Egypt grounds kites for ‘safety’, ‘national security’

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Egyptian youths fly kites in the Saft el-Laban district of the Egyptian city of Giza, near the capital Cairo. (File/AFP)
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A boy flies a handmade kite on a bridge over the Nile River, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cairo, Egypt. (File/Reuters)
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Birds fly near kites flying in the Saft el-Laban district of the Egyptian city of Giza, near the capital Cairo. (File/AFP)
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Updated 11 July 2020

Egypt grounds kites for ‘safety’, ‘national security’

  • The ban was brought in “to ensure the safety of citizens after a number of accidents” involving kites
  • Egypt’s skies have been filled with thousands of kites as the hobby took off during night-time coronavirus curfews

CAIRO: Egyptian police have seized kites from people flying them after a ban by a northern governorate for “safety” reasons and a lawmaker’s warning they posed a “national security threat.”
Police seized 369 kites in Cairo on Friday, Al-Ahram reported, while Akhbar Al-Youm, another state newspaper, said police confiscated 99 kites and fined five people in the northern region of Alexandria.
The ban was brought in “to ensure the safety of citizens after a number of accidents” involving kites, Alexandria’s governorate said this week on its Facebook page.
Fines imposed for kite-flying in the Mediterranean city can reach up to 1,000 pounds (about $60).
Egypt’s skies have been filled with thousands of colorful paper kites flown by youths from rooftops and on corniches, as the hobby took off during night-time curfews to limit the spread of coronavirus.
But they have also raised complaints, including from an MP.
Khaled Abu Taleb, a member of parliament’s Defense and National Security Committee, said last month he wanted the prime minister briefed on the dangers of flying kites because they posed “a national security threat.”
The kites might be equipped with surveillance cameras, he said.
Abu Taleb was roundly ridiculed on social media in Egypt, where operating a drone is only authorized with a special permit.
A three-month curfew was lifted in June, even as cases of COVID-19 in Egypt continue to rise, with over 80,000 declared infections and nearly 4,000 deaths


Yemeni prisoners say they were tortured by their Houthis captors

Updated 20 min 45 sec ago

Yemeni prisoners say they were tortured by their Houthis captors

  • The men said they were subjected to physical and psychological torture from the first moment they were in jail
  • The torture included receiving electric shocks, beatings, sleep deprivation, starvation and mock executions

DUBAI: Six Yemeni prisoners recently freed from Houthi jails said they were tortured by their Houthis captors at facilities run by the Iranian-backed militia, state news agency Saba New reported.
The internationally recognized Yemeni government and the Iran-backed Houthis swapped 484 prisoners in the first phase of a deal to release hundreds of prisoners on Oct. 15.
The men said they were subjected to physical and psychological torture from the first moment they were in jail.
The torture included receiving electric shocks, beatings, sleep deprivation, starvation and mock executions, the report added.
The prisoners were also forced to admit to crimes they did not commit and were told their wives, children and mothers would also be tortured, the report added.
The freed prisoners said they spent months in overcrowded and dark cells, and then suddenly moved to brightly lit rooms, the report added.

The men suffered serious injuries, including broken bones and dislocated spinal discs.