Young Egyptians trudge through mud to clean up Nile

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Dr. Yasmine Fouad, Egypt's Environment Minister, carries bags of plastic waste during a campaign to clean up the Nile River sponsored by Egypt's environment ministry in cooperation with VeryNile and Greenish, in Cairo, Egypt February 10, 2019. Picture taken February 10, 2019. (Reuters)
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A volunteer collects waste and plastic as part of a campaign to clean up the Nile River sponsored by Egypt's environment ministry in cooperation with VeryNile and Greenish, in Cairo, Egypt February 10, 2019. Picture taken February 10, 2019. (Reuters)
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Egyptian youth volunteers collect waste and plastic as part of a campaign to clean up the Nile River sponsored by Egypt's environment ministry in cooperation with VeryNile and Greenish, in Cairo, Egypt February 10, 2019. Picture taken February 10, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 11 February 2019
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Young Egyptians trudge through mud to clean up Nile

  • The teens and twenty-somethings also climbed into boats to reach trash floating through the center of Cairo

CAIRO: Hundreds of young Egyptians, including actress Mai El Gheity, trudged through the mud on the banks of the River Nile to collect tons of old plastic bags, bottles and other rubbish.
The teens and twenty-somethings also climbed into boats to reach trash floating through the center of Cairo during the “Youth for the Nile” clean-up — a program backed by the government and other groups to raise awareness of pollution.
Volunteer Dai Soliman worked on as people watched from a bridge.
“Those people above looking at us must have thought that they threw something in, and now there are some people who are collecting their garbage. So this is awareness, it is direct awareness in action,” she said.
The teams, most wearing the scheme’s white boots and blue and yellow gloves, collected three to four tons of waste on Saturday, the environment ministry said.
A report issued last year by government’s Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency said 150 million tons of industrial waste end up in the Nile every year.
Similar clean-ups are scheduled in Luxor, Aswan, Assiut and other provinces through the rest of the year.


Palestinians to cut civil servant salaries after Israeli tax freeze

Updated 21 February 2019
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Palestinians to cut civil servant salaries after Israeli tax freeze

  • Israel's security cabinet on Sunday approved the freezing of $138 million (122 million euros) over the PA's payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis
  • Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would not accept anything but full payment of the tax transfers owed by Israel

RAMALLAH: The Palestinian finance minister on Thursday announced salary cuts for civil servants, days after Israel said it would withhold tens of millions of dollars in tax transfers to the Palestinian Authority.
Israel's security cabinet on Sunday approved the freezing of $138 million (122 million euros) over the PA's payments to the families of prisoners, or prisoners themselves, jailed for attacks on Israelis.
Israel, which collects taxes on behalf of the PA, says the payments encourage further violence.
The PA claims they are a form of welfare to families who have lost their main breadwinner.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas said Wednesday he would not accept anything but full payment of the tax transfers owed by Israel.
The PA, which is already running a deficit, will "pay the salaries of civil servants in time, but they will be reduced", said PA finance minister Shukri Bishara after a meeting with EU representatives in Ramallah.
The cuts will not apply to salaries "paid to pensioners and families of martyrs, wounded or prisoners", he added, adding that wages below 2,000 shekels ($550) would also not be affected.
Many Palestinians view prisoners and those killed while carrying out attacks as heroes in their conflict with Israel. Palestinian leaders often venerate them as martyrs.
Under a 1994 agreement, Israel collects around $190 million each month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports.
The money it then transfers to the PA is the authority's most important source of revenue.
The Palestinians want EU countries to pressure the Israeli government to rescind its decision, said Mahmoud al-Aloul, deputy of Abbas's Fatah party.
Palestinian leaders will take steps to "boycott Israeli goods", he said, adding they had already prepared "a list of Israeli products that have local (Palestinian) equivalents".