Arab celebs slam Houthi missile attack near Makkah

Saudi children pick up a piece of the downed missile fired towards Makkah on Thursday by Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen. (AN photo by Ahmad Hashad)
Updated 30 October 2016
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Arab celebs slam Houthi missile attack near Makkah

JEDDAH: Thursday’s ballistic missile launch by Yemen’s Houthi militias toward Makkah has been denounced by celebrities from the world of Arab entertainment
The rocket was intercepted and downed by Saudi ground forces 65 km from the holy city and since then the heinous crime has drawn global condemnation.
Among those who slammed the attack in the strongest terms are Emirati singer Ahlam Al-Shamsi and Syrian musical artist Assala Nasri.
“May God destroy those who want to harm our holy sites and country. May God keep this country (Saudi Arabia) safe,” tweeted Ahlam, with a picture of the Holy Kaaba.
The popular singer who commands a following of 6.93 million fans on Twitter, also posted a second tweet with the hashtag #Intercepting_missile_launched_toward_Makkah, saying “O God, protect the country of the Two Holy Mosques from all harm ... May God save my family the people of #SaudiArabia.”
Meanwhile, Assala wrote, “May God protect Saudi Arabia and my family there. I love it (Saudi Arabia) as if I were born there, and I fear for it because it is my security and it ensures well-being for everyone.”
Mustafa Agha, prominent Arab journalist and head of Sports at MBC, whose Twitter page with a following of 4.36 million, is one of the most followed accounts in the Arab world, also condemned those who wished to destroy Saudi Arabia, “O God, destroy those who wish to harm our country #Intercepting_missile_launched_toward_Makkah”.
A Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels and forces loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh since March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognized President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.


Egypt offers residency to foreign investors

Updated 21 November 2018
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Egypt offers residency to foreign investors

  • A three-year residency is on offer for those who invest $200,000, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000
  • To begin the process for obtaining Egyptian residency, a preliminary contract must be agreed between the property owner and the foreign investor

CAIRO: In an attempt to further boost its booming real estate sector and attract foreign investment, Egypt will grant residency permits to foreigners who invest at least $100,000 in the country’s property market.
The growth rate of Egypt’s property market stands at 133 percent in 2018. This has been fueled by strong demand for housing, along with the sporadic launch of residential construction projects.
The minimum investment required to obtain a residency permit is $100,000. A three-year residency is on offer for those who invest $200,000, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000. The offer also applies to properties that are still under construction.
Khaled Abbas, the deputy minister of housing, said the procedures for the scheme are being set up in consultation with the Passport, Immigration and Nationality Administration.
To begin the process for obtaining Egyptian residency, a preliminary contract must be agreed between the property owner and the foreign investor, and then signed by an authorized body, such the Urban Communities Authority, the Tourism Development Authority or the governorate in which the property is located. Bank statements must also be provided confirming that the money has been transferred from overseas. The passport office will then approve the period of residence.
Members of the House of Representatives welcomed the announcement as a positive move for Egypt and an incentive for foreign investment, which it is hoped will create jobs and economic opportunities.
Whether the public will be so keen remains to be seen.
“This might be a bit problematic,” said Aly Salem, a resident of Cairo. “The housing demand in Egypt is already high, with the surging youth population and more and more people looking to get married each year. Where will they stay, if foreigners start swooping in and acquiring both residency and a huge housing unit with just $100,000?”
Offering further details, Gen. Kamel Amer, the head of the Parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee, said foreigners will not have any political rights for the first five years of residency and they will not be eligible to vote for 10 years. He also said spouses and children of investors will not be granted residency unless they live in Egypt.
Spain and Portugal have implemented similar programs in an attempt to boost their property markets. Previously, a foreigner had to live in Egypt for 10 consecutive years to be eligible for naturalization.
The new residency law is part of the efforts to repair the damage to Egypt’s economy caused by severe austerity measures imposed after the $12 billion loan package from the International Monetary Fund in 2016.
The cost and size of properties in Egypt, which are often large and lavish apartments, compare favorably to those in many other countries. Despite this, few Egyptians can afford to pay for a house upfront, but some private property developers are offering 10-year, interest-free installment plans.