Egyptian Cabinet to be reshuffled by weekend

Updated 06 May 2013
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Egyptian Cabinet to be reshuffled by weekend

CAIRO: The Egyptian Cabinet will be reshuffled by the end of the week, a state-run newspaper reported, pointing to a delay in efforts to revamp a government widely criticized for failing to get the economy moving and to conclude a much-needed IMF loan deal.
President Muhammad Mursi announced on April 20 he would carry out the reshuffle, generating hope of a more inclusive cabinet that could build political consensus around talks with the International Monetary Fund on a $ 4.8 billion loan program.
Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said on April 22 the reshuffle would be completed by early last week. A presidential spokesman said on April 24 it would be done “within days.”
The IMF has stressed the need for broad political support for a loan deal seen as vital to easing Egypt’s economic crisis but which is also likely to bring with it politically-sensitive austerity measures such as tax increases and subsidy cuts. Cairo failed to reach an agreement with IMF officials last month.
But Qandil is set to stay in office and Mursi’s most vocal opponents are not expected to be included in a limited reshuffle that falls short of their demands for a complete overhaul of the cabinet before parliamentary elections expected later this year.
State-run Al-Gomhuria newspaper on Sunday quoted sources in the Muslim Brotherhood — the movement behind Mursi — as saying “the reshuffle will see the light at the end of the week.” The sources said it had taken longer than expected because The presidency was seeking people with the right experience.
But Al Masry Al Youm, an independently owned newspaper that is critical of Mursi, said Kandil was struggling to complete the reshuffle because candidates were refusing to work with him. “You have to be a true patriot to take a job in the Cabinet now,” said Elijah Zarwan, a Cairo-based political analyst.


UAE to rebuild Iraq’s iconic Mosul mosque destroyed in Daesh fight

Updated 4 min 4 sec ago
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UAE to rebuild Iraq’s iconic Mosul mosque destroyed in Daesh fight

  • UAE donates over $50mn to reconstruct Mosul’s Great Mosque of Al-Nuri
  • The five-year project aims to give hope to Iraqi youths

BAGHDAD: The United Arab Emirates and Iraq on Monday launched a joint effort to reconstruct Mosul’s Great Mosque of Al-Nuri and its iconic leaning minaret, ravaged last year during battles to retake the city from militants.
During the ceremony at Baghdad’s National Museum, UAE Culture Minister Noura Al-Kaabi said her country would put forward $50.4 million (41.2 million euros) for the task.
“The five-year project is not just about rebuilding the mosque, the minaret and the infrastructure, but also about giving hope to young Iraqis,” she said.
“The millenia-old civilization must be preserved.”
The deal was signed by Kaabi and her Iraqi counterpart, Faryad Rawanduzi, in the presence of UNESCO’s Iraq representative Louise Haxthausen.
“This is an ambitious, highly symbolic project for the resurrection of Mosul and Iraq,” said Haxthausen.
“The work has already begun, the site is now protected... we must first clear the site, remove the rubble (and) document, before we can begin reconstructing the mosque and its minaret.”
The famed 12th century mosque and its leaning minaret — dubbed “the hunchback,” or Al-Habda, by locals — was destroyed in June 2017.
The Iraqi army accused Daesh militants of destroying it with explosives as Iraqi forces steadily retook ground in the embattled city.
It was in this mosque in 2014 that Daesh’s self-proclaimed “caliph,” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, made his only public appearance as leader. His whereabouts are still unknown.
Kaabi, the Emirati minister, called on the international community “to unite to protect universal heritage sites, especially those in our Arab region” in theaters of conflict.
The Al-Nuri mosque is named after Nureddine Al-Zinki, who once ruled over Aleppo and Mosul and ordered the construction of the mosque in 1172.
Al-Habda, which maintained the same structure for nine centuries, was one of the only remnants of the original construction.
Decorated with geometric brick designs, the minaret was long a symbol of the city.
It was printed on 10,000 Iraqi dinar banknotes before it became a symbol of Daesh rule, when the militants planted their black flag at the top of its 45-meter spire.
“This is a historic partnership, the largest and unprecedented cooperation to rebuild cultural heritage in Iraq ever,” UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay said in a statement.
The first year of reconstruction will focus on documenting and clearing the site, UNESCO said.
The following four years will focus on the restoration and “faithful reconstruction” of the mosque, its minaret as well as the city’s historic gardens and open spaces.