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


Algeria eases coronavirus restrictions, including travel curbs and curfew

Updated 08 August 2020

Algeria eases coronavirus restrictions, including travel curbs and curfew

  • In June, Algeria resumed some economic activity, mainly in the construction and public works sectors
  • The new measures include lifting a travel ban between 29 provinces until the end of the month

ALGIERS: Algeria said on Saturday it will further ease its coronavirus lockdown, including shortening an overnight curfew, lifting some travel curbs and allowing large mosques to reopen.
The North African country has recorded 34,155 coronavirus infections, with 1,282 deaths.
In June, it resumed some economic activity, mainly in the construction and public works sectors, and allowed the reopening of some businesses.
The new measures include lifting a travel ban on 29 provinces from Aug. 9 until the end of the month. During that period, a curfew will be shortened and will run from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. from the current 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., the government said.
Mosques with a capacity of more than 1,000 worshipers can reopen from August 15, though weekly prayers on Fridays, which are usually attended by larger numbers of people, will remain banned throughout the country.
The use of air conditioners in mosques remains banned, as does a prohibition of access for women, vulnerable people and children under 15 years, the government said.
Algeria ended a curfew and travel restrictions for its remaining 19 provinces in July.