Egyptian ministers, foreign ambassadors participate in bike marathon in Sharm El-Sheikh

Tourists enjoy the water on a beach at the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Dec. 15, 2018. (Reuters)
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Updated 27 September 2020

Egyptian ministers, foreign ambassadors participate in bike marathon in Sharm El-Sheikh

  • The bike marathon was organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities
  • It lasted for nearly an hour, passing through the beaches, tourist attractions, and streets of Sharm El-Sheikh

CAIRO: Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Khaled Al-Anani, Minister of Civil Aviation Mohammed Manar, and 30 ambassadors of foreign countries in Egypt participated in a bike marathon organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Sharm El-Sheikh to celebrate World Tourism Day.

The marathon began in front of the ministers’ and ambassadors’ residence and lasted for nearly an hour, passing through the beaches, tourist attractions, and streets of Sharm El-Sheikh.

The ambassadors enjoyed the marathon, with the German ambassador in Cairo suggesting that an international bike competition be held in Sharm El-Sheikh.

The ambassador of Cameroon won first place in the marathon, and Al-Anani promised him that he would be the first to see the new archaeological discovery in the Saqqara antiquities area early next month, when it would be announced.

Al-Anani and Minister of Environment Yasmine Fouad accompanied the foreign ambassadors on a private cruise during their visit to Sharm El-Sheikh.

During this trip, the ambassadors were able to take in the nature and sunny atmosphere of the city, also experiencing the rich marine life characteristic to the Red Sea waters in a snorkeling excursion. They also toured a number of nature reserves in the city and visited both the Sharm El-Sheikh Museum and Sharm El-Sheikh International Hospital.

The ministers and ambassadors also inspected the precautionary measures in place at the Sharm El-Sheikh Airport and the safety controls applied in one of the city’s hotels.

Al-Anani’s visit to Sharm El-Sheikh began on Thursday.


US officials: Iran sent emails intimidating American voters

Updated 22 October 2020

US officials: Iran sent emails intimidating American voters

  • Intelligence director: “These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries”

WASHINGTON: US officials accused Iran on Wednesday of being behind a flurry of emails sent to Democratic voters in multiple battleground states that appeared to be aimed at intimidating them into voting for President Donald Trump.
The announcement at a rare, hastily called news conference just two weeks before the election underscored the concern within the US government about efforts by foreign countries to spread false information meant to suppress voter turnout and undermine American confidence in the vote.
The activities attributed to Iran would mark a significant escalation for a nation that some cybersecurity experts regard as a second-rate player in online espionage, with the announcement coming as most public discussion surrounding election interference has centered on Russia, which hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 election, and China, a Trump administration adversary.
“These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries,” said John Ratcliffe, the government’s top intelligence official, who, along with FBI Director Chris Wray, insisted the US would impose costs on any foreign countries that interfere in the 2020 US election and that the integrity of the election is still sound.
“You should be confident that your vote counts,” Wray said. “Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.”
Wray and Ratcliffe did not describe the emails linked to Iran, but officials familiar with the matter said the US has linked Tehran to messages sent to Democratic voters in at least four battleground states that falsely purported to be from the neo-fascist group Proud Boys and that warned “we will come after you” if the recipients didn’t vote for Trump.
The officials also said Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration data, though such data is considered easily, publicly accessible. Tehran used the information to send out the spoofed emails, which were sent to voters in states including Pennsylvania and Florida.
Ratcliffe said the spoofed emails were intended to hurt Trump, though he did not elaborate on how. An intelligence assessment released in August said: “Iran seeks to undermine US democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections. Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on online influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-US content.”
Trump, speaking at a rally in North Carolina, made no reference to the press conference but repeated a familiar campaign assertion that Iran is opposed to his reelection. He promised that if he wins another term he will swiftly reach a new accord with Iran over its nuclear program.
“Iran doesn’t want to let me win. China doesn’t want to let me win,” Trump said. “The first call I’ll get after we win, the first call I’ll get will be from Iran saying let’s make a deal.”
Both Russia and Iran also obtained voter registration information, though such data is considered easily, publicly accessible. Tehran used the information to send out the spoofed emails, which were sent to voters in states including Pennsylvania and Florida.
Asked about the emails during an online forum Wednesday, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar said she lacked specific information. “I am aware that they were sent to voters in multiple swing states and we are working closely with the attorney general on these types of things and others,” she said.
While state-backed Russian hackers are known to have infiltrated US election infrastructure in 2016, there is no evidence that Iran has ever done so.
The voter intimidation operation apparently used email addresses obtained from state voter registration lists, which include party affiliation and home addresses and can include email addresses and phone numbers. Those addresses were then used in an apparently widespread targeted spamming operation. The senders claimed they would know which candidate the recipient was voting for in the Nov. 3 election, for which early voting is ongoing.
Federal officials have long warned about the possibility of this type of operation, as such registration lists are not difficult to obtain.
“These emails are meant to intimidate and undermine American voters’ confidence in our elections,” Christopher Krebs, the top election security official at the Department of Homeland Security, tweeted Tuesday night after reports of the emails first surfaced.