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Cairo to host first Global Voice Hall forum in Mideast

CAIRO: Global Voice Hall (GVH), a free membership-driven web-based social news platform, will broadcast its first Pangaea Forum in the Middle East on April 24 from the American University in Cairo. The Pangaea Forum is a live produced international town hall event that is live streamed in front of a live studio audience. The Cairo …

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A country of walls: An interview with Talal Okal

After 13 attempts to blow up pipelines supplying fuel to Israel and to Jordan from Egypt, a worsening security situation in Sinai, Gaza-based political commentator Talal Okal explains that it’s become difficult to maintain control over the area. In an exclusive interview with Bitterlemons International, Okal relays how this has affected residents of the Gaza …

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Kempinski Hotel Spa: A zen spot in the city

By Heba Elkayal The words “90-minute deep tissue massage” sounded like a lullaby sung by the receptionist when I called to book a massage for the aches and strains in my back, shoulders and feet after two weeks of travel. Carrying overweight bags, the experience of cramped sardine-class five-hour flights, 10 hour work days on my …

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Official displeasure may slow, not end Saudi stock rally

By Nadia Saleem /Reuters DUBAI: Stock market trading in Saudi Arabia could slow in coming weeks because of the risk that authorities may crack down on rampant speculation, but the market’s long-term uptrend is unlikely to be reversed, fund managers and analysts say. King Abdullah has ordered the Capital Market Authority (CMA) to take action against …

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OPEC leaves 2012 oil demand steady, pumps more

By Alex Lawler/Reuters LONDON: OPEC left its forecast for world oil demand growth in 2012 unchanged for a second month, saying there were signs that a slowdown in global economic activity is easing. In a monthly report on Thursday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) said world oil demand would rise by 860,000 barrels …

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France Telecom finalizes terms of Mobinil buyout

By Leila Abboud and Tom Pfeiffer /Reuters PARIS/CAIRO: France Telecom has finalized a deal to buy most of its partner’s stake in Egyptian mobile operator Mobinil for €1.5 billion ($2 billion), leaving the venture with 95 percent French ownership but significant Egyptian board and management presence. Orascom Telecom Media and Technology Holding’s (OTMT) shares jumped 5.2 …

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Egypt finance minister expects to get IMF loan by end-June

By Reuters CAIRO: Egypt’s government expects to seal a loan from the International Monetary Fund by May 15, allowing the money to be disbursed before a new president is sworn in at the end of June, the country’s Finance Minister Mumtaz Al-Saeed said on Thursday. “We expect to get approval of the IMF loan before …

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Egypt presidential candidate Suleiman warns of religious state

By Hamza Hendawi /AP CAIRO: Hosni Mubarak’s former spy chief said he decided to run for president to prevent Islamists from turning Egypt into a “religious state,” and warned that the country would be internationally isolated if one of them won the presidency. Omar Suleiman, who also briefly served as Mubarak’s vice president, said in an …

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Mali new leader sworn in, threatens rebels with ‘total war’

By Stephane Barbier / AFP BAMAKO: Mali’s new leader threatened to wage total war on Tuareg rebels and Islamists controlling the north of the country as he took the oath of office Thursday, ending a brief period of military rule. Dioncounda Traore, the former legislative speaker, was sworn into office in the capital Bamako at ceremony …

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Israel steps up campaign for convicted spy

By Josef Federman / AP JERUSALEM: Israel is ratcheting up calls on Washington to release convicted spy Jonathan Pollard, in a campaign that has reopened a long-running feud with its closest and most important ally. Israeli leaders say that after 27 years the former civilian intelligence analyst for the US Navy should be freed. But the …

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Yemen: Fighting in south kills 50 militants

By Ahmed Al-Haj / AP SANAA: Yemeni artillery and military aircraft backing pro-government tribesmen have pounded Al-Qaeda fighters trying to battle their way into a strategic town in the country’s south, while a suspected US airstrike killed at least 12 militants, officials said. The fighting near the town of Lawder started over the weekend when …

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South Sudan’s Kiir rejects calls to withdraw troops

By Hannah McNeish / AFP JUBA: South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir rejected calls Thursday to pull out from contested border regions, but said he did not want war with Khartoum, whose warplanes bombed a Southern town for the first time. Three days of heavy fighting between rival armies this week, the worst since South Sudan …

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Price-fixing suit hits as eyes turn to e-books

By Glenn Chapman / AFP E-books are the future of publishing, and the legal tangle launched this week shows how high the stakes are in the fledgling but fast-growing industry. Unlike the music and film industries which struggled to harness the revenue potential as people devoured entertainment on computers or mobile gadgets, book publishers tapped into …

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Ridley Scott teases fans with ‘Prometheus’ 3D clip

By Emma Charlton / AFP Ridley Scott gave a sneak 3D preview of his new movie “Prometheus” this week, the latest step in an elaborate promotional campaign marking the “Alien” director’s return to sci-fi, three decades on. First conceived as a prequel to the “Alien” franchise, the British director’s new project, set for release on May …

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Indonesian youth in the post-1998 era of democratization

By Michelle Miller May 1998 was a terrible and magical moment in the history of Indonesia’s youth movement. It was a time of deep social trauma and the start of the transformation of young Indonesians into agents of democratic change after more than three decades of living under repressive authoritarian rule. The political moment began on …

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Cyber war and peace

By Joseph S. Nye CAMBRIDGE: Two years ago, a piece of faulty computer code infected Iran’s nuclear program and destroyed many of the centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Some observers declared this apparent sabotage to be the harbinger of a new form of warfare, and United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has warned Americans …

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Golden rules for the Eurozone

By Harold James LONDON: The European Monetary Union, as many of its critics maintain, looks a lot like the pre-1913 gold standard, which imposed fixed exchange rates on extremely diverse economies. But is that resemblance as bad as it sounds, or as the euro’s critics insist? The appeal of the historic gold standard lay in an …

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Mosque growth study good news for Americans

By the Reverend Chloe Breyer NEW YORK, New York: You don’t have to be Muslim to find good news in a recent study on mosque growth in the United States. Co-sponsored by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), Hartford Institute on Religion, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), and Council on American Islamic …

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Admin court keeps alive Abu Ismail’s election hopes

By Sarah El Deeb / AP CAIRO: The Cairo Administrative Court has ordered authorities to produce evidence of whether the mother of an Islamist presidential candidate has dual Egyptian-US citizenship, something that could disqualify him from running in the May election. A new election law passed after the fall of Hosni Mubarak last year bars anyone …

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Court delays verdict on citizenship of presidential candidate’s mother

By Heba Hesham CAIRO: The court was yet to rule late Wednesday in the case of the Salafi presidential candidate’s mother’s citizenship, a verdict that will either disqualify him or allow him to continue with his bid for Egypt’s top post. Ultraconservative Islamist hopeful Hazem Salah Abu Ismail filed a lawsuit to oblige the interior ministry …

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Profiles of Egypt’s main presidential candidates

By AP The Islamists: Khairat Al-Shater Deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s strongest political movement, and thus a top contender. A behind-the-scenes operator, Al-Shater, 61, is the top Brotherhood strategist and a chief financier. Educated as an engineer, Al-Shater is a multimillionaire, owning or running a network of businesses, including investment companies, manufacturers and a …

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In post-Mubarak Egypt, it’s one ‘giant conversation’

By Dina Zayed / Reuters LUXOR: Scrambling down the tunnel of a 3,000-year-old tomb decorated with exquisite reliefs and hieroglyphics, watchman Abdel Rahman Sherif accosted a group of Cairo youths to berate them. “Why did you do it? You threw Hosni Mubarak in prison, you demeaned him! What for?” Sherif shouted at the group, for being …

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First president of independent Algeria dies

By Christian Lowe /Reuters ALGIERS: Ahmed Ben Bella, Algeria’s first president after the country became independent from France half a century ago, has died following an illness, state media reported on Wednesday. He was 96 and died at his family home in the Algerian capital, according to the state-run news agency. The son of peasant …

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PA to discuss amending political rights participation law Thursday

By Safaa Abdoun CAIRO: The People’s Assembly will hold an emergency session Thursday to discuss the inclusion of an article that pertains to banning members of the ousted regime to the already existing law regulating political rights participation. A joint session was held between the legislation and constitution committee and the complaints and suggestions committee after …

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Bahrain activist blocked from entering Egypt

By Sarah El Deeb / AP CAIRO: A Cairo airport official says a prominent Bahraini activist has been barred from entering Egypt upon the request of a security agency. Nabeel Rajab has been documenting human rights abuses in Bahrain during the island kingdom’s 14-month revolt by its Shia majority that seeks greater rights from Sunni rulers. …

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Court recuses itself in Al-Shater presidential qualification case

By Heba Hesham CAIRO: The court looking into the qualification of Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat Al-Shater to contest the presidency recused itself on Wednesday. “We demanded that the case be considered by another court because the presiding panel of judges announced its views on the case,” Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Sobhy Saleh said. According to Saleh, the …

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Protesters torch military building in Salloum after 2 residents killed

By Agencies CAIRO: Salloum residents set fire to a military intelligence building, blocked a major road and set fire to car tires on Wednesday after two people were killed in clashes between residents and army officers a day earlier, witnesses said. Protesters in the northwestern city of Salloum, located near the Egyptian-Libyan border, had taken …

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Egypt index pushed higher by Mobinil optimism

By Reuters CAIRO: Egypt’s benchmark index closed up 2.1 percent after a surge by mobile operator Mobinil on revived optimism that a deal for France Telecom to buy most of its shares will proceed, traders said. Orascom Telecom Media and Technology has tentatively agreed to sell most of its stake in Mobinil to fellow shareholder …

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Gold steadies as debt crisis looms over euro

By Amanda Cooper / Reuters LONDON: Gold steadied on Wednesday, after rising for four days straight, as the intensifying euro zone debt crisis threatened to undermine the euro and offset any potential safe-haven demand for the metal. The euro rose on Wednesday but has come under pressure in the past week as the debt crisis has …

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Dubai’s Nakheel plans creditor sukuk issue by end-April: chairman

By Matt Smith / Reuters DUBAI: The second tranche of a sukuk from Dubai’s Nakheel will be 240 million dirhams ($65 million) in size, less than a quarter of the expected value, after the property developer persuaded trade creditors to accept a huge discount on their original claims. Nakheel will issue further tranches, a spokeswoman said, …

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