-succession campaign launched amid low securityCairo  - Pedestrians in downtown Cairo kept looking up to see what was going on in the Ghad party's headquarters late Wednesday as patriotic songs blared from loud speakers in the apartment.

All they could see was a crowded balcony on the second floor and a huge banner saying "The Egyptian campaign against presidential succession."

Inside the apartment, however, a huge crowd was waiting to witness many opposition movements unifying to launch the campaign.

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