Egypt wants CBS to drop El-Sisi interview on Israel cooperation: network

(AFP)
Updated 04 January 2019
0

Egypt wants CBS to drop El-Sisi interview on Israel cooperation: network

  • Egypt has been battling an insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula for years
  • Violence intensified following the overthrow of president Muhammad Mursi by the army then headed by El-Sisi in 2013

WASHINGTON: Egypt has asked CBS not to air an interview with President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in which he discussed cooperation with Israel in the fight against Sinai extremists, the US network said.
The network said on its website Thursday that El-Sisi — a former army chief and defense minister — made the remarks in a taped interview due to air for its 60 Minutes program on Sunday.
“Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi sat down with Scott Pelley to make news on 60 Minutes and did when he confirmed his military was working with Israel against terrorists in North Sinai,” CBS said.
Asked if this cooperation was the closest ever between the former enemies, El-Sisi said, “That is correct... We have a wide range of cooperation with the Israelis,” according to the CBS website.
Afterwards, the Egyptian ambassador to the United States contacted the 60 Minutes team to tell them “the interview could not be aired,” the network said.
CBS said it would go ahead regardless on Sunday and air “the interview Egypt’s government doesn’t want on TV.”
Egypt has been battling an insurgency in the northern Sinai Peninsula for years. Violence intensified following the overthrow of president Muhammad Mursi by the army then headed by El-Sisi in 2013.
In February, the security forces launched a major operation aimed at wiping out the local affiliate of Daesh which has been spearheading the insurgency in the Sinai.
The same month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would do “whatever is necessary to defend ourselves” after the New York Times reported that Israeli aircraft had carried out dozens of cross-border strikes against terrorists in the Sinai.
The Egyptians are battling an estimated 1,000 Daesh-affiliated extremists and are letting Israel attack them from the air, CBS said.
Egypt and Jordan are the only two Arab countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel, but relations remain sensitive due to hostility toward the Jewish state among their populations.
CBS posted on its website an excerpt of the interview in which El-Sisi is asked how many “political prisoners” Egypt is holding.
The Egyptian president, speaking in Arabic, replies: “We don’t have any political prisoners or prisoners of opinion. We are trying to stand against extremists who impose their ideology on the people.”
He also dismissed a report by Human Rights Watch that said Egyptian authorities “have arrested or charged probably at least 60,000 people” since the 2013 military coup that ousted Mursi.
“I don’t know where they got that figure. I said there are no political prisoners in Egypt.”
El-Sisi came to power in 2014, a year after he overthrew Mursi following mass protests against the Muslim Brotherhood leader’s rule.
Human rights groups say the former defense chief has since installed a repressive and authoritarian regime.


Apple details new magazine, news app at services event

Updated 12 min 14 sec ago
0

Apple details new magazine, news app at services event

  • The new video service is expected to have original TV and movies
  • Apple is pushing digital subscriptions as it searches for new profit growth

CUPERTINO, California: Apple on Monday laid out the details of its news subscription service, Apple News Plus, at an event Monday. It's also expected to launch a video service that could compete with Netflix, Amazon and cable TV itself.
The news service costs $10 a month and includes roughly 300 magazines and a handful of major newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times. Missing from the announcement were other major newspaper publishers, who have reportedly been wary of Apple's terms.
The company also said it is launching a credit card called Apple Card.
Apple is making the announcements at its Cupertino, California, headquarters during an event likely to be studded with Hollywood celebrities. The iPhone has long been Apple's marquee product and main money maker, but sales are starting to decline. The company is pushing digital subscriptions as it searches for new growth.
Apple is making the announcements at its Cupertino, California, headquarters during an event likely to be studded with Hollywood celebrities.
The video service is a long-awaited attempt from the iPhone maker, several years after Netflix turned "binge watching" into a worldwide phenomenon.
The new video service is expected to have original TV shows and movies that reportedly cost Apple more than $1 billion — far less than Netflix and HBO spend every year.
Making must-have TV shows and movies that are watchable on any device has propelled Netflix into a force in both Silicon Valley and Hollywood.
But Apple remained focused on making on gadgets: iPhones, iPads, computers and its Apple TV streaming box for TVs. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs began toying with the idea of building a powerful TV business, but he couldn't pull it off before his death in 2011. It has taken his successor, CEO Tim Cook, nearly eight years to draw up the script that the company will now try to execute.
"Apple is very late to this game," eMarketer analyst Paul Verna said. "Netflix has become the gold standard in how to create and distribute content, using all the data they have about their viewers."
Netflix's prowess has attracted 139 million subscribers worldwide. But Apple will have several other deep-pocketed competitors fighting for consumers' dollars. Amazon has also become a formidable force in video streaming. Walt Disney Co. is launching its own service this year, armed with an imposing library that became more formidable with its purchase of 21st Century Fox's films and TV series. AT&T is debuting another streaming service built around HBO.
Apple has plenty of money to spend, though, with about $245 billion in cash and marketable securities. It must prove itself attractive to Hollywood even without a track record for supporting high-quality programming and then ensuring it gets widely seen.
As part of its efforts to make quick connections, Apple hired two longtime Sony television executives, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, in 2017. They have reportedly signed up stars such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Aniston.