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Egypt That You Don't Know
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    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 eleventh night of our tale this year.

    Thanks for listening and I hope you share it.

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    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

    Thanks for listening and I hope you like it and share it :)

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    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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    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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    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.
    I have just known Saturday evening that popular Medium publishing and blogging platform has been blocked in Egypt.
    You can't get access to 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 websites according to Cairo-based AssociatioforFreedom of Thought and Expression "AFTE".
    Following the first batch , we got new websites blocked everyday. Aside from , Turkey-based SasaPost was also blocked in Egypt.

    The close to Islamists SasaPost used to publish very interesting analytic reports about military involvement in economy and politics in Egypt from time to time.
    It is really good website.
    SasaPost is not the only the Turkey-based website to be blocked in Egypt in that recent campaign.
    TurkPress , Akhbar Turkiya, Akhbar Al Aalm and Arab Turkey.

    Iran-based websites have showed up in that list as the famous Al-Alam website is blocked now in Egypt.
    Even Dubai-based Moheet News website was also blocked.
    The Tor project website was also blocked in Egypt making it hard for the users to download and use it.
    Nbad mobile phone news aggregator was blocked along with Doha-based Gulf Times.
    In late May, we found out that Daily News Egypt "DNE" and El-Borsa Daily were both blocked. It is worth to mention that their publisher Mostafa Sakr's assets have been frozen by the Egyptian government over alleged Muslim Brotherhood ties in December 2016.
    Sakr was already known to be designated as a terrorist since January. He was officially designated as a terrorist in the official Egyptian State's Gazette early June.
    Another even more interesting fact , President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi wrote two op-eds about the Egyptian economy and investment opportunities in DNE exclusively during the Euromoney conference in Cairo.
    Geneva-based Sinai human rights NGO's official website has been blocked and I think this can be the first time I have heard about that NGO as well the first time to visit its official website.
    I write this blog post and I read that there are more websites per day are joining that block list.
    It is getting more than ridiculous for real.
    As the Six day war 50th anniversary passed last week , I do not remind the people that we live in 2017 and not in 1967.
    I think one of the lessons that we should have remembered how the State-controlled media eventually harmed the state and the Egyptian army eventually as people lost their credibility in the national media due to the constant lies.
    It is not a big secret that President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi admired the so-called "Nasser" media that supported him in his career. That"support" was not a free one but rather obligatorily one. That support was forced one as journalism in Egypt was nationalized losing its freedom of expression. That "support" was actually a cheap propaganda that glorified the ruler of Egypt as if he were god who cannot be accountable for anyone.
    That support made the Egyptian people lose their confidence in the local media and search for the truth in foreign media outlets.
    I do not need to say that but it is getting ridiculous.
    We are not the Gulf , We are Egypt and this is 2017 and not 1967.

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    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.

    Sit-in in Syndicate
    The sit-in at the Journalists Syndicate earlier "Mohamed El-Raay"
    A couple of political parties have declared their members would start a sit-in at their headquarters to object the deal and it is being passed in the House of Representatives like Nasserite El-Karma and Egyptian Social Democratic party.

    Back to the ban list.

    Interestingly, the website of Sawt Al-Oma weekly newspaper has been blocked as well !!
    I am quite amazed because the opposition semi-tabloid newspaper has been acquired by non-other than the pro-regime golden boy and steel tycoon turned media tycoon Ahmed Abu Hashima in November for LE 12 million.
    Needless to say the editorial policies of the newspaper has changed completely since then to become Pro-Sisi !!!!

    This is the third printed newspaper in Egypt to have its website to be blocked in less than two months !!
    Now, most of the websites of Qatari and Muslim Brotherhood are blocked. Most famous Turkish websites including the Pro-Golen sites ironically are blocked too. Anyhow, I think the current wave of blocks will include websites speaking about the how the Isles of Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian !!

    It is just sad and frustrating.

    Up till now, there has been no official statement for real about the ban of those websites. We got only anonymous quoted sources speaking to Egypt's State-owned news agency in MENA from several weeks ago with the first batch of websites.

    The National Telecom Regulatory Authority "NTRA" has not issued a single statement about that blocking spree.

    I do not know how many websites to be blocked they tomorrow.
    Many people fear that the ban may include the social media networks like Twitter and Facebook. I share their fear.

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    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

    Episode 390 or The Eighteenth Night

    Episode 391 or The nineteenth Night

    Have a Pleasant night and the islands of Tiran and Sanafir are Egyptian. 😉✌🏻

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    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.

    The final word for the Supreme Constitutional Court will be on 30 July.
    This is the newest episode of judicial dispute about the two islands.
    I did not know before that Supreme Constitution stays up and works in Ramadan till the early hour.
    We do not know what will happen next.
    Most people predict that the government will ignore the Supreme Constitutional court's upcoming verdict.
    President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi can hand over the islands to the Saudis but he won't face only an angry population but also a state on the verge of dysfunctionality.

    Now, you got the legislative branch standing against the judicial branch in the state over something critical like handing over the islands.
    Historically, this is not the first time that clash happens between the two state branches.
    It happened before during Mubarak's time when the courts dissolved the parliament over fraud votes and the People's Assembly as well the government ignored.
    Also, it did not reach to the level of giving up territories, we are speaking a forbidden zone.
    Long time People's Assembly speaker Fathy Serror with all his corruption did not dare to insult judiciary in the face like HOR's speaker Ali Abdel Aal.
    Ali Abdel Aal, Originally a Constitutional professor law said earlier this week that the High Administrative Court's ruling was nothing.
    That claim angered the judiciary and we find the State Council firing back with a strong statement.

    You know in the past few days, I did not know what to write exactly on the 50th anniversary of the six days war defeat because I feel that we as Egyptians as well as Arabs did not learn a single thing from it after all those decades.

    I thought at first to write about this disgusting Gulf internal fight taking place but then came Tiran and Sanafir's parliament approval like a slap in the face.
    Needless to say, many people from my generation feel that we are living the same feeling our parents lived in 1967 and even worse. At least in 1967 it was a war and the land was taken from us in an unequal fight, we did not fight at all. On the other had in 2017, We find the Egyptian government giving two important strategically Islands to Saudi Arabia supported by the parliament in an illegal and an unconstitutional way as well in a very bad economic time and at the time of the war on terrorism.

    Unlike that young generation of 1967 who was frustrated in that long and sad summer after realizing the farce, it was living , my generation warned other generations that this would happen but no one listened.

    With all the challenges we have got in Egypt from economy, terrorism, social justice, political reforms and freedom of expression to an ever-changing region to restoring back Tiran and Sanafir peacefully, it seems that restoring the land after 1967 through war and peace was much easier.

    May God have mercy on our souls

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    Whoever runs this ongoing online censorship latest crackdown does not want to stop !!
    Now the number of blocked websites in Egypt jumped from 65 in the past 48 hours to 77 according to the Human rights law firm "Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression on Friday.

    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 namFacebookn 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 !!!!

    Newly launched Madaad has joined the list. It is not a big surprise to me or others. Since day one,, there was an expectation that the Nasserite news website affiliated with former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabhi and his Popular Current Movement would be blocked because of its Tiran and Sanafir coverage.

    Earlier this month, the new website made an interview with the commander of paratroops division in the Egyptian arm in 1967, former Major General Abdel Moneim Khalil who spoke about the Tiran Island Egyptian POWs for the first time.
    The website also made an excellent historical investigative report "which I envy" about the Egyptian POWs captured on that island and two of them were killed proved the current regime wrong. The current regime claims that we did not the price of blood on those two islands. I know this cliché but pardon me because I get emotional here.

    I did not visit Cairo-based or even know its true affiliation which I assume Islamist but I found out that the website published a news report about the documents proving the Egypianhood of that two islands of Tiran and Sanafir.
    Once again we are back with Signal Messaging app and the Egyptian government.
    Now, its official website "Open Whisper Systems" was reportedly blocked Friday night. Interestingly, the Signal service is still working. You do not need its official website to download it ironically. You can download it easily from App store whether on iOS or on Android !!

    Egyptian El-Sabah's First page
    Egyptian El-Sabah's First page
    Interestingly earlier Friday, all the websites that have been blocked since May were unblocked for few hours.
    It seemed that whoever runs that show decided to test some new setting or chose some option and unblocked the websites accidentally in that expensive blocking software.

    Again and again, there is a huge fear that the next move will be the social media networks especially Facebook as many of those blocked websites began to use it to publish its reports and article like Mada Masr.

    Personally, I believe now the regime won't block the social media especially Facebook because it is a major instrument to spread its propaganda and fake news.

    By the way , the weekly issued of El-Sabah newspaper which is owned by businessman Ahmed Bahget was not printed on Friday because the Front Page of the newspaper had one word "Egyptian" in reference to the two islands with photo of legendary actor Mahmoud El-Milgy in his iconic role "Abu Swelam" in 1970-film "The land"

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    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. 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.

    Well, there is no doubt that the whole Opera Square was doomed after that huge fire that destroyed the Khedival Opera House in the mid-1980s in strange circumstances.

    Here is an old photo for "Opera" Cinema after the grand fire of Cairo in 1952 whom we have not known officially who was behind it until this day !!
    Cinema Opera in 1952
    "Opera" Cinema was showing the When Worlds Collide 
    during the grand fire of Cairo

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    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

    Episode 394 or the twenty-second night

    Episode 395 or the twenty-third night

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    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
    I believe the source of those millions is the textile factories. Yes, Syrian textile factories that found a huge demand in Egypt.

    In 2016, there have been only 450 Syrian textile factories in Egypt producing fine products carrying the label "Made in Egypt by Syrian hands" and creating job opportunities for both Syrians and Egyptians.

    The success of that sector in our country made the ministry of the industry think of making a Syrian industrial zone in Egypt in 2017

    Both Pre-existing Syrian community in Egypt and the Syrian business association in Cairo played a huge role in giving support to other Syrians fleeing the countries with their money.
    Greek refugees in Syria in 1942
    ِAn old Palestinian magazine from 1942
    on its cover, a Syrian lady giving clothes
    to Greek refugees from kids in Syria 

    In other words , the Syrian refugees contributed positively to our Egyptian GDP and our Egyptian economy in very difficult and hard times.

    Both the Egyptian and Turkish markets have been open to Syrian businessmen and investors who hired nationals as well Syrians than other countries in the Middle East region.

    The report says Egypt and Turkey allow Syrians to provide services to other Syrians like teachers and doctors.
    The Egyptian government allowed 2,000 Syrian teachers to work in Syrian community schools in Cairo, Giza and Ismailia governorates
    I must add that in Egypt, Syrian doctors also provide services to Egyptians as well especially dentists in October City and New Cairo suburbs.

    According to UNHCR in April, there are 122,228 Syrian registered in Egypt officially with the UN refugees organization.
    According to activists and NGOs, there are not less than half million Syrians staying currently in Egypt aside from the refugees who consider the country as a transit station to Europe.
    The highest number of Syrian refugees came to Egypt between 2013 and 2013.
    There was a decline in 2014 and 2015 but there has been a slight increase in 2016.
    FYI, the total number of registered refugees in UNHCR in Egypt in 2016 was 263,426 people.
    President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the Egyptian government claimed that the number of refugees in Egypt reaches to 5 million.

    The report also says that the unemployment rate among the Syrian refugees community in Egypt reached 20% compared to 13% of Egyptians.
    Now to the alarming facts.
    54% of the Syrian refugees community in Egypt lives under the poverty line whereas 26% of the Egyptian population lives under the poverty line.
    The labor force participation rate in Egypt was not available. I think this goes to the fact that many hire Syrians in an informal way to avoid work licenses ..etc.
    The unemployment rate among Syrian refugees reached 25% according to the report estimations.

    By the way according to the UNHCR report on Funding issued earlier June, the current funding gap for the Syrian crisis response for 2017 is $1 Billion only.
    I think both Saudi Arabia and UAE as well Qatar can pay this sum very easily instead of all those fancy weapons they buy. In fact, they can support the refugees and improve their lives and buy crazy weapons.
    Heavens forbid I ask them to help in stopping the wars they are part of it directly and indirectly.
    I won't even speak about the League of Arab States because it is a dead organization, only used by Egypt or Saudi Arabia now when it is needed.
    May God have mercy all the refugees around the globe.
    Anyhow, all I want to say to the right wing all over the world especially in Europe and North America that the Syrian refugees won't steal your jobs as they will create their own jobs if you allow them.

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    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

    Episode 398 or Twenty-Sixth night

    Episode 399 or Twenty-Seventh night

    Episode 400 or Twenty-eighth night 

    We will continue our adventure with Princess Sea Pearl and her husband Hamal Al-Asya.
    BY the way, I think that that tale was recorded in the late 1950s and 1960s as part of it speaks about greedy landlords and poor farmers led by Hamal Al-Asya who decides to stand against the landlords.
    In the late 1950s , we had the nationalization and land ownership redistribution laws and radio became a very important tool of propaganda.
    Good night :)

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    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

    Episode 402 or the Thirtieth night

    I hope that you have enjoyed the episodes today.
    Thanks for listening to this Ramadan to Ramadan Arabian Nights 2017 and I hope that you liked it.
    Till we meet again with the Arabian Nights in Ramadan 2018 :)

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    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 3.65which 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 increasedfrom LE 3.50 per Litre to LE 5in another blow to the Middle class that own cars.

    The price of gas cylinders has increasedfrom 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.
    Already cutting or rather lifting the subsidies is part of the Egyptian government's 2014 five-year economic reforms plan approved and supported by the International Monetary Fund "IMF".

    When I search back in the news archives, I find that the original plan was speaking about lifting the subsidies in 2019 and not in 2017.

    Just from 24 hours ago, Minister of Petroleum Tarek El-Mulla told journalists that there was no firm date for the fuel subsidy but it is going to happen sooner.

    From what I see on the social media as well the people I have met and spoken with especially from the low working class and Middle class that people are angry and frustrated.

    Ironically, Egypt's PM Sherif Ismail claims that the people are satisfied with those energy subsidies cut adding that they were 15-years late.

    It is true that IMF was trying to force Mubarak to scrap the subsidies but he was much wiser and knew doing such thing would open the doors of hell for real in Egypt.
    I thought it was going to happen next week honestly after El-Mulla's statement.
    I thought that the regime would wait for a while till the people forgot Tiran and Sanafir isles scandal to shock them with the subsidies cut.
    Just an hour before the last Iftar of Ramadan this year on Saturday, President Sisi ratified the April 2016 Egyptian-Saudi maritime demarcation that hands the two Egyptian Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia with no respect what so ever to the court rulings over those islands.
    One hell of a week indeed !!!

    This is more than ridiculous for real !!
    The regime always chooses perfect timing for its shocking unpopular wrong decisions in the holidays and weekends to make sure that people won't move a muscle !!
    As usual, the mainstream media is putting all the blame on the Prime Minister and the ministers of the cabinet instead of blaming the President.
    The president will address the public on Friday on the occasion of 30 June and the ouster of Mohamed Morsi.

    Instead of speaking about the new increase in fuel prices and subsidies cuts as well their effect on the daily life of Egyptians, the TV channels got that "30 June Revolution" anniversary logo while broadcasting their normal program as if nothing has changed.

    This will be a long hot summer indeed.

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    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.

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    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.

    Published in Al-Ahram Newspaper in
    September 1952, Nabulsi Soap got a new name 
    Famous public figures from actors and singers like Um Kalthom used to appear in its advertisements. Yes, the legendary Um Kalthom used to Nabulsi Shaheen or rather Nabulsi Farouk's girl.
    Thuma and Nabulsi Farouk
    Ms. Um Kathloum uses Nabulsi Farouk 

    Thuma and Nabulsi Farouk
    A-not-so flattering photo for Thuma where she praises
    Nabulsi Farouk. The price of the soap was 8 piasters then
    I do not think that after the 1952 July coup Um Kalthoum appeared in their ads.
    Here is an ad from the late 1950s

    Nabulsi Shaheen soap is still sold and its factory is still operating and actually exports to other Arab countries.
    A family business, the owners of Nabulsi Shaheen did not live famous Al-Azhar district and headed to another place.
    Since 1926, their soap factory was located at 18th Al-Azhar street but they moved years later to a bigger building at 75th Al-Azhar street.
    The old ad
    The old ad showing the old factory

    Here is Nabulsi Shaheen's  official Facebook page.
    Currently, I think it is the only Nabulsi soap local brand that survived all that time. 

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    The main way to get the mainland

    The main way to get to the mainland in the islands is through boats and ferries.

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  • 07/20/17--17:23: Warraq Mainland [Flickr]
  • Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Warraq Mainland

    From the island , you can see the other side of the Nile bank in Giza governorate : Warraq mainland and its informal buildings violating laws

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    The Under-construction bridge on the Nile

    "The Rod El-Farg axis" bridge under-construction passing through Warraq island and connecting with the mainland for the first time.

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egyptian police speed boat outside the island

    Since the clashes with security forces on Sunday , Egypt's Water bodies police has been circulating the island in some sort of a besiege

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    Kodak Agfa posted a photo:

    Egypt's Warrq island overview in the Nile

    An overview for Warraq island from Giza's side

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    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.
    Early Monday 17 July, news came from the island that Water bodies police stopped the ferries on the island and it was technically under siege. At the same time, Egypt’s interior ministry announced that it arrested about 13 people from the island for riots and incitement of violence.

    At 12 PM or 1 PM on the same day, news came that ferries returned to operate.
    As soon as I heard the news, I took my camera and headed to the island for work and to see what is happening.
    Things were normal in Imbaba but when you could see the entrance of Warraq mainland a Central security forces “CSF" vehicle ready for anything. At the ferry dock, there were couple low ranking police officers setting away from the public, from island residents.

    The Islanders were angry and sad but quiet. They were all whispering about how the island was besieged for hours and only then they were able to go to the mainland to bring food.
    In the way to the island, you could see very well how the Water bodies police speed boats were circulating the island. You can also see that huge bridge under construction connecting Cairo and Giza passing through the island.
    Egyptian police speed boat outside the island
    Egypt's water bodies circulating the island on Monday 
    At the Ferry’s dock, I found one of the island elderly speaking to the media surrounded by angry residents. I met with that old man and he explained to me everything.

     A former head of Warraq island local council for 17 years, Mr. Yahia El-Maghraby was angry from the TV channels and State-owned newspapers yet he was and is still keen to explain to anyone about what was happening.
    According to him, what happened 24 hours earlier was an escalation for something being prepared a month earlier.

    Things began to accelerate more and more in June as President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi spoke about the island indirectly claiming that the people there lived and built their homes illegally and their sewage was directed into the Nile in one of his conferences.
    He also stated in his word that he had a plan to turn Nile islands into financial centers.

    In the same month, PM Sherif Ismail issued his decree to exclude 17 Nile islands from a-1998 decree recognizing them as natural reserves.
    The decree
    The decree to exclude the islands
    To refute the claims of the government, two MPs representing Warraq presented to the House of Representatives copies of documents that prove the land ownership of the locals there.
    They also arranged a meeting between the locals and officials in Ramadan.

    In the early morning of July 17th, the islanders found them in front of huge security force made of the central security force and army units. The governorate workers came as well to evacuate and demolish houses on the island.
    Only 9 buildings were demolished as the locals began to stand in front of the bulldozers to stop the demolishment of more buildings.
    One of the demolished buildings
    One of the demolished buildings in the island 
    According to Maghraby, the clashes started as a verbal altercation between the locals and the security then the security fired birdshot as well tear gases at the locals who hurled rocks in return.
    The Warraq elderly as well other locals are still denying the government’s accusations that the islanders started attacking security forces with firearms.
    Following the death of a young local man, the security forces withdrew from the island whereas the locals went to the mainland to transfer their injured.

    They transferred 13 injured to 3 hospitals in Giza, Qalyubia and Cairo but next day they found out that the security forces arrested those men from the hospital accusing them of riots the day before.
    The locals did not know where those 13 injured men were till one of those detainees managed to call them and told them that they were detained at some Central security forces camp far away.
    Later, the prosecution ordered the detention of 9 detainees 15 days pending and the release of the rest.

    They also found out that Water bodies police stopped the ferries from working.
    Warraq is connected to the outside world through ferries, middle size old ferries.
    One family operates the ferry business on the island with 5 ferries only. They have got 2 ferries to Cairo, 2 ferries to Giza and one ferry to Qalyubia.
    The locals also got fishing boats. Originally, we are speaking about farmers and fishermen in Warraq despite the poor modernization that entered.
    The ferries are the only route to the mainland where the islanders can get every thing from food, medicine and fuel.

    Only means of connecting to the Mainland in Giza
    Currently, the ferries are the only connection between the island and the mainland
    Mr. Yahia El-Mahgraby recounted how the students could not go to their resit exams and how employees and workers could not get to their jobs because of that “Siege”.
    The “Siege” was ended at 12 PM on the same day when El-Mahgraby called TV morning shows criticizing the security’s action.

    Sadness, anger and fear were the common factors when you speak to anyone living in the island then whether an elderly or a child.
    They feel angry from the mainstream media attacking them as well the government that neglected them for years and now wants to kick them out of their home.
    Warraq island is a very poor village. It has no real public service.
    They got two schools and a small police station. They also got a very small clinic that cannot help anyone. The water is undrinkable there.
    Aside from agriculture and fishing, its youth suffer from unemployment inside the island and has to find work in the mainland.

    Showing the house's ruins in Warraq island
    The underage citizens of Warraq at one of the demolished houses
    Nevertheless, I felt some sort of pride while talking to the locals there whether the kids or women or even those who lost their houses.
    Here are a couple of interviews I recorded in the island. It can give a glimpse of the suffering of the people there. Please, spread it.

    Mr. Yahia El-Mahgraby explained to me that old fight between the government and the Islanders over the island that goes back at least two decades ago.

    In 1998, PM Atif Ebeid issued a decree recognizing Warraq island as well a number of Nile islands as Natural Reserves despite according to the islanders, they do not have any rare plants or rare animals or anything.
    In 2001, Ebeid’s cabinet issued decree number no.542 which stipulated that the land of the two Nile islands “Warraq” and “Dahab” to be expropriated for public use.
    The cabinet then claimed the two islands newly emerged from the Nile following the construction of Aswan high dam in the 1960s, which is untrue.
    Ebeid’s decree was met by huge anger in both islands and they protested it day and night.
    Then in June 2001, Late Atif Ebeid stated in front of the People’s Assembly that the people in both islands who got ownership contracts would not be kicked from their land or homes.

    Once a bedroom
    Once a bedroom in Warraq island for a farmer to rest in 
    Nevertheless, the locals in both islands feared of a setup, especially that during then just like now rumors spread that the government would turn both islands into gated upscale resorts and compounds. They sued the government in front of the Administrative Court with the help of not less than 52 lawyers.
    The civil society and political activists during Mubarak had much louder voice ironically.
    In 2002, the administrative court ruled in favor of the islanders of Warraq and Dahab.

    Standings of what was once a house
    The demolished house with its door and small batheroom
    Now, the menace is back.
    “Why did they bring up this project again? “ Mahgraby asked me.
    El-Mahgraby also revealed that Egyptian state got only 60 acres, a thing which the locals confirmed to me over and over in the island.
    Those 60 acres are divided into 30 acres owned by the endowment authority and 30 acres owned by the agricultural development authority. The agricultural development authority leased 25 acres of its land in the island to farmers with officially registered contracts.
    There are 2500 families living in the rest 5 acres also with official contracts registered at the Notary office.
    “If the state wants those 60 acres, it can take them but it must provide a compensation to those families living on those 5 acres.” Yahia El-Mahgraby told me.

    The man was also insisting that the rest of the people in the island own their land and houses with officially registered contracts.
    “The president himself must pay respect to those contract according to the law and the Constitution,” said the elderly who is highly respected in the island.
    A grandmother of 4
    Shourkia, a grilled corn seller and a grandmother shows the contracts of owning the land of her son's
    Interestingly, Yahia El-Mahgraby told me how the State-owned Arab Contractors Company compensated the people in the island for building the huge Rod El-Farg axis bridge in their land. The company took about 14 acres.
    People who lost their homes last week are wondering why the government or the state did not even compensate them like Arab contractors Company. It is a fair question.
    The Under-construction bridge on the Nile
    The Rod Farg axis under construction bridge. 
    On Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi revealed his plan to Warraq island to be a second Zamalek island saying that the upscale island was better than Warraq because it had better planning !!

    In my interview with Mr. Yahia El-Mahgraby , the 73-years old man told me that the president was given wrong information. I agree, not only president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is given wrong information but also not all the information.

    Zamalek has been upscale because simply Khedive Ismail wanted it to be upscale.

    So far the people of Warraq are still glued to their land and refuse to leave despite the President and the government’s statements.
    Unlike in 2002, I would say that the Nile Islanders are fighting alone. They are just standing in front of Goliath as much as they can waiting for David or a miracle to help them.

    “Do you know what happens to the fish when it leaves the water? it dies, the same thing will happen to us, we can not leave it.” He told me and only time will tell. 

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  • 07/26/17--17:43: 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
    This Says a lot about Egypt' economic situation. Those LE 200 were going to be divided for the monthly installment of a refrigerator, a TV and a blanket !! Yes, someone could not pay in full cash for his blanket and had to pay it in installments.

    That bill was issued in time of Central Bank of Egypt "CBE" governor Farouk El-Okdah who served from December 2003 to February 20013. The LE 200 bill was issued for the first time in 2007.

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    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 :

    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 

    Its address has not been mentioned.
    The living room
    The living room 
    Its façade is not included in the ad but a photo for the door is included
    The villa's entrance
    The entrance of the villa 

    3-Katameya Heights villa: LE 240 Million

    Starting from the third place, we will begin to read more frequently “Katameya Heights” where there is a villa or a palace up for sale for LE 240 million in Egypt.
    The villa or Palace at Katameya Heights
    The villa or Palace at Katameya Heights 
    That 2,200 sqm villa is sold for LE 240 Million {USD 13 Million }.
    It is located at the upscale closed gated community Katameya Heights in a “very prime location”.
    The furnished villa has got more than 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms.
    The villa/palace's entrance and drive way
    The villa/palace's entrance and drive way 
    The website did not show the type of furnish in that villa/palace or whatever, empty rooms are only shown.

    4-Katameya Heights villa for price LE 230 Million

    Comes in the fourth place a villa with LE 230 Million {USD 12 Million} price tag. "It is not available anymore !!"
    It is actually identical like the first one in design and even got bigger space “4,200 sqm” but it is cheaper “Am I even allowed to use this word here ?” by 10 Million Egyptian pounds. I do not know why.
    The villa
    The villa 

    The villa's swimming pool
    The villa's swimming pool 
    Unlike the first one, it got an inner swimming pool.
    It is over looking the famous Katameya Heights Golf & Tennis resort.
    The overview of the villa
    The overview of the villa 
    The website does not show any rooms inside.

    5- A Competition between Sheikh Zayed and Katameya Heights villas for LE 185 Million

    We got two villas up for sale for LE 185 Million {USD 10 million}. The first one is in Katameya Heights and the other one is at Sheikh Zayed Suburb.

    Katameya Heights villa

    It looks to me a palace more than a villa.
    The villa
    The villa from outside
    It got one kitchen and two kitchenettes as well two swimming pools. It is fully furnished.
    It is amazing to me that the owners are selling it with its luxurious furniture.
    The doors
    One of the doors inside the villa 

    Sheikh Zayed huge villa

    Sheikh Zayed in 6 October district, an upscale suburb is Giza governorate is not strange on multi-million villas but LE 185,000,000  {USD 10 million } !! What is going on?
    The Allegria villa
    The Allegeria villa 
    The villa is located in SODIC’s Allegria. In case you forgot SODIC was founded by Alaa Mubarak's father in law Magdy Raskh and Alaa Mubarak used to have shares in it.
    There are no photos showing us the villa or why does it deserve this huge amount of money.

    6 – Competition between Katameya Heights villas for LE 150,000,000

    Suddenly, we got a drop in the price from LE 185 Million to LE 150 Million  {USD 8 Million}.
    We got two villas at Katameya Heights are up for sale for a price of LE 150,000,000
    Here is the first villa (1,150 sqm) with 7+ bedrooms and bathrooms.
    Classical interior of the villa
    The classical interior of the villa 

    The villa's exterior
    The villa's exterior 

    The villa's entrance
    The villa's entrance 

    Here is the second villa which actually is smaller (950 sqm)  in space and rooms  (4 bedrooms and bathrooms only) than the first one.
    Living room
    A living room I think 

    A balcony
    A balcony 

    The villa's swimming pool
    The villa's swimming pool 

    7- A Palm Hills Villa for LE 146,640,000

    We got back to 6th October district and we got a villa up for sale for LE 146,640,000 which is approximately also {USD 8 Million}.
    The Palm Hills villa
    The Palm Hills villa 
    This villa (1500 sqm) got two 2 elevators inside along with 6 master bedrooms and 9 bathrooms.
    One of the 9 bathrooms
    One of the 9 bathrooms is so small 
    It is furnished from Italy and you get a certificate guarantee of Italian authenticity of the furniture when you buy the house !!
    The kitchen
    The kitchen. I do not know if you get that red Kitchenaid mixer or not 

    Palm Hills compound is owned Palm Hills Developments company. If you remember Palm Hills Developments {PHD} was founded in 2005 by Mansour & Maghraby Investments along with their partner Mahmoud El-Gamal, who would become later Gamal Mubarak’s father in law.
    After the 2011 January revolution, there were questions marks and investigations about the huge masses of land given everywhere to El-Gamal and his developments companies whether in Giza or North Coast.

    I do not know about the fate of those investigations as they seem to be have gone in the wind. Interestingly when I checked the management page at PHD’s official website, I did not El-Gamal among the names of the board of the directors. I only found the name of his business partner Shehab Mazhar.

    8-Back to Katameya Heights villas and the price now is LE 140,000,000

    There are three villas in that exclusive compound up for sale for LE 140,000,000 {USD 7.8 Million}
    The first villa is truly classical luxurious one. When I showed its images to my mom, she remembered the royal palaces of Mohamed Ali. "It is no longer available"
    The villa at night
    The villa at night 
    The dining room
    The dining room 

    The second villa is not that classical. It has got 5 bedrooms and bathrooms with an overview of the Katameya Gold and Tennis club.
    Salon and dining rooms
    The salon room and dining room 

    One of the 7 bedrooms 
    The third villa up for sale looks so familiar like other villas.
    The villa's swimming pool
    The villa's swimming pool 
    It seems that it is the standard model in Katameya heights.
    The villa's kitchen
    The villa's kitchen

    9- Another Katameya Heights villa and the price is LE 130,000,000

    This time the villa is small ( building: 750 sqm) and that’s why its price is LE 130,000,000 {USD 7 Million}
    The Katameya villa
    An overview of the villa 
    It has not got furniture like other villas but it got a closet room with a window.
    The closet room
    The closet room 

    10-Finally another Katameya Heights villa for LE 119,000,000

    And our finale for the top ten most expensive villas is a villa in Katameya Heights villa which is up for sale for LE 119,000,000{ USD 6 Million }
    Katameya Golf Club
    Another overview for the Golf club

    The library
    The villa's library I think 
    It is fully furnished with lots of carpets as you can see.
    Too many carpets 
    I do not know why those rich people are selling their luxurious houses like that , are they liquidating their assets and are going to leave the country  because of the economic crisis Egypt is currently having.

    The prices in Egyptian pound are quite scary but I think that the owners of such villas do not want Egyptian pound in the first place as they want in dollars. The high US dollar price to the Egyptian pounds is the reason behind those prices.

    Now quick facts about Katameya Heights :

    • It has been the most exclusive gated compound Egypt.
    • Egypt’s Crème a la crème\VIP\Whos is who got villas there from Mubarak’s ministers to businessmen to officials whether military or civilian.
    • I do not recall reading ads for that compound or watching TV ads on TV channels about it like in SODIC’s Beverly Hills Compound or  Palm Hills or Talaat Mostafa’s projects.
    • Katameya Heights Compound was founded by New Cairo for Real State Developments Company which is headed by Khaled Abu Taleb and his brother Tarek Abu Taleb. You won’t find the names of those two men spread in the media like Shehab Mazhar or Hussein Sabour or Hisham Talaat Mostafa.
    • Following the ouster of Mubarak in 2011, infamous minister of house Ibrahim Soliman was accused in the media of selling directly the land of Katameya heights compound to the Abu Talebs for price less than its original value in mid 1990s in another classical corruption case. I do not know if the Prosecutor general had investigated those allegations or not.

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    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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    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.

    His 2014 elections rival Hamdeen Sabbahi got only 3.09% of the votes in a big scandal.
    Already Sabbahi lost a lot of supporters especially among the youth who considered him as a puppet whose only role was to beautify the Presidential elections in front of the outside.

    Leftist lawyer and human rights activist Khaled Ali said he may run in the presidential elections from a couple of months ago.
    After the Tiran and Sanafir lawsuit in courts, Khaled Ali became so popular in Egypt.
    Despite he won’t win except by a miracle in front of El-Sisi, he has a chance to rock the elections by raising important topics in the media that we are not allowed to speak about anymore.
    Still, Ali was dragged to the court over a finger sign. If he is convicted, he won’t be to run for the elections.

    From his self-exile in UAE, former Presidential candidate Ahmed Shafik refuses to give a definite answer whether he will run or not.
    He made it clear that he would announce his candidacy for elections in Egypt and not outside it.
    Shafik has been staying in the UAE since 2012. Despite he was acquitted from all the corruption lawsuits that followed him, he has not come home yet. It is unclear why he does not want to return back.
    Personally, I considered Shafik as a true rival who can take votes from Sisi so easily especially from the Pro-State/army/regime/police fans voters base.

    Despite no one has announced his intention to run for elections, the Pro-regime media is marketing El-Sisi as the only option for Egypt because there is nobody else can save the country from chaos like him.

    So far it is a-One-Man-show for real and this man is Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.

    The Pro-regime media has also begun to consider him the President forever after despite there is one obstacle standing in front of him when it comes to "that President till death apart thing"

    Constitution 2014 as an obstacle for forever after rule

    The current Egyptian constitution says in article no.140 that the presidential term of the President is 4 years only and that he or she may be re-elected once.
    Needless to say, there are calls for amending the Constitution “sometimes changing altogether”.
    In February, we found a couple of MPs from “Support Egypt” Bloc collecting signatures in the House of Representatives to allow Constitution amends in order to give the President more powers.

    Those MPs wanted to amend article no.226 which speaks about constitutional amendments.
    Aside of explaining the legislative procedures mentioned to amend the Constitution, the article stipulates the following :
    In all cases, texts pertaining to the re-election of the president of the republic or the principles of freedom and equality stipulated in this Constitution may not be amended, unless the amendment brings more guarantees.
    Those MPs wanted to amend that part of the article so they can amend article no.140 so the President may have 7 or 6 years as a presidential term instead of 4 years only.
    Their logic is that the Parliamentary term should not exceed the Presidential term. The Parliament’s term according to the Constitution is 5 years whereas the Presidential term as mentioned above is 4 years.

    Those MPs and the signatures they were collecting disappeared in the news but one of the MPs, Ismail Nasr El-Din made a comeback in the Pro-regime news on Friday calling Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to run “for the sake of the people in the upcoming Presidential elections”.

    It is worth to mention that in July 2016, the cassation court nullified Nasr El-Din’s parliamentary membership and yet he has been representing Helwan district in the parliament up till now !!!

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    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 websitesaccording 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.
    Ziada, a photojournalist and a writer spent more than 486 days in pre-trial detention in Egypt since December 2013 after his arrest in a student protest in Al-Azhar University.
    He was acquitted along other 12 defendants in the same case in April 2015. He was initially accused of illegal protesting and assaulting officers. Since his release and Ziada has become an activist who defends detainees rights and more vocal against the current regime.

    Another political website has been blocked lately despite it was just released recently somehow. This website is “Bel -Ahmar” or “In Red" and it is an independent leftist theoretical website dedicated to op-eds and leftist analytical pieces.
    It is not a news website but I think words like “revolution”, “labor rights”, “human rights” and “Military rule” as well the names of the writers from leftists terrified whoever runs the blocking show.
    “Bel-Ahmar” is founded by a group of veteran Egyptian leftists above them the veteran journalist and former editor in chief of Ahram Weekly and Ahram Online Hani Shukrallah.
    Leaving the leftist website, I do not remember if I spoke here about how football and sports website Kora Arabia was blocked.

    Up till now, there has been no direct official statement or order to ban those websites.
    The head of journalists syndicate Abdel Mohsen Salama has not managed to lift the ban on websites like Mada Misr, Daily News Egypt and Al-Mesryoon that are operating legally in the country despite his promises before.

    The mainstream media is ignoring the whole matter completely in a shameful way. As the mainstream media has not covered the websites ban as it should in Egypt, most people ignore that there are websites that are banned.
    it is frustrating for real.

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    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.

    Now it is a reality they have to live it. I know that there is still an active group of Zamalek residents who are trying to organize themselves to protest and to stop the project. I wish them luck.

    The project started last week and the traffic has become a living hell already.

    Needless to say the Zamalek people are angry. My aunt was there last week doing some shopping and she overheard the one of Zamalek ladies speaking with the shopkeeper complaining about the traffic changes in the small island.

    My aunt told me that the lady accused the president and his government of "closing down" Zamalek to force the foreign embassies there to leave it and head to the New administrative capital built in New Cairo.

    It is true that the New Administrative Capital got a special embassies area.
    It seems that President Sisi began to lose his popularity among Zamalek ladies after all.

    Sadly, those ladies who cheered and supported him massively now can not organize one big protest for the sake of their island thanks to the protest law !! 

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    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

    Well , last week those people returned to the scene boldly.

    On Thursday , a 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 to 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 another ones reelection only.

    Ismail Serg El-Din wants to amend article no.190 concerning the duties of the State Council.

    Oh yes , the State Council which is currently in odds  with President Abdel Fattah and his administration.

    Article No.190 stipulates the following :

    The State Council is an independent judicial body that is exclusively competent to adjudicate in administrative disputes, disciplinary cases and appeals, and disputes pertaining to its decisions. It also solely competent to issue opinions on the legal issues of bodies to be determined by law, review and draft bills and resolutions of a legislative character, and review draft contracts to which the state or any public entity is a party.Other competencies are to be determined by law.

    Now the MP wants to have a very small amendment to that article which will have a bigger impact on the independence of judiciary and separation of powers in Egypt. He wants to remove the word “Solely” from that phrase which I have highlighted.

    I think according to that suggested amendment any other court in the country like for instance the urgent matter court can “issue opinions on the legal issues of bodies to be determined by law , review and draft bills and resolutions of a legislative character and review draft contracts to which the state or any public entity is a party”.

    I am not a legal expert but this is how I understood it.

    I think I missed covering the latest escalation in that fight

    State Council chose Judge Yahia El-Dakroury as a head of State council but El-Sisi decided to go on with his law in July and chose another judge , the fourth senior deputy of the Council’s seven-senior-most deputies. 

    El-Dakroury did not give the fight thought. In July , he filed a grievance with the presidency according to the law against the decision to bypass him for head of the council as the most senior sitting judge. 

    In August , He filed an appeal with the High Administrative court to suspend the President’s decree in another escalation that has not been covered as it should in the mainstream media.

    Anyhow back to the upcoming 2018 Presidential elections.

    Before Ismail Serg El-Din went public with his parliamentary petition , Pro-regime TV hosts and journalists showered us with Op-eds and news reports calling for amending the Constitution they originally supported.

    More MPs including prominent faces in the Support Egypt Bloc declared their total support to that suggestion.

    Interestingly, the Chairman of Constitution 2014 committee and former Presidential Candidate Amr Moussa appeared once again publicly defending the constitution and slamming the attempt to amend it in order to extend the Presidential terms in an official statement.

    He said on his official twitter account the following :

    The Constitution is a sign of stability in the nations, respecting the constitution is a sign of sophistication in the people’s political life. 

    Calls to amending the constitution in the year to elect the President raises question marks about the political maturity of those standing behind those calls. Egypt is in a need to deepen stability and not to spread tensions , it needs a respect to the constitution and not to doubt it. The constitution is not above amendments but it is wisely to choose a time that is perfect politically for the sake of Egyptians and Egypt especially in those hard times.

    This matter “The Constitution amendments” should be discussed by the society in parallel with smart politics before any move to suggest or officially discuss amendments.

    The Constitution should be protected by the Egyptian people especially by the House of Representatives which I trust to be responsible enough to activate the Constitution instead of amending it.

    In 2016 , Moussa and a group of Prominent figures including members of the Constitution committee announced the launch of “The Egyptian Institution to protect the Constitution” NGO to raise awareness about that 2014 Constitution against the calls to amend it then.

    During then , late  MP Sameh Seif El-Yazel stated that the articles concerning the President’s powers should be amended.

    Back to 2017 , Amr Moussa is currently being attacked by the Pro-regime supporters on social media claiming that he is a MB supporter !!!!!!!!

    I feel that there will be more talk and more attempts to delay the upcoming presidential elections.

    By the way the Egyptian Parliament approved in July a law to eliminate judicial supervision of Elections by 2024