Egyptian Chronicles: 2017

Sunday, September 24, 2017

The Media Empires in Egypt : The Egyptian Falcon

From two weeks ago, Tawasul group announced that it acquired Cairo-based Hayat TV Network from Sigma Media Company in what was described as the biggest media deal in the past couple of years in Egypt.

Tawasul, a subsidiary of Falcon International group declared that it acquired the TV Network founded in February 2008 for LE 1.4 billion “ USD 79million“.

Some say that it is the media deal of the decade but the majority of that money is used to pay the channel’s debts according to its former owner and founder El-Sayed Badawy.
Badawy, the current leader of New Wafd Party aka Wafd Party revealed in the media that the debts of the TV network reached USD 57 million “More than one billion Egyptian pounds”.

It was not a big secret in the Egyptian media realm in that the TV network that once had the highest ratings in the country struggled financially in the past two years.
For more than 8 months the employees in the channel did not get their salaries regularly and they had strikes from time to time.

The Egyptian Media Production City “EMPC” took the channels off the air July on Nile Sat for 24 hours for not paying their studio rents for an over a year and filed a lawsuit against Sigma Media for issuing dud checks in the same month.

For months we have heard and read that that businessman or this media company was negotiating with El-Sayed Badawy and in the end, he reached to a good deal with Tawassol group or rather Falcon International group.

The announcement was not just a declaration that Badawy, the famous politician and pharmaceutical tycoon was leaving the media but it was an announcement that there was a new player in the Egyptian media scene.

That player is Tawassol or rather its mother company “Falcon group” and those behind it.

Who owns the Egyptian Falcon officially?

Falcon International was founded officially in 2006 by the Commercial International Bank “CIB” as a private security company providing private security, cash in transit, general services, and properties management.
It started as the security department originally in the bank before it was turned into a company with 400 employees that grew into a huge Corporation and a group with not less than 6 subsidiaries in 11 years.
Its customers are multi-national companies in Egypt from big names like Orange to Allianz to the United Nations.

Falcon security personnel
Falcon security personnel "Falcon Group official website"
Officially and on papers, Falcon is a joint venture between CIB (40% of the shares), CIB Employees Fund (19.59% of the shares), Al-Ahly for Marketing (5.46%) and undisclosed private entities (35%).
Its current CEO is Sherif Khaled Ibrahim Attaya or Sherif Khaled. In a report about the company in 2014 in Al-Ahram Daily, it is revealed that Khaled was a retired army general who served as the undersecretary of Egypt’s military intelligence.
After leaving the army, Khaled was appointed as the head of the security sector in Egypt’s Radio and Television union “ERTU”.

Usually the head of the security sector in ERTU comes from the army or the state security aka National security.
It is unclear for me at least when he left the army to work in the state TV or when he was appointed as Falcon’s CEO.

Currently, Falcon International is not only operating in the 28 governorates through 13 branches in Egypt but it also operates in Saudi Arabia and UAE with more than 12,000 employees.
Again according to Ahram Daily News’s report about the company in 2014, most of the company’s employees are former and retired officers whether in the army or the police.

Since the inauguration of Egypt’s first private security company “Care Services” in 1979 by former army general Adel Emara to secure the American embassy and that field became a mecca for former military and police personnel.
In 2012, Falcon was also assigned to secure presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik.
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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Another Nile view with questions about its future With GERD

Location 5 Al Nile, Oula, Giza, Giza Governorate, Egypt
Egypt's Nile

 And who could get bored of a scene like that?
 From Egypt’s Giza, an overview of Cairo’s towers and buildings on the other bank of River Nile.
In case you do not know, Egypt's foreign affairs minister Sameh Shoukry expressed official Egyptian concerns concerning the late and delayed technical studies of the Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam "GERD" at last somehow. 

Do you still remember Ethiopia's Biggest dam that may affect Egypt's share of Nile River negatively but Ethiopia denies so ??

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Does not this mean bigger external debt for Egypt ?

On Sunday, Reuters said that Egypt’s ministry of finance has asked the cabinet to approve two new Eurobond issuances. According to two sources that spoke with Reuters, the two Eurobond issuance will be in late 2017 and in 2018.
The first issuance will be ranged between 1-2 billion Euros before the end of 2017 while the second issuance will be ranged between from $4-8 billion in 2018.
Egypt's external debt
From Google images -_-
The Egyptian government has already sold $7 billion in 5, 10 and 30-years Eurobonds on the Luxembourg stock exchange in early 2017.
Also in November 2016, Egypt signed an agreement for a three-year $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund “IMF”
Now the simple question I have in my mind: Do not those new Eurobonds mean a bigger external debt for Egypt ??
The external debt of Egypt is scary right now.
It has reached in the fiscal year 2016/2017 which concluded in July to $73 billion !!
I did this graph to see the external debt of Egypt from 2010 to 2017 and it is not good.
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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Kodak Agfa presents : A 2016-Ramadan night in Khan El-Khalili Market

Location El-Gamaleya, Qism El-Gamaleya, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
First of all, due to my own personal reasons I have been away from the blog the past few days but I am back thank God to rant as usual ;)
It is never too late to share with you a couple of photos I took in the famous Khan El-Khalili market during the Holy month in 2016.
It has become an annual habit for me as well many Egyptians like me to spend to have a Ramadan Iftar "breakfast" there and hang around in the famous market's alleys.

In 2015, I went to Khan El-Khalili market also in Ramadan and I spent a good night there.
I entered Khan El-Khalili as usual from Al-Azhar square.
In 2016, Al-Azhar Mosque was still being restored then just like in 2015.
The restoration works have not finished yet as far as I have read lately in September 2017.

Al-Azhar Mosque and Mohamed Abu Dahab Mosque
Al-Azhar Mosque was still under restoration works 
I want to visit the Mohamed Abu Dahab Mosque. The 18th-century ancient Mosque looks amazing from inside already according to the photos I found online and I feel it is so underrated.
Abu El-Dahab and Al-Azhar Mosques
Al -Azhar Mosque and Abu Dabab Mosque 

I also want to know what building is standing beside Abu Dahab Mosque and a school.
Besides Abu Dahab Mosque
What is that old building? 

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Days at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo : Mariette Pasha's Tomb

The Egyptian Museum in Cairo does not only include the Sarcophagi and mummies of ancient Egyptians who died thousands of years of ago but interestingly it includes the tomb of its original founder: Auguste Mariette Pasha

Just outside the museum in your way to the exit, you will find a big statue standing over a fancy Art deco sarcophagus, surrounded by a semi-circular memorial topped by busts of men.
Mariette Pasha's tomb at the Egyptian museum in Cairo
Bad iPhone photo for the Memorial 

That's the tomb of French archeologist Auguste Mariette Pasha "1821-1881".

Frenchman August Mariette was the first curator of the first true Egyptian Museum in Egypt as well the founder of Egypt's first official Egyptian department of Antiquities aka the Supreme council of antiquities aka the Current ministry of antiquities.

The big irony is that Mariette Pasha was not the founder of the Egyptian Museum in its current location but he was the founder of the true Museum dedicated to Egyptian antiquities under the supervision of the Egyptian department of antiquities.
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Friday, September 8, 2017

Rebellion in Egypt’s Clubs : Beyond Classism

On Thursday, Egyptian Olympic Committee “EOC” rejected a request from The Egyptian Shooting Club to hold another General assembly meeting on Friday to have a new vote on the Club’s bylaws and rules once again.

The Upper Middle class-Giza club held its general assembly meeting early August and out of 94 thousand members, only 573 attended the meeting.

As a result of failing to meet the minimum number of members eligible to vote on the famous club’s bylaws, the club would be following the guideline bylaws issued by the EOC instead of the Club’s elected board of administration’s bylaws.

An old 1950s news report in some old
Egyptian magazine about Cairo clubs 
What followed then at upscale and Upper/Upper middle classes clubs in Cairo was hysteria and panic reaching to the level of mobilization for a vote to save the “clubs’ independence and class” that some considered unjustified. Before going on with that August hysteria, I must go back a couple of months to explain what is going on.

In May, the Egyptian Parliament approved the new Sports law prepared by Egypt’s Sports and Youth ministry “Yes, we have a ministry with such name” after two years of debates and amendments.
In June, President El-Sisi ratified the Sports law aka No.71 for the year 2017.

Aside from creating a judicial body that has the power to judge sports disputes and to regulate spectators’ attendance and violations “aka a special court, not a civilian court”, the law also regulates the relation between the government or the state and sports clubs as well sports associations.

Compiled as much as it can be with the provisions of the International Olympic Charter, the law moves power and control over sports clubs and sports associations to the elected boards of those bodies themselves as well to the Olympic Committee in Egypt. The government represented in the Youth and Sports Ministry and its minister will be monitoring only the sports clubs and sports associations.

Theoretically, this is a huge improvement because now officially and legally the State has got no control on the clubs and sports associations if their General assemblies chose the official guidelines bylaws over their clubs’ bylaws.
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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Bab El-Ghouri again and again

Location El-Gamaleya, Qism El-Gamaleya, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
Khan El-Khalili

Coming soon to Egyptian Chronicles another trip to Cairo's Khan El-Khalili market.
Here is one of my favorite places in that old Islamic Cairo market: Bab El-Ghouri. I went there before as you may know if you are a regular visitor to my blog.  
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

And here it comes : Privatization of Railways in Egypt "Updated"

The Egyptian state railways It was coming to this either ways, but the government wanted to pick up the perfect timing to go on with its plan.

On Sunday, Al-Ahram Daily Newspaper announced on its Front page in Arabic that Egypt’s transportation ministry finished drafting a law that would allow the private sector to participate in the railways' projects and services in the country for the first time since the 18th century.
In other brief and realistic words, the transportation ministry is drafting a law that would allow the privatization of railways in Egypt.

According to an informed unnamed source in the ministry of transportation, the new law would end “the monopolization” of the government in the railway sector.

The draft law will be sent to the cabinet to issue it officially accordingly then it will be sent to the State Council for legal and constitutional revision before sending it to the Parliament.

It is not a coincidence that many Pro-regime MPs suggested that the railways should be privatized following the terrifying Alexandria train collision that killed not less 41 people and injured 179 others earlier August

It seems that the government was waiting for some train disaster to push that agenda for real !!

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

Internal displacements by Conflicts in 2017 : Still not so good

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre “IDMC” released its mid-2017 report about Internal displacement worldwide whether by conflicts or natural causes.
According to the Geneva-based international NGO, conflicts as well violence and natural disasters caused more than 9.1 million people have bee displaced internally in their countries around the globe since January till the end of June 2017.

IDMC says that 4.6 million displacements were caused by conflicts and violence in 29 countries while 4.5 million displacements were caused by natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, and cyclones in the first half of the year 2017.
So far Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, and Syria still lead the world when it comes to internal displacement caused by conflicts and violence whether in 2016 or in the first mid half of 2017.

Here is a graph I made comparing the numbers between 2016 and the first half of the year 2017.
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Friday, August 25, 2017

Tales of Cairo : The Workshop window

Location Al Azhar, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
Workshop Window

A local workshop window that looks like a jail window in famous Cairo's Al-Azhar.
The famous quarter is not only known for its mosques and old houses but also for its shops and workshops for apparel, accessories and what so ever on your mind.

Via Instagram
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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

We do not need Spider walking people , We need projects like "Alef Bookstore"

On Saturday, former Egyptian armed forces spokesperson and current vice CEO of Pro-regime “Al-Assema” TV channel Mohamed Samir wrote in his daily short column in Pro-regime “Youm7 “ News website about how much he admired a very “talented “Young man” in Upper Egypt who made an “incredible achievement”.

The former Brigadier General believes that 18-years Mohamed Meghad had done amazing achievement that he should be honored in the upcoming State conference. He also believes that story of that young man and his achievement should be translated into different languages by the State Information Service.

Mohamed Meghad managed to break the Guinness World records in doing the “Spider Walk” faster than anyone in the world. He walked on his hands instead of his legs.
Yup, this is the great achievement which should inspire youth in Egypt as Samir says.

On Thursday, an Egyptian government committee assigned to confiscate and freeze the Muslim Brotherhood “MB” members and their affiliated assets in the country announced that it had confiscated the assets of 16 alleged MB members.
This time the list included the children of famous 90-years old Brotherhood spiritual figure Sheikh Youssef El-Qaradawi who is currently staying in Qatar.
It was no surprise for me because, in July, the security forces arrested al-Qaradawi's eldest daughter Ola “a grandmother” and her husband Hossam Khalaf, the leading figure in Al-Wasat Party on terrorism-related charges.

Yet in that statement, there was a shock for many people including friends who work in business as well friends who cover business news Egypt.
Alef bookstore
Alef Bookstore in Maadi 
The assets of Egyptian businessman and economist Omar El-Shenety were frozen and confiscated by that governmental committee including his shares in the famous “Alef Bookstore”.
I did not know who El-Shenety was before that news but I know very well “Alef Bookstore”.

Since 2009, Alef Bookstore became another important cultural venue for Egyptian youth in Cairo.
Soon it began to spread across the country with 36 branches in the 10 governorates past 4 years thanks to a successful franchise model.

Currently, 75% of the bookstore branches are owned by franchisees.
There are 250 employees working in the bookstore chain now and since 2009 more than 1000 employee worked in it.
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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Seen in Cairo : The old house and Satellite dishes


Seen in the glorious city of Cairo : a very old #building at one side of Alazhar bridge with three modern satellite dishes. 
That scene you can see all over Cairo bridges, old and informal buildings with satellite dishes on their balconies and roofs. 

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Free Shawkan and others : More than 1000 days behind bars

Next Saturday Freelance Photographer Mahmoud Abou Zeid aka will stand in front of the Judges panel in Cairo to see if he is going to be released after more than 1000 days behind bars following his arrest during Rabaa sit in dispersal when he was only doing his job or he will continue to suffer in detention pending trial just like the past 600 days.
Shawkan
Shawkan behind bars by Eslam Gomaa

Shawkan, an Egyptian young man who was only doing his job as a photojournalist at Rabaa sit-in when he was arrested along hundreds of people.

The young photographer and 738 other defendants in the trial known as “Rabaa sit in dispersal” in the media are facing nine charges in this trial including forming a militant assembly, cutting highways and attempted murder.

Shawkan and other defendants are facing the death penalty in this trial if they are found guilty.
A freelancer, Shawkan is not a member of Journalists syndicate and I do not think that the current Pro-regime administration of the syndicate cares for him.

The fact that he got Hepatitis C while is in detention and is currently in a need of medical attention do not play any role in his release nor it gives him the right to receive proper treatment in a hospital
I do not know when Shawkan will be set free to enjoy his life for real.
I hope and pray for a miracle that on Saturday the judge will order for his release.

It is not only Shawkan who needs to be released from detention, there are many people like who were arrested and were locked up for infinity and beyond whether in pretrial detention or detention pending trial.
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Saturday, August 12, 2017

And we are back to that Presidency ever after talk !!

First of all, I must present my deepest condolences to the families of the Alexandria train tragedy. I can not express how much I am angry as I watch the media coverage of that horrifying incident or rather the lack of media coverage of that incident in the media
What makes me even angrier is the fact that it won’t be the last horrifying train accident of its kind if the current way of governance continues. If we continue not to hold the government truly for its actions, we will continue to have those disasters. I am working inshallah on a post dedicated to that train disaster.
Second, do you remember how I spoke about the upcoming Presidential elections 2018 and how we got no true presidential elections rival to our current president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi?
Do you remember how I spoke in the second half of the post on how some people wanted to change our Egyptian Constitution for the sake of an infinite presidential term?
Casting their votes
Egyptians casting their vote 

Well, last week those people returned to the scene boldly.
On Thursday, an MP in the House of Representatives announced that he would represent a parliamentary petition to amend the current constitution once again as soon as the Parliament started its upcoming session in October.
It is the same MP from February, MP Ismail Serg El-Din of Helwan who presented this petition. MP Serg El-Din wants to amend 6 articles in the current constitution because the current political circumstances demanded those amendments.
He wants to amend article No.140 so the president aka Abdel Fattah El-Sisi would stay in his current presidential term for additional 2 years.
He wants to change the Presidential term to become 6 years instead of 4 years.
The Helwan MP wants to allow Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to be reelected for endless terms instead of just one one reelection only.
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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Zamalek underground blues

Location Ismail Mohammed, Zamalek, Giza Governorate, Egypt
Zamalek Metro
Zamalek's Metro route and station are dangerous the lives of the residents and the architectural heritage
Let's keep Zamalek together.
 I found that poster on several residential building in the upscale Zamalek Island expressing the rejection of the people there of the Metro or Underground project.

The people are afraid that digging tunnels in the island will affect its buildings, which are mostly old. Nevertheless, the Egyptian government does not care for the details people whether rich or poor.

In the past year the people of Zamalek thought that they managed to stop the project but for the wrong reasons claiming that the metro would bring poor classes to the island.
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Monday, August 7, 2017

They Block Blogs now in Egypt !!

The last time I wrote about websites being blocked in Egypt when they were only 93 websites in June.
A whole month passed and the list of websites in Egypt increased madly that it became a necessity to have a VPN on your computer or mobile phone if you are a journalist.
Now the number of websites blocked in Egypt reached 133 websites according to Cairo-based human rights law firm Association for Freedom of Thoughts and Expression “AFTE”
The latest two websites to blocked in Egypt are Arab Network for Human rights information “ANHRI”  and journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada’s personal blog.

I am not surprised to find ANHRI joined the blocked website as its executive director, famous human rights activist Gamal Eid is currently banned from travel and his assets have been frozen for several months now. Eid is currently investigated along with other prominent human right activists like
Hossam Bahgat and Mozn Hassan in the
infamous foreign funding to Egyptian NGOs for several months ago.

CensoredI must not forget here to speak about Gamal Eid’s personal project which is a series of children libraries in highly populated working poor class areas in Nile Delta and Cairo was closed down.
Yes, Karma library or dignity library for children was closed down by security orders in Cairo and Nile delta governorates.
Egypt’s official candidate for UNESCO’s secretary general position, former ambassador Moshira Khattab announced her rejection for the closure of the libraries and even visited one of those libraries but the government did not care.
Back to the blocked websites that increase now by the week instead of the day.
ANHRI is considered the fourth human rights NGO website to blocked in Egypt after Sinai Organization for human rights, Al-Jazeera center for public freedoms and human rights and the Arab Monitor for media freedom.

In a very alarming development, journalist Ahmed Gamal Ziada’s personal blog was blocked in Egypt.
This is the first time a personal blog in Egypt is blocked like that. Ziada was using his blog to share his news reports to overcome the block imposed on the Websites he used to write for including Masr Al-Arabia website.
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Friday, August 4, 2017

Presidential elections 2018 : A-One-Man show Already

Do you know that Egypt is going to have presidential elections in mid-2018 ??
Yes, Egypt is going to have new presidential elections most probably in May 2018.
Most people can not remember this fact because simply we do not have ongoing presidential elections campaign like in the past or even in other countries.

Only those who follow news carefully can find this sort of news like "National Elections committee to start preparing for 2018 Presidential elections" to remember shortly that we are going to have elections in May.

President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s first 4-years presidential term will end after a couple of months and yet we do not have officially or non-officially any presidential hopefuls who ready to stand against the current president whether sincerely or even for the sake of the show.

Per Egyptian Constitution article No.140, the procedures for electing the President of the Republic begin at least 120 days before the end of the presidential term.

It will ridiculous for real to start the Presidential elections campaigns 120 days before the end of the Presidential terms of El-Sisi but it seems that this is what is going to happen.
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi did not officially or directly that he would run for the Presidential elections 2018 but he said indirectly that he would do what the people wanted him to do including running for the presidential office again.
It is not a big secret that he will run eventually.
El-Sisi poster
El-Sisi's campaign poster in Presidential elections 2018

He also urged the people to go to ballot boxes when the time comes.
We still remember how the last Presidential elections which El-Sisi in 2014 had very low turnout.
Sisi got 96.9% of the votes in those elections.

When it comes to his rivals in the upcoming elections, it is a big question mark.
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Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Another retro Cairo font

Location El-Sayeda Zainab, Cairo Governorate, Egypt

There is some kind of love relation between me and handwritten fonts on the shop banners in Cairo, especially Downtown Cairo.
This shop is not in Downtown Cairo but its handwritten banner which says it Samir upholstery was beautiful standing between two ugly computer generated banners.
I love how the word "Samir " is written in a retro-ish way. I am searching for that Font online.

Via Instagram 
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Sunday, July 30, 2017

These are the Most expensive Houses in Egypt “I guess”

I stumbled upon that Real Estate website last week when my colleague was speaking about it and about how it had probably the most expensive houses sold with ludicrous prices in Egypt.
I did not believe the numbers at first but then I took a look and browsed in the website.
Then I remember how Egypt is the land of extreme contradictions, we got extreme wealth and poverty at the same time.

Last week I was interviewing a poor woman who was sleeping under a bridge under construction because the government kicked her out and demolished her house allegedly built on a state-owned land, a claim which is false. It is just crazy country indeed.

Without any further due here are the most expensive buildings in Egypt as listed in PropertyFinder.eg :

1-Ibn Zinky’s Villa: LE 270 Million

Yes, you read it right, this villa is up for sale for LE 270 Million {USD 15 Million}.
I do not know who owns this villa or rather the palace.
At first, I suspected it was owned former minister of finance and fugitive Youssef Botros Ghali in Zamalek which has been confiscated by the state in Zamalek island. (He turned to have a land in Zamalek worth of LE 200 million located directly to the Nile which he bought from more than ten years with a price less than its real value)
Yet, it turned out that Ghali’s villa is on another street in the upscale island.
Oddly, the website did not publish photo for the villa’s façade but it published photos of the villa’s interiors.
It seems that it is art deco village based upon its door.
The villa's door
The villa's door 
Aside from the many bedrooms, this villa got a sun room and some sort of a theater.
The website did not mention either when this villa was built.
The Sun room in the villa
The Sun room in the villa 

That small old home theater
That small old home theater 
Needless to say, we are speaking about Zamalek upscale island so this villa could be very old.
I know the location of this villa, I will try to go and have quick look.


2-Another Zamalek villa: LE 252 Million

In the second place, we got another Zamalek villa for sale. You can own this classical villa for LE 252 Million {USD 14 Million}.
The dining room
The dining room 

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The 200 pounds bill



This is a 200-Egyptian pounds bill that my aunt got from the ATM today and we found the following words on it in Arabic as follows :
  • 100 pounds for the refrigerator's monthly installment
  •  50 pounds for the TV installment
  •  50 pounds for the blanket's installment 😞
  • LE 200 Mahfouz
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Warraq Island : There is some island curse in Egypt nowadays

Location Jazirat Warraq al Hadar، جزيرة وراق الحضر، الوراق، الجيزة، Egypt
For nearly three weeks I have been away from the blog as I had technical problems with my laptop.
Thank God, I fixed those problems by a clean Windows 10 install and you can imagine how things have been.
In all those days, I had one thing I wanted to blog about as soon as I am back online: The Egyptian Tiran and Sanafir islands.
Yes, I was planning to write about Tiran and Sanafir islands and share the documents I have been gathering online to prove that the islands are 100% Egyptian.
Now, I am back and I am going to write on the blog about an island but not about Tiran or Sanafir. I am going to write about Warraq island because it seems that there is something is wrong with islands nowadays in this country.
First of all, here are very quick information about Warraq island.
It is the biggest Nile island in Egypt, yes it is bigger than Zamalek and El-Manial Nile islands
It is the most populated island in Egypt as there are some estimations speaking about 100 thousand people living there.
Its recorded history as well past Egypt’s census shows that it was inhabited in the 19th century and it has been commonly known as Warraq Al-Khader.
Warraq island on Google map 
Officially, it has been considered part of Giza governorate since the 20th century but it is over looking two other governorates: Cairo and Qalyubia. This gives you an idea of its size.
It was the first place in Giza to cultivate potatoes and it was the main potato supplier to the British occupation camps. Yes, the Nile used to flood it before the construction of Aswan High Dam but it has been there the whole time.
I had to say this introduction because of the lies spread by Pro-regime media in the past few days as well by the officials themselves in Egypt.
From a week ago, we woke up one Sunday morning to find that there were clashes between the residents of Warraq island and the security forces from Egypt’s police and armed forces.
Sooner, the clashes resulted in the death of one of the locals and we found out that the angry islanders cut roads in Imbaba district, the mainland. The Islanders returned back to the island to hold a very big funeral for that 20-years old man. Video clips of the angry islanders began to emerge to say another story than the government’s.

Officially, the government and the ministry of interior issued statements claiming that a campaign went the island in order to restore the State-owned land to remove illegal structures and encroachments on state property on the banks of the Nile.
They were speaking about 700 evacuations orders to be executed in the island, only 9 houses were evacuated and demolished them.
After demolishing her home in Egypt's Warraq island
A mother of four sitting in front of what once was her house.
The statements also said that the residents of Warraq island attacked the security forces with birdshot and automatic guns injuring not less than 30 police personnel including a police general.
At night, the usual Pro-regime TV night talk shows slammed and attacked the residents of the Warraq island for hijacking the state-owned land and resisting the authorities.
The usual set of accusations like being an agent of Qatar and Muslim Brotherhood stronghold were repeated boringly.
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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Nabulsi Shaheen soap factory

Location 75 Al Azhar, El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
The Nabulsi Shaheen soap factory

Seen in Cairo: The once famous handmade Nabulsi Shaheen olive oil soap factory in Alazhar area, Cairo.

 In the first half of the 20th century, Nabulsi Shaheen was the most famous and popular soap in Egypt. There were several popular brands of the Olive oil soap, originally made in Palestine. The most famous brand was Nabulsi Shahin.

Originally named Nabusli Shaheen in the 1920s, the famous Nabulsi soap used to have a different name before the July 1952 coup. Its name had been Nabulsi Farouk from the 1930s to 1950s.

Yes, it was named after King Farouk of Egypt and Sudan due to his popularity at first in the country but it was changed as soon as he was ousted.
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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Old Minaret

Mosque's old minaret

That old minaret of that old mosque in that old #Cairo street standing high with its engravings as it much as it can.
 Instagram http://ift.tt/2uac9Xh
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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Happy 30 June Dear Egyptians : Less energy subsidies , more fuel prices

Earlier Thursday, Egyptians woke up to the news that government announced cuts in the energy subsidies effective immediately, which means that there will be an increase in the fuel prices and subsequently there will be an increase in the price of everything.

The price of 80-octane gasoline has increased from LE 2.35 per Litre to LE 3.65 which means buses, microbuses, taxis and even tuktuk's fare will increase.
Fuel station
At the fuel state, an old taxi driver and a sign with the new prices
in Cairo, Egypt on Thursday "Photo: Reuters"

The prices of food supplies as well any things use that trucks for transportation will increase as well.

Already, vegetables' prices are expected to increase by 40%.
A simple salad will cost the Egyptian family nearly LE 50 !!

The price of 92-Octane gasoline has increased from LE 3.50 per Litre to LE 5 in another blow to the Middle class that own cars.

The price of gas cylinders has increased from LE 15 to LE 30.
A Huge number of Egyptian especially the poor working classes in the governorates will be affected with that increase.
The number of Egyptians who got access to natural gas in homes is still small compared to the Egyptians who still use the gas cylinders, especially in the countryside.

Experts say that the inflation will increase after this new wave of high prices that can reach to 35%.
In May, the inflation rate hit three-decade high with 32.9 % but it dropped in April but it fell to 30.9% in May.

This is the third major increase in the prices of fuel in Egypt since President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi became the head of state.

The first time was in July 2014 while the second was in November 2016 following the Center Bank of Egypt "CBE" to devaluate the Egyptian pound aka to float the price of Egyptian pound free.

We knew that this will be coming because the start of the new official fiscal year 2017/2018 is 1 July in Egypt.
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#Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 : Princess Sea Pearl Ep.29 and Ep.30

Arabian nights-Edmund Dulac First of all, I am more than sorry for not posting anything on the blog or even continue our Arabian tale for this Ramadan or even posted Happy Eid from Egyptian Chronicles to you.


It was out of my hand as I had technical problems with my Windows 10 Dell laptop on Saturday.Thank God I have managed only to fix those problems only late Thursday.

They were technical problems related to booting and scary BSOD.
I spent technically the three days of Eid in attempting to fix my laptop aside of eating, watching movies on TV and sleeping.
Lots of things took place and I know that I can start with our Audio Arabian Nights tale for this year, the tale of Princess Sea Pearl.

I think before continuing our audio tale, you have to refresh your memory to remember what happened from nearly a week ago.
Now we going to finish our tale and know the fate our heroes for this whether the good or the villains.

Episode 401 or the Twenty Ninth night


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Friday, June 23, 2017

#Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 : Princess Sea Pearl "Ep.25", "EP.26", "EP.27" and "EP.28"

Arabian nights by DulacFirst, Happy Eid in advance.
Second, we are getting close to the end of Ramadan as well the end of our tale for this year, the tale of Princess Sea Pearl.
Now, we stopped at the Twenty-third Night in the previous post. Sadly enough I could not find Episode twenty-four anywhere online even at the Egyptian State Radio's archives.

Nevertheless, based on the previous episodes and the upcoming episodes I can tell you that it is about that second meeting between Princess Sea Pearl and Hamal Al-Asya where they will fall in the love.

I can tell you also that in Episode 396 of the Radio Arabian nights show that Princess Sea Pearl marries Hamal Al-Asya and as she becomes a human, she loses her memory.

Third, here are our episodes for tonight.

Episode 397 or Twenty-Fifth night


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Thursday, June 22, 2017

This is what the Syrian refugees did to our Egyptian economy

Tuesday, the world celebrated the World Refugees Day. United Nations and its organizations above them UNHCR as well many countries in the world used that day to highlight their efforts to help the refugees around the globe.
The world is facing one hell of a refugees problem that it has not seen before since the WWII.
Back in our corner of the world, there has been one hell of silence when it comes to the Arab governments or Arab media.
In a sad irony, the Middle East or rather the Arab world is the Source of more than the half of refugees around the globe now.
Aside from Palestinian refugees who have been in limbo since 1948 and 1967, we have got Syrian refugees, Iraqi refugees, Yemeni refugees, Sudanese refugees and Somali refugees.
The media is busy with Ramadan TV season and at the same time the internal Gulf crisis as far as I could tell.
In Egypt, we got also Ramadan TV season, bad economy and a worse political situation with the ongoing Tiran and Sanafir Saga.Yet I have not forgotten about this important day.

It is never too late to post something about the refugees in Egypt or any other place in the world.

Earlier this month, I have read interesting facts that made me love the Syrian refugees in Jobs Make difference report published by UNDP, International Labor Organization "ILO" and World Food Programme "WFP.

For example; the inflow of Syrian direct investments headed to Egypt, Jordan and Turkey as things escalated from revolution to civil war in an easy way.

The report says that Syrian refugees in Egypt injected in those years not less than $800 million.
Yes, $800 million were injected into our economy through Syrian investors and businessmen who moved to Cairo.
The $800 million could have been more if it were not for the restrictions on foreigners to invest in Egypt as they lack to access to credit and banking.
They also must have Egyptian partners.

Two Syrian young men working in ful and falafel restaurant
Two Syrians working in a falafel and beans shop at the Syrian street in October City
in 2016. See more photos here 
I believe the source of those millions is the textile factories. Yes, Syrian textile factories that found a huge demand in Egypt.
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Monday, June 19, 2017

#Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 : Princess Sea Pearl "Ep.20", "EP.21", "EP.22" and "EP.23"

And we continue our tale for this year, the tale of Princess Sea Pearl.
Again this Ramadan is special for personal as well for general reasons that make me share with you those episodes in that way.
To refresh your mind, here is a link to the past episodes so you can remember what Hamal Al-Asya has done.
Now without further delay and lots of useless and endless talk, here are the episodes.
We will see how Hamal Al-Asya meets with Princess Sea Pearl and how his life will be turned upside down. His wicked stepmother and so-called brother return back to our tale for this year for more bitterness and wickedness as usual.

Episode 392 or the twentieth night


Episode 393 or the twenty-first night


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Sunday, June 18, 2017

Seen in Cairo : Once a famous Cinema Theater

Location Azbakeya Garden, Ghayt Al Adah, Abdeen, Cairo Governorate, Egypt
Cinema Opera in Cairo

 Seen in Downtown Cairo the once famous and currently closed down "Opera" Cinema theater.
It survived the Grand fire of Cairo in February 1952 but it did not survive the curse of time.

Now it is closed down and surrounded with ugly big buildings and shops in the overcrowded Opera square aka Al-Ataba Square. According to friends , it is being renovated and it will be opened soon.
I do not know when it was built or who owned or owns it but I know it was named after Egypt's Khedival Opera House.
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Saturday, June 17, 2017

They are over 90 websites now : Online Censorship does not want to stop in Egypt "Updated"

Whoever runs this ongoing online censorship latest crackdown does not want to stop !!
This post has been updated on 18th June 2017.
Cairo-based human rights law firm Association for Freedom of Thoughts and Expression "AFTE" filed a lawsuit at the Administrative court appealing against the decision to ban certain websites in Egypt without legal basis nor official explanation.
Now the number of blocked websites in Egypt jumped from 65 in the past 48 hours to 77 to 93 websites on 18 June according to "AFTE".

The new blocked websites in Egypt are:

I feel that sad that Al-Manassa news and citizen journalism platform has been blocked.
I think that website founded by veteran blogger and journalist Nora Younis joined the blocked websites list for its distinguished for its parliament's coverage.
The website had an excellent parliamentary correspondent who used to reveal the tiniest thing happening the in the House of Representatives.
It was among that the few websites that followed minute by minute on Wednesday how the Tiran and Sanafir Islands deal passed.

Turkey-based Noon Post is similar to Sasa Post. The Islamic-leaning website used to have very interesting news reports and investigative reports from time to time.
Now, I think Nooun Feminist webzine is paying the price of having a similar name to Noon Post
Nooun's Logo
Nooun's logo after being blocked
"Nooun's Facebbok page"

because other than that I cannot find a reason on why this blog webzine dedicated to women's affairs and issues would be blocked now !!!!

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Tiran and Sanafir Saga : The summer of 1967 Redux

A group of opposition figures called for mass protests across Egypt in the past 48 following the fast approval of Egypt' House of Representatives on the Egyptian Saudi maritime borders demarcation deal on Wednesday.

According to the deal and despite the history of Egyptian sovereignty, the Tiran and Sanafir Red Sea are part of the Saudi territories after this approval.

Former Presidential candidate and Nasserite political founder of the Karma Party and Popular Current Hamdeen Sabhi called for protests on Friday.
I do not know where or when those protests are going to be, to be honest.

It seems that the security predicted that there would be protests and thus in the past 48 hours as there are extended security crackdown as well mass arrests for activists across the country.

According to the latest Socialist Popular Alliance party statement, there are currently 64 detainees arrested from Cairo, Giza, Port Said, Gharbia, Sharkia, Al-Ismailia, Qalyubia, Fayoum, Alexandria, Aswan, Damietta, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Behaira, Bani Suef and Suez.

The current crackdown targets independent activists as well party members like The Constitution Party, The Socialist Popular Alliance Party and El-Karma Party as well Bread and Liberty party.
I am afraid that the protests would not attract too many people because we are speaking about Ramadan, Summer and above them fear.
Lawyers protesting against the agreement at their syndicate earlier
Thursday "Reuters" 
People are afraid of protesting thanks to the infamous protest law.
There had been small protests this week against the agreement whether at the Journalists Syndicate or Lawyers Syndicate or the doctors' syndicate so you can imagine how downtown Cairo was locked down in the past few days.

Aside from the usual crackdown, the government to close down El-Sadat Metro station in Tahrir.

A Late Midnight's recommendation

At 3 AM Cairo Local Time, The Supreme Constitutional Court's Commissioners authority issued its recommendations to the Supreme Court to reject the two appeals presented by the Egyptian Government against the Administrative court's verdict that the two islands are Egyptians.
The commissioners' authority whose opinion is advisory to the court upheld the original June 2016 administrative court, which was already upheld in January by the High Administrative.
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

#Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 : Princess Sea Pearl "Ep.16", "EP.17", "EP.18" and "EP.19"

Sorry for the extreme delay in updating our Ramadan Arabian for this year. The past couple of days were extremely tiring.
Arabian nights-Edward Dulac
By Edward Dulac 
It ended up by that defeat Egyptians faced in the Parliament on Wednesday as the House of Representatives, in what can be best described as a farce passed the maritime borders demarcation deal and there are lots of updates to catch on.
I will not give to sadness and I am going to continue to share our Ramadan Arabian Nights.
Tonight we will listen and continue our tale for the tale of Princess Sea Pearl and her husband Hamal Al-Asya from episode 16 to 19.
First, I think you should refresh your memory and hear the last episode I published on Egyptian Chronicles.
Now we will catch on with our hero Hamal Al-Asya and know how he rejected the unwanted advances of his boss's wife and how he would pay a huge price for that.

Episode 388 or The Sixteenth Night

We are still with the story of Hamal A-Asya and that wicked Wardshan.

Episode 389 or The Seventeenth Night

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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

And Avaaz joins the list of banned websites in Egypt !!! "Updated"

And the banned websites list in Egypt is getting longer and bigger per day now.
According to the Cairo-based Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression "AFTE"", we are speaking about more than 60 websites.
They were more than 50 websites yesterday and the day before they were more than 40 websites whereas last week they were only more than 20 websites !!!

The most noticeable websites that joined the list this time are Avaaz and January News Portal !!
Yes, the famous U.S-based online petition and civic organization website is banned in Egypt for a reason beyond my knowledge or imagination.
Online Petitions do not really change things in Egypt or really effective.
I can't remember the last Avaaz petition that forced the Egyptian government to do something.

This is not a thing to belittle Avaaz and its role in the world and in other countries where it really makes a change.

Then we got January News Portal or Yaniar Gate which is founded and headed by Nasserite journalist Amr Badr.
Former Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabhi at the sit-in of
the Journalists Syndicate "Mohamed El-Raay"

Yaniar Gate is just like Al-Bediah and Al-Badil, an independent news website that is totally against the Tiran and Sanafir deal as well the Egyptian regime's policies.

Amr Badr, the current head of the Freedoms Committee in Egypt's Journalists Syndicate has his share of trouble with the regime because of his opposition to the Tiran and Sanafir islands deal.

Currently, Amr Badr and other leading members of the Journalists syndicate including the trio of the previous Journalists Syndicate board are having a sit-in against referring the deal to the parliament and how the Legislative Committee passed in disgusting farce.
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Sunday, June 11, 2017

More blocked websites in Egypt : Medium is blocked too "Updated"

Just as the Egyptian Parliament is on the verge of committing unforgivable sin by discussing the Tiran and Sanafir deal against the public opinion as well the court orders, we find that more websites are blocked including petition website and a whole popular publishing and blogging platform !!!
Medium blocked in Egypt
A screenshot for Medium homepage on TEData

On Friday , I have known that an online petition website against the Egyptian Saudi maritime borders demarcation deal was blocked.
Honestly, I am surprised because this website is not that popular and only 1480 people have signed the petition so far.

Updated on 12/6/2017

Just in less than 24 hours , we found out Al-Bediah news website and El-Badil news website are blocked.
Headed by veteran leftist journalist and activist Khaled El-Balshy, the left-leaning Pro-25 January new website is actually the most prominent defendant of the islands' Egyptian identity in the world of Egyptian press. The website used to publish every single shred of paper or document stating the islands are Egyptian.
El-Balshly who used to used to the head Egypt's Journalists syndicate's Freedom committee is a long time opposition figure in the press. He may go to jail if his appeal against the November's two years in jail and LE 10,000 Fine court sentence is rejected in the case that goes also back to Tiran and Sanafir.
El-Bedial , which ironically El-Balshy founded and then left in 2012 , joined the list of the blocked websites. Also, the Nasserite website was against the Saudi-Egyptian government deal.

I have just known Saturday evening that popular Medium publishing and blogging platform has been blocked in Egypt.
You can't get access to Medium.com and its blogs and sites whether on TEData DSL ISP or Orange 4G LTE as I have tired.
You can access it through VPN.

Aside from its current blogs publishing what the regime rejects of ,I read that some of news websites originally blocked in May was going to use Medium as alternative to reach to its readers in Egypt.On 24 May , not less than 23 websites were blocked in Egypt including independent Mada Masr news website as well Al-Jazeera TV network's websites.

In the following days , more websites have been blocked in the country till they reached over 40 50 websites  according to Cairo-based Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression "AFTE".
Following the first batch , we got new websites blocked everyday. Aside from Medium.com , Turkey-based SasaPost was also blocked in Egypt.
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Saturday, June 10, 2017

Some Twitter woes with my Twitter account

Dear friends, first thanks for your support and the messages I have received.

Yes , my Twitter account (@Zeinobia) has been locked since Saturday afternoon and is temporarily restricted.

Saturday afternoon, I found myself locked out by Twitter due to some problem related to "automated tweets" in my account.

I usually use Hoot Suite to schedule tweets with posts from my blog as I have done in the past three years and did not face this problem.

I followed the procedures according to Twitter support and I was supposed to receive a call from Twitter to get a verification code and up till I have not received it.

Nevertheless, I managed to contact Twitter and I am trying to find a way to fix things.

I see many of the replies and notifications as well DMs in Windows 10 Twitter Native app and as I can not reply, I must say in my blog that I am overwhelmed with such support and love.
Thank you so much 
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#Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 : Princess Sea Pearl "Ep.15"

Arabian nights And we are back on track.
We continue our tale for this year, the tale of Princess Sea Pearl.
We are still with the tale inside the tale hearing the story of Hamal Al-Asya as he recounts it to the Djinn King in the Sea realm
You remember how he ended up in some haunted mill here.
And now to our new Arabian night.

Episode 387 or the fifteenth night


Thank you for listening and if you like it then please share it with your friends :)
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Friday, June 9, 2017

#Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 : Princess Sea Pearl "Ep.13" and "Ep.14"

First of all, I apologize for not posting episode 13 last night as I was very tired and arrived home late after very long and hot Ramadan day.
An illustration inspired by Arabian
nights in 1911 "Edmond Dulac"
Needless to say, Thursday was full of drama worldwide whether the ongoing Gulf feud or Comey's testimonies or the British elections.

Second, tonight we will have a double bill, two episodes instead of one as we continue our Egyptian Radio Arabian nights tale for this year "Princess Sea Pearl".

To refresh your memory, here is what happened from two days ago.
Tonight we will continue the tale of Hamal Al-Asya , in fact we know tonight his newest adventure and it is nice and worth to listen too.

With no further delays, here are our episodes tonight where we know what our young hero will do in the old haunted mill.

Episode 385 or the thirteenth night


Episode 386 or the fourteenth night

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

#Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 : Princess Sea Pearl "Ep.12"

The Middle East is still turning upside down and our tale for this year continues with Princess Sea Pearl and her human husband. Arabian nights
Tonight we will see how evil for real Hamal Al-Asya's stepmom and his so-called brother.
You can refresh your memory and remember how his father passed away here.
Now it is time for our episode tonight

Episode 384 or the twelveth night of our tale this year.


Thanks for listening and I hope you share it.
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#Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 : Princess Sea Pearl "Ep.11"

The crisis has not ended yet in the Gulf and it seems that it is getting complicated each hours especially with Trump's tweets. Arabian Nights

If you need a break from that crazy Middle East drama then I recommend complete reading this post to listen to a new Ramadan Arabian night.

Tonight we will continue our tale "Princess Sea Pearl".

We will continue to hear "Hamal Al-Asya" and his family's story and how he and his father endured hell with his stepmom and his so-called brother.

To refresh your memory , you can hear the beginning of that family that found itself in the under the sea Djinn realm here.

Now here is tonight's new episode from Egyptian state radio's old Arabian nights.

Episode 383 or the eleventh night of our tale this year.

Thanks for listening and I hope you share it.

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Monday, June 5, 2017

#Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 : Princess Sea Pearl "Ep.10"

Okay forget what happened early Morning in the Gulf and the Middle East and Pay attention to this post.
It is time for another night of our Arabian nights this year. Arabian nights
We will continue our tale, the tale of Princess Sea Pearl.
You can refresh your memory and remember what Hamal El-Asaya's wicked stepmother had done here.
Tonight we will meet his so-called brother.
Here is our episode for tonight.

Episode 382 or the tenth night of our tale this year.


I hope you enjoy it and share it with your friends online.
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Sunday, June 4, 2017

#Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 : Princess Sea Pearl "Ep.9"

It is time for our Ramadan Radio Arabian night. We will continue this year our tale , the tale of Princess Sea Pearl and her human husband. Cairo Arabian nights

We will know what Hamal Alasya's wicked stepmom had done to him and to his father.

You can refresh your memory and know the young man and his stepmom ended up in the Sea realm here.

Now it is for our episode tonight.

Episode 381 or the Ninth night of our tale this year.

Hope that you enjoy tonight's episode :)

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By Year , By Month