Monday, January 30, 2023

Mansour meets the British Press over Russian connection

It seems that Mohamed Mansour is starting to know the meaning of being involved in politics in real democracy with transparency and accountability.

The British press is speaking that the man chosen by Conservative Party leader and current British PM Rishi Sunak and former Chairman Nadhim Zahawi as senior treasurer turned to own or co-own a subsidiary in Russia that is still active in the Russian oil and gas sector despite sanctions and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. “The Mirror spoke about the matter too.”

Well the UK is not Egypt, and the Conservative Party with all its cons is not the National Democratic Party.

Mohamed Mansour
Mohamed Mansour, the British senior treasurer of the Conservative Party 

Last month, we know in Egypt from the British media that Sunak announced that Egyptian business tycoon Mohamed Mansour would be the senior treasurer of the Conservative Party in the UK. We knew back in Egypt that he had a US passport already, and that the British passport was new information.

According to the Guardian, the Conservative Party refused to comment on Mansour’s role stating that he was not “the party’s treasurer”, but sources told the famous newspaper that Mansour has actually a separate role as “the senior treasurer” and he is involved in fundraising in the run-up to the next general elections.

On the other hand, Mansour confirmed the news and issued a statement stating that it was a great honour and privilege to have been appointed as senior treasurer of the Conservative party and a member of the treasurer’s team of the party.

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Concerning the attack in Palestine's East Jerusalem : A matter of time

On Friday the whole world condemned the attack against a group of Israeli settlers in occupied East Jerusalem near a synagogue by a Palestinian shooter.

The lone Palestinian shooter killed seven settlers and injured five others near a synagogue in an illegal Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem.

According to international media, it is the worst attack against Israelis in 15 years.

It is a terrible accident without a doubt but I am sorry to say anyone following what is happening in the occupying territories even for a short time only will tell you that it was going to happen eventually. 

I knew that something like that would happen eventually thanks to Benjamin Netanyahu’s alt-right government's ongoing escalation.

My question was when and where.

It happened hours after the storming of the Israeli forces of Jenin refugee camp killing ten Palestinians including a 61-year-old mother.

Two brothers whose father is a long-time prisoner in an Israeli prison were killed in the raid. Their brother was critically injured, and this is just basic information that did not make it to international media.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

News of the week: The release of Thabets pending investigation

On Saturday, Egyptian authorities released famous Egyptian businessman Safwan Thabet and his son Seif Thabet pending investigations after their arrest in the Winter of 2020-21

The Thabets were arrested allegedly for joining a terrorist group aka the Muslim Brotherhood. Safwan Thabet was arrested in December 2020 while his son and Juhayna CEO Seif Thabet was arrested in February 2021.

Mariam Thabet with her father Safwan and her brother Seif Thabet 

The famous industrialist who founded Egypt’s biggest dairy and juice producer “Juhayna Food Industries” was accused along with his son of allegedly financing the MB. The Thabets till this moment deny those charges.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

#Jan25: The Man and the armoured vehicle

It is that time of the year and it comes in one hell of a time, the time of an economic crisis the country has not seen in ages.

It is the anniversary of the 25 January revolution or rather the start of the 25 January revolution that managed to oust one of the Middle East’s longtime strongmen solidifying the Arab Spring and relaunching it worldwide after its start in Tunisia from Cairo’s Tahrir.

It is 2023 and the quest for freedom, bread and social justice seems to be a faraway memory and yet it is the core of the Egyptian issue if not most of the Arab World and Africa as well as the third world's core issue till now

Anyhow, I am trying not to enter this Karballa-mood with the Egyptian Revolution anniversary and the same old discussions on what went wrong and the lessons we learned, let alone the favourite question of foreign journalists and post-graduate students to me and other Egyptians who lived those moments “Is it a social media network revolution ?”

Anyhow my own #Jan25 Karbala ritual is checking the photos from those moments online because it adds more to that history jigsaw.

Last year Egyptian photojournalist Tarek Wajeh released more photos recording that unforgettable moment of that Egyptian young standing bravely against a police armoured vehicle on 25 January 2011 in Downtown Cairo.

The Young man and the armoured vehicle of the police
The Young man and the armoured vehicle of the police 

It was one of the iconic photos recorded in those 18 days. It was first published in Al-Masry Al Youm Daily where Wajeh works. Only in 2022, he released more shots of that moment. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

Kodak Agfa Presents : Egypt’s Fossil and Climate Change Museum in Fayoum’s Wadi El-Hitan Protectorate in 2017 (#EP3: When the desert turns into a museum)

We are back in the third post of our series about Egypt’s Wadi El-Hitan Climate Change Museum in Fayoum.

In 2017, I paid a visit to Wadi El-Hitan or the Whale valley in a quick visit to the beautiful Fayoum governorate. In the first post of this series, we shared the history of Egypt’s fossilized Jurassic Park as well as part of its indoor museum.

In the second post, we continued our visit to the very rich indoor museum in the valley.

Now we continue our trip in this post to the UNESCO World Heritage Site but this time we visit the outdoor museum.

Wadi El-Hitan protectorate and open Museum in Egypt's Museum
Inside Wadi El-Hitan Protectorate in Fayoum's desert 

When you finish visiting the indoor museum, you go outside carrying your backpack or whatever but you must have a bottle of water to keep you hydrated and must wear your best hiking shoes because you will have one hell of a hike in the middle of the desert.

You will see why. 

Wadi El-Hitan protectorate and open Museum in Egypt's Museum
Inside Wadi El-Hitan Protectorate in Fayoum's desert 

Head for the trail in front of you and just imagine that this was a huge ocean bed from millions of years ago.

Wadi El-Hitan protectorate and open Museum in Egypt's Museum
The road to the outdoor museum and its exhibits from fossils 

The trail takes you up to a hill and seriously it is one of the best hikes I have ever taken so far.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Thursday rave and rants : #Ep9 “Latest Ramy Fahim trial’s updates”

Okay boys and girls, here are the latest developments and updates about Ramy Fahim’s trial in the United States in tonight’s episode of “Thursday Rave and Rants” Podcast in Arabic.

This is what I ranted about in Arabic.

First of all, there was a pretrial hearing on 6 December but it was just a procedural hearing.

The next hearing will be on 10 February, 8:30 AM at the court’s North Justice Center in Fullerton, in-room N3.

The new date was set during another hearing, according to the website of the Superior Court of California for Orange County.

For those who do not know or are newcomers, we are covering the developments of Egyptian citizen Ramy Mounir Fahim who is accused of killing two people in the United States and may face the death penalty.

Ramy Fahim 

Fahim made headlines in Egypt last year due to the fact that he is the son of former State Minister of immigration and Egyptians abroad Nabila Makram.

Ramy Fahim who was living in Irving, California and was charged in April with special circumstances murders for allegedly stabbing his co-worker Griffin Cuomo “23 years old” and the co-worker’s roommate Jonathan Bahm “23 years old” to death in their apartment.

The son of an Egyptian businessman was charged officially with eight felony counts, including two counts of murder and two enhancements each of lying in wait, multiple murders and the personal use of a deadly weapon.

Monday, January 16, 2023

Dear Adobe, we need a special price in Egypt

Adobe is known that its applications are the best in the market when it comes to media production. Whether visual or web, it is well-established fact.

It is one of the reasons why it has an expensive price tag for its apps. It is also one of the reasons why its apps are among the most pirated software around the globe.

Now with the depreciation of the Egyptian pound, it is hard for many in Egypt to continue using the original Adobe apps above them Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects and Adobe premiere.

Adobe in MENA prices
Made on Adobe Express FYI

You may think that USD 9.9 a month or USD 120 a year for the Adobe Photography bundle "Photoshop and Lightroom" cheapest license in the Middle East and North Africa region “Arab region” is a simple thing, but this means LE 295 and LE 3,544 “based on the US 1 = LE 29.54”

This is besides the commission Egyptian banks take for Credit Cards US dollar transactions from inside Egypt. 

This is hugely expensive for many Egyptians that use the app in photography and graphic design, especially with the increasing living costs in the country. Freelancers from graphic designers depend on that app for their living.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Thursday Rave and Rants: #EP8 The Tates

Despite all the economic woes in Egypt and the downfall of the Egyptian pound, I can’t ignore the social media growing cult evolving around notorious social media personality Andrew Tate. It already found its way to Egypt despite all our worries.

That’s why I am discussing it in Arabic on my podcast “Thursday Rave and Rants” in Arabic. 

Below is what I ranted and said but in English. “I speak a lot”

On Tuesday, Bucharest’s Court of Appeal rejected the appeal of the Tate brothers and upheld their 30-day detention on investigations for human trafficking, rape and organized crime.

Tristan and Andrew Tate
Tristan and Andrew Tate 

The British-American social media personalities were arrested along with two women in Romania on 29 December in a connection with a human-trafficking investigation.

The two brothers are under investigation for allegedly forming an organized criminal group responsible for kidnapping and exploiting young women by making them the subject of porn videos intended for sale via websites like OnlyFans according to Romanian media.

Andrew Tate denies the allegations and says that it was “the matrix” moving against him aka a “global conspiracy” against him. I do not know why the alt-right folks in the West are fond of the Matrix when the Matrix universe was actually created by two trans sisters !!

Early in April, the Romanian police raided Tate’s house in the country following the allegations that he abducted some American woman but nothing was found and no one was arrested.

The Tates’ arrest in December may not have captured the world’s attention if it were not for the fact that it came right after an online duel of Andrew on Twitter with climate activist Greta Thunberg, which the Swedish teenage activist won in a perfect way.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

The bloody Wednesday: The free fall of the Egyptian Pound starts

I will remember this Wednesday very well.

 How I and probably a million other Egyptians glued in front of their laptops and mobile phone screens only to refresh their google screen to see the price of the Egyptian pound against the US dollar. 

1 US dollar = 29.76 Egyptian pound
1 US dollar = 29.76 Egyptian pound 

It started at $1 for LE 27.6 and the free fall started till it reached in a very short time LE 31-32 in some banks then it returned back to LE29.7.

According to Ahram Online, the Egyptian pound lost over 100 % of its value since March 2022. 

It reached its lowest-ever value in its history. We knew it was coming but not so fast in a single day. 

According to MadaMasr’s report, the Gulf money once again saved the Egyptian pound somehow.

Monday, January 9, 2023

Kodak Agfa Presents : A Great Cairo Christmas in video and photos

A belated Merry Orthodox Christmas

Unfortunately due to the cold, this post, its photos and its video were delayed but it is never too late to celebrate Christmas and its spirit.

I think we all need a light post to break the cycle of depressing economic news in Egypt for real.

Christmas decorations in Sheikh Zayed's Capital Promenade Mall
Christmas bazaar at Capital Promenade Mall in Giza's Sheikh Zayid 

This year I went to Shubra again as you may have known and seen but I did not stop there as I decided to visit other parts of Great Cairo that celebrate Christmas.

For those who do not know, despite the majority of Egyptians being Muslims but believe it or not people celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Shops, restaurants and malls hang Christmas decorations and install those big Christmas trees.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

Kodak Agfa Presents : Photos of the year “2022 edition”

Another year-ender post I hope that inshallah it will be another tradition in Egyptian Chronicles: The photos of the year.

This is a subjective post because I chose those photos as my favourite for the year 2022, they represent major events in the year which I found significant and they are not too many.

They are without order. I apologize for that. 

For me, this is the photo of the year 2022.

A four years old girl working in a brick factory in Afghanistan sleeping 
after work on one August afternoon "AP"

That photo summarizes the Afghani ongoing forgotten tragedy.

It also represents everything that is wrong in this world my afraid on every level whether social injustice or economic injustice or political injustice.

The whole photo story is heartbreaking.

The photo story is available on AP and those sad photos were taken by photographer Ebrahim Noroozi.

I pray those children will have a better year and future this year.

I do not know the source of this photo or who actually took and I hope that he or she is okay because they are in China. It was taken in Shanghai during the anti- Zero-Covid-19 policy protests.

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Egyptian Pound in limbo : A worrying start for a new year

God knows this is not how I wanted to start the new year. I was on merrier post to remember last year before going into the worrying stuff it did not take 7 days into the year 2023 and the economic worries returned back in force.

On Wednesday, the Egyptian pound had lost over 10% of its value against the US dollar two or even one hour after Egypt’s biggest public sector banks announced their new 25% saving certificates.

Banque Misr
A photo of Banque Misr in Downtown Cairo 

Egypt’s National Bank of Egypt “NBE” and Banque Misr “BM” which are both state-owned announced issuing new one-year maturity saving certificates with a 25% yield after one year.

The new certificates are also available at a 22.5% yield for monthly disbursement.

This is the highest yield an Egyptian bank has ever presented.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year 2023

Happy New year 2023 from Egyptian Chronicles

2023 in lights in Cairo's Shubra

Happy New year 2023 from Cairo’s Shubra and its Christmas market that against all odds survived 2022 and its supply crisis.

Christmas trees for sale at Cairo's Shubra

Here is to a new year hopefully inshallah it will be better with less trouble, less sadness and less crises.

Hopefully inshallah it will be a better year for Egypt and Egyptians despite all the hardships.

Those photos I took last week from Cairo’s Shubra.