Egyptian pound hits new record low despite Qatar aid

Updated 09 January 2013
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Egyptian pound hits new record low despite Qatar aid

CAIRO: The Egyptian pound slid to a new record low yesterday, only a day after Qatar threw Cairo an economic lifeline by sending $ 2.5 billion in aid to help it tackle a currency crisis.
Demand for dollars remained strong as businesses and ordinary Egyptians continued selling the local currency, fearing their funds would lose even more value after weeks of political strife and pressure on Egypt’s foreign reserves, bankers told Reuters.
Economists say the Qatari money might help the central bank, which has been auctioning dollars daily since the end of last year, to prevent a disorderly fall in the currency.
They say the pound remains overvalued after two years of turmoil that has chased away foreign investors and tourists, so the authorities cannot halt the slide as they struggle to meet demand for dollars, including for imports of food and fuel.
“Qatari support does help alleviate immediate concerns, but is only a stopgap measure, particularly if the central bank keeps auctioning $50-75 million in almost daily auctions, while also providing foreign exchange for wheat and refined oil imports,” Raza Agha, an economist with VTB Capital, told Reuters.
The pound weakened half a percent on the interbank market to around 6.51 to the dollar, near the bottom of the central bank’s permitted trading band. Banks grabbed almost all the $ 50 million dollars on offer at Wednesday’s auction.
The central bank has allowed the pound to slide by about 0.5 percent a day against the dollar since it introduced a new currency regime on Dec. 30, saying Egypt’s foreign reserves had fallen to a critical minimum.


Iran arrests culture ministry official over public dance

Updated 19 April 2018
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Iran arrests culture ministry official over public dance

  • Iran arrested a senior official after a video posted online showed young boys and girls dancing in public in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad
  • The video shared on social networks showed young boys and girls dancing in a shopping mall, where a singer was performing for a huge crowd

TEHRAN: Iran on Thursday arrested a senior official after a video posted online showed young boys and girls dancing in public in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, the judiciary said.
“The head of the ministry of culture and Islamic guidance in Mashhad was arrested for undermining public decency and disrespecting the laws,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online news agency said quoting a deputy prosecutor.
Islamic law in Iran prohibits public dancing.
The video shared on social networks showed young boys and girls dancing in a shopping mall, where a singer was performing for a huge crowd. The event took place on Tuesday.
Mohsen Afshar, a spokesman for the shopping center, told the ISNA news agency that a monthly draw is organized and a car given away to the lucky winner to attract customers.
According to Afshar the singer had the necessary “official permits to perform.”
The performance can attract 10,000-12,000 people, he said, including “some individuals whose behavior is contrary to the norms of the Islamic republic.”
But Heydari told Tasnim news agency that the mall was not authorized to organize such events.
Mashhad is a holy and conservative city where in 2016 concerts were banned by the Friday prayer leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Allamolhoda, who also told music-lovers to “Go somewhere else.”
Thursday’s arrest comes days after Tehran’s reformist mayor, Mohammad Ali Najafi, resigned after claims he was threatened with arrest.
Najafi had attracted criticism from hard-liners last month after attending in March a show at City Hall for Iranian Women’s Day in which schoolgirls performed a traditional dance.