Egypt court sentences 8 to death for attacking troops

The court in Ismailia issued life sentences Wednesday to 32 defendants and sentenced another two to 15 years in prison on terror-related charges. (Reuters)
Updated 07 November 2018

Egypt court sentences 8 to death for attacking troops

  • The court in Ismailia issued life sentences to 32 defendants and sentenced another two to 15 years in prison on terror-related charges
  • Military prosecutors had accused the defendants of belonging to the Daesh group

CAIRO: An Egyptian military court has sentenced eight men to death in absentia for their alleged involvement in deadly militant attacks on troops.
The court in Ismailia issued life sentences Wednesday to 32 defendants and sentenced another two to 15 years in prison on terror-related charges linked to the killing of at least 14 soldiers.
The court acquitted another two defendants.
Military prosecutors had accused the defendants of belonging to the Daesh group and plotting attacks against security forces.
The verdict can be appealed. Under Egyptian law, anyone convicted in absentia is granted a retrial once apprehended.
Egypt has been battling Daesh militants in the Sinai Peninsula since 2014. The extremist group has carried out attacks across the country, mainly targeting security forces and minority Christians.


Lebanon’s Aoun vows to tend to economic, financial reforms

Updated 12 min 54 sec ago

Lebanon’s Aoun vows to tend to economic, financial reforms

  • Aoun said this aimed “to guarantee political stability in cabinet and outside it and to secure the greatest amount of productivity”
  • He expected “the implementation path” to begin “with the start of October"

BEIRUT: Lebanon is expected to begin implementing in October a set of economic and financial measures agreed by its top leadership that will boost economic growth, President Michel Aoun said on Sunday, vowing that he would to tend to this himself.
He was referring to decisions taken at a top-level meeting earlier this month with the aim of reviving an economy that has been growing slowly for years and is struggling with one of the world’s heaviest public debt burdens.
After the Aug. 9 meeting, Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri said agreed steps included finishing the 2020 budget on time, drawing up a plan to start $3.3 billion of projects approved by parliament, full implementation of a power sector reform plan, and laws to fight tax evasion and regulate public tenders.
“I will personally tend to the implementation path of the decisions of the financial and economic meeting” in cooperation with Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri, Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and other parties in government, Aoun said.
In written comments to Reuters, Aoun said this aimed “to guarantee political stability in cabinet and outside it and to secure the greatest amount of productivity,” including in the implementation of the 2019 budget and its reforms.
Aoun said he expected “the implementation path” to begin “with the start of October after the conclusion of the current preparations ... which will lead to lifting of the growth rates, reflecting positively on the economic and financial situations.”
After years of backsliding on economic reform, the impetus to act has grown due to economic stagnation and a slowdown in the flow of dollars into Lebanon’s banks from abroad. Lebanon has depended on such flows from its diaspora to finance the current account and the state budget deficits.
Foreign governments and donor institutions last year pledged $11 billion in financing to Lebanon for major infrastructure at the so-called Cedre conference in Paris, on condition that it carries out reforms.
Measures to reduce the budget deficit and reform the power sector, which bleeds public funds while inflicting daily power cuts on Lebanese, are seen as two vital tests of the government’s ability to reform.
The International Monetary Fund said in July this year’s deficit is likely to be well above a targeted 7.6% of national output.
It said the power reform plan and a budget to reduce the deficit were “very welcome first steps” and “further substantial fiscal adjustment and structural reforms” were needed.
Aoun said work was underway to approve the 2020 budget in the constitutional timeframe.
It would include “new, resolute reforms” agreed at the Aug. 9 meeting to reduce the power sector deficit, improve tax collection and fight customs and tax evasion.
Aoun also said frameworks must be put in place for implementing a plan drawn up by management consulting firm McKinsey for revamping the economy and this should coincide with the start of projects outlined at the Cedre conference.