River Nile Is Threatened By Waste, Global Warming, Pollution – Environmentalists

In this file photo taken on March 21, 2018 garbage is pictured on the bank of the River Nile in the village of Abou Shosha in the Qina (Qena) governorate, some 600 kilometres south of the capital Cairo. KHALED DESOUKI / AFP


Early one morning in Cairo, volunteers paddle their kayaks across the Nile, fishing out garbage from the mighty waterway that gave birth to Egyptian civilisation but now faces multiple threats.

Egypt’s lifeline since Pharaonic days and the source of 97 percent of its water is under massive strain from pollution and climate change and now the threat of a colossal dam being built far upstream in Ethiopia.

Undeterred, the flotilla of some 300 environmental activists do what they can — in the past three years they say they have picked some 37 tonnes of cans, plastic bottles, disposable bags, and other trash from the waters and shores along the Nile in Egypt.

“People have to understand that the Nile is as important — if not more — than the pyramids,” said Mostafa Habib, 29, co-founder of the environmental group Very Nile.

“The generations coming after us will depend on it.”

His fears echo those that millions worldwide share about other over-taxed and polluted rivers from the Mekong to the Mississippi — an issue to be marked on World Water Day on March 22.

In this file photo taken on November 13, 2019, a fisherman tries to catch a freshly-caught tilapia fish in a boat in the Nile River in the village of Gabal al-Tayr north of Egypt’s southern city of Minya. PHOTO: KHALED DESOUKI / AFP


But few waterways face greater strain than the 6,600-kilometre (4,100-mile) Nile, the basin of which stretches across 11 countries — Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

No country is more reliant on the Nile than Egypt, whose teeming population has just passed 100 million people — over 90 percent of whom live along the river’s banks.

Surrounded by a green valley full of palm trees, the north-flowing river is awash with boats of all sizes for tourism, fishing, and leisure.

“All of us Egyptians benefit from the Nile, so cleaning it up is a way of giving back to my country,” said one of the volunteers, Walied Mohamed, a 21-year-old university student.

“The Nile is the main source of drinking water for Egypt. We have no other major rivers flowing in our country.”

‘Question of life’

Despite its importance, the Nile is still heavily polluted in Egypt by wastewater and rubbish poured directly into it, as well as agricultural runoff and industrial waste, with consequences for biodiversity, especially fishing, and human health, experts say.

Around 150 million tonnes of industrial waste are dumped into it every year, according to the state-run Environmental Affairs Agency.

Climate change spells another threat as rising sea levels are set to push Mediterranean saltwater deep into the fertile Nile river delta, the nation’s breadbasket.

Researchers predict the country’s already stretched agricultural sector could shrink by as much as 47 percent by 2060 as a result of saltwater intrusion.

Cotton, one of the most widely cultivated plants along the Nile, requires a lot of water.

Egypt also faces a nationwide freshwater shortage by 2025, according to the UN.

Already around seven percent of Egyptians lack access to clean drinking water and over eight million go without proper sanitation.

Hydrologists say people face water scarcity when their supply drops below 1,000 cubic metres per person annually.

Egyptian officials say in 2018 the individual share was 570 cubic metres and that this is expected to further drop to 500 cubic metres by 2025.

But aside from all the existing threats, there is another issue that terrifies Egypt’s national planners and has even sparked fears of war.

More than 3,000 kilometres (2,000 miles) upstream on the Blue Nile, the main tributary, thousands of workers have toiled for almost a decade to build the $4.5-billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, set to be Africa’s largest.

Downstream countries, mainly Egypt but also drought-plagued Sudan, fear that the dam’s 145-metre (475-foot) high wall will trap their essential water supplies once the giant reservoir, the size of London, starts being filled this summer.

Years of tensions between Cairo, Khartoum and Addis Ababa have even seen Washington jump in to mediate rounds of crisis diplomacy.

For Ethiopia, one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies, the dam is a prestige project and source of national pride.

In a country of 110 million where even the capital is plagued by blackouts, it promises to provide electricity by 2025 to more than half of the population that now lives without it.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has insisted the project will not be stopped, warning that if necessary “we can deploy many millions”.

In less belligerent but equally dramatic language, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the United Nations last year that “the Nile is a question of life, a matter of existence to Egypt”.

‘Renegade river’

For some farmers in Sudan, the dam promises to tame rainy season floods that inundate farms with silt and destroy crops and houses.

One Blue Nile farmer whom AFP visited in November, Osman Idris, said: “it’s a renegade river, it rises so fast”.

If its flow is regulated, “we can plant crops through the year”, explained the 60-year-old farmer.

“It will be better for the environment and for marketing our products, which means more income for us.”

For Egypt, the crucial question now is at what rate Ethiopia plans to fill the 74-billion-cubic-metre reservoir — Cairo demands it at least triple its proposed period of three to four years.

But experts also warn that Egypt must change its own water management practices.

“Egypt needs to invest in non-Nile sources of water,” said Jeannie Sowers, a political science professor at the University of New Hampshire who authored a book on Egypt’s environmental policies.

“This means prioritising desalination plants on the coasts… and improving irrigation and drainage networks,” she told AFP.

While steps have got underway on this, progress has been hampered by bureaucratic problems and economic woes linked to the Arab Spring protests of 2011.

Justin Mankin, a Dartmouth University geographer who wrote a study on climate change impacting the Nile, told AFP that “water stress will become widespread in the region, irrespective of rainfall increases”.

He emphasised that the “region’s governments must take steps to create water-sharing schemes and practices that can ensure a sufficient and equitable distribution of water over the coming decades.”

Meanwhile, the Egyptian volunteers push on in their kayaks and rowboats doing what they can to reduce the garbage piled up on the Nile’s banks.

“We have a treasure and we really haven’t taken care of it,” said Nour Serry, a Cairo graphic designer and avid volunteer.

“As Egyptians, we should be more attuned to cleaning up our Nile and the surrounding environment. This is our source of life.”



Egypt Kills 15 militants In North Sinai Shootout


Egyptian security forces have killed 15 suspected militants in a shootout in restive north Sinai, the interior ministry said Sunday.

A militant group was “planning hostile acts targeting military and police forces…in order to destabilise national security”, the ministry said in a statement.

It did not name a specific group, but said “terrorist elements” had been hiding in a farm in El-Arish, the capital of North Sinai province.

When forces approached, “the militants shot live rounds forcing troops to deal with them (and) leading to 15 deaths”.

Graphic pictures of the bodies of the alleged militants were sent along with the Sunday press release.

Authorities also said they found a small trove of stashed weapons including an explosive belt, several rifles and an explosive device.

The ministry did not specify when the reported shootout took place, but Sunday’s announcement follows recent military operations in Sinai that authorities say killed 118 suspected militants.

Nine soldiers were killed and one wounded in those “counter-terrorism” operations, a military statement said on Friday.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi paid tribute to the dead personnel in a series of tweets late Friday, describing “terrorism” as a “cancer still trying to kidnap the nation”.

In February 2018, Egypt’s military launched a nationwide offensive against Islamist militants, focused mainly on North Sinai, where the Islamic State group still has a significant presence.

Some 665 suspected jihadists and around 60 soldiers have been killed since, according to official figures.

Son Of Egypt’s Morsi Dies Of Heart Attack At 25


The youngest son of deceased ex-president Mohamed Morsi himself died Wednesday night of a heart attack in Cairo, a family lawyer said.

Abdallah Morsi, 25, suffered the fatal cardiac arrest while at the wheel of his car, Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud told AFP.

“A friend who was with him was able to stop the car and take him to hospital”, said the lawyer, adding that Abdallah Morsi’s funeral was set to take place on Thursday.

Mohamed Morsi — who as Egypt’s first freely elected president headed an administration loyal to the now banned Muslim Brotherhood until he was deposed by the military in 2013 — died in court on June 17.

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The military overthrow of Morsi was led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who ascended to the presidency in 2014 polls, before securing an official 97 percent in elections last year.

Mohamed Morsi, 67, collapsed during a court session in Cairo, some six years after his ouster and imprisonment.

He had been sentenced to 45 years in prison for offences including “inciting violence” in late 2012 against protesters and “spying” on behalf of Qatar.

Sisi has stifled opposition, particularly from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in late 2013.

17 ‘Terrorists’ Killed In Egypt Operation Linked To Car Blast


Egyptian security forces killed 17 “terrorists” on Thursday during an operation against suspects in last weekend’s deadly car blast in Cairo that claimed some 20 lives.

The interior ministry said the 17 killed belonged to the Hasm group, an armed affiliate of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi has called the collision between several vehicles in Cairo a “terrorist act” as one of the cars was loaded with explosives.

The collision happened just before midnight Sunday, when a speeding car packed with explosives drove against the traffic and crashed into three other vehicles outside the National Cancer Institute in the Egyptian capital.

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According to the health ministry, at least 20 people were killed in the collision.

The Hasm group was “behind the preparations of the vehicle” that caused the explosion, the interior ministry said in a statement.

It added that it had identified the suicide driver of the vehicle as a member of Hasm.

Security forces were able to “locate members of a Hasm cell” and killed 17 of them, including the brother of the suicide car bomber, during operations in Cairo and in Faiyum, south of the capital, the ministry said.

It was not immediatedly clear if the Hasm cell and the 17 people were directly involved in Sunday’s deadly collision.

Since 2016 the Hasm group has claimed responsibility for several attacks against police, officials and judges in Cairo.

Car Crash Kills At Least 19 In Cairo

People gather near an ambulance at the scene of an accident that took place just before midnight on August 4, outside the National Cancer Institute in the Egyptian capital Cairo. PHOTO: Aly FAHIM / AFP


At least 19 people have been killed when a speeding car driving against traffic crashed into three others causing a huge explosion in Cairo, the Egyptian health ministry said on Monday.

The car crash happened just before midnight Sunday outside the National Cancer Institute in central Cairo and also wounded 30 people, the ministry added.

Between “three and four (of the injured) are in critical condition in the intensive care unit,” Khaled Megahed, a spokesman for the health ministry, told an early Monday news conference.

He said they suffered from “several burns of varying degrees”.

Body parts were also retrieved from the scene, he added.

Social media users posted footage of cars ablaze at the scene and of patients being evacuated from the Cancer Institute.

Egypt’s prosecutor general has ordered an investigation to determine the causes of the crash.

Deadly road accidents owing to driver error and dilapidated infrastructure are common in Egypt with over 3000 killed in more than 8400 crashes in 2018, according to official figures published earlier this year.


Algeria Sink Senegal To Claim Second Africa Cup Of Nations


Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.

Bounedjah gave Algeria a dream start in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis, and it proved enough for the 1990 champions to lift the trophy on foreign soil for the first time.

“It’s incredible. The win is for the whole country,” Algeria goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi told beIN Sports. “We have to thank (coach) Djamel Belmadi. The situation was tricky in the past before he arrived.”

“It’s a bit hard to soak in right now but I think we’ll realise what we’ve done when we return home,” he added.

For Senegal, who lost to Algeria by the same scoreline in the group stage, the long wait for a first continental crown goes on as coach Aliou Cisse, the captain of the 2002 runners-up, again fell short in the final.

“We conceded the goal very early and on the whole I think we deserved to equalise but it didn’t happen,” said Cisse.

“I want to congratulate my players. We’ve been working together a long time for this Cup of Nations and we wanted it but tonight it didn’t go our way.”

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It was the first title-decider to feature two African coaches since 1998, with Algeria boss Djamel Belmadi completing a whirlwind 12 months at the helm after inheriting a side that failed to make it out of the group stage two years ago.

“Without the players I am nothing. They are the main ones. I suppose the staff played its part in guiding the players but they applied the instructions incredibly well,” said Belmadi.

With defensive rock Kalidou Koulibaly suspended for Senegal, Salif Sane deputised at the back and Ismaila Sarr was recalled in attack, while Belmadi kept faith in the same side that overcame Nigeria with an injury-time free-kick from Riyad Mahrez.

Gomis finally beaten

Senegal had understandably feared the absence of Napoli star Koulibaly, banned after two bookings in the knockout rounds, although the towering Sane was desperately unlucky as Algeria grabbed the lead with scarcely a minute played.

As Bounedjah took aim from 20 yards his effort smacked off Sane and arced high into the air before dropping underneath the crossbar and beyond a static Gomis, sparking delirious celebrations from both players and fans, some of whom arrived for the final on military planes provided by the Algerian government.

It was the first time Gomis had conceded in almost 400 minutes in Egypt having replaced the injured Edouard Mendy ahead of Senegal’s final group game.

Henri Saivet, who missed a penalty in the 1-0 victory over Tunisia, tried to catch M’Bolhi out with a free-kick while Mbaye Niang fizzed a powerful drive just over as Senegal gradually showed signs of life before the half ended with both sets of players embroiled in a scuffle as they headed for the tunnel.

Senegal thought they had won a penalty on the hour when Cameroonian referee Alioum Alioum pointed to the spot for a suspected handball by Adlene Guedioura, but the official reversed his decision after a VAR review.

Niang rounded an advancing M’Bolhi after a searching ball through from Cheikhou Kouyate but the forward sliced wide of the target from a tough angle, with the Algeria ‘keeper then acrobatically tipping over a rasping drive from Youssouf Sabaly.

The Desert Foxes started to look jaded as Senegal brought on fresh legs in Krepin Diatta and Mbaye Diagne, but Youcef Belaili nearly made it 2-0 when his cross brushed the head of a defender and skimmed the roof of the net.

Sarr blazed over on the volley as Algeria clung on to their advantage in the closing minutes, the final whistle greeted by an outpouring of raw emotion as the North Africans emerged worthy winners of the expanded 24-team event.


Egypt’s Sisi Meets Libyan Commander Haftar In Cairo

Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) meeting Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar (L) at the Ittihadia presidential Palace in the capital Cairo./ AFP


Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Sunday with Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, whose forces are fighting for control of the capital Tripoli, the presidency said.

“The president (Sisi) affirmed Egypt’s support in efforts to fight terrorism and extremist militias to achieve security and stability for Libyan citizens throughout the country”, it said in a statement.

Their discussion comes on the back of “the latest developments on the Libyan situation”, it added.

Sisi has been an ardent supporter of Haftar’s forces, which control swathes of eastern Libya and launched an offensive on April 4 to take the capital.

Fighting near Tripoli has killed 121 people and wounded 561, the World Health Organization said on Sunday.

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Haftar has defied international calls to halt his battle against fighters loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord based in Tripoli.

The military strongman supports a parallel administration based in Libya’s east.

Earlier this month, Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry cautioned that the conflict could not be solved militarily.

His remarks came at a Cairo press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, who also called for a political solution among all sides in Libya.

The Libyan commander has modelled his political style of authoritarian leadership after Sisi, himself an army general turned president.

Egypt has provided funding and arms to Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army, seeing him as a bulwark against Islamist militants.

Haftar, who was exiled in the United States for two decades, returned to Libya in 2011 when the revolution erupted, commanding forces that eventually toppled dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

The oil-rich north African country has been in turmoil ever since with successive weak governments in place and several Islamist militias battling for territorial control.

Fiery Crash At Cairo Train Station Kills 20

Firefighters and onlookers gather at the scene of a fiery train crash at the Egyptian capital Cairo’s main railway station on February 27, 2019. The crash killed at least 20 people, Egyptian security and medical sources said. STRINGER / AFP


A hurtling locomotive crashed, derailed and caught fire at Cairo’s main train station on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people in the latest disaster to strike Egypt’s rundown railways.

The country’s transportation minister resigned hours after the accident.

The train engine appeared to have slammed into the buffers at the end of the track at high speed, sparking a major blaze that blackened the walls of the Ramses station.

Firefighters were seen hosing down the charred wreckage of the locomotive as security forces guarded the site.

Twenty people were killed and 40 injured, the health ministry said.

Ahmed Ibrahim, a jewelry salesman, said he was on his way to work when he heard a loud explosion.

“I ran to see a lot of people injured. I had to carry a young girl with my own hands,” he said, apparently still in shock.

“I saw bodies cut in half. I’d never seen that … I never thought I’d ever touch dead bodies.”

CCTV footage circulating online showed the locomotive smashing into the barrier without slowing down. People walking on the platform were enveloped by smoke.

Separate footage filmed inside the station showed a fire engulfing the train and a nearby platform and people rushing to help the casualties.

Photos that emerged after the crash showed several scorched bodies scattered around the wreckage.

Several people were seen in videos running around and screaming for help after catching fire.

“I carried around 20 charred bodies to ambulances,” said Atef Ahmed Mahmoud from the Nile Delta city of Zagazig.

Growing Frustration

Later Wednesday, one person was killed and six others wounded in another train accident in El-Alamein, near the northern city of Alexandria, state media reported.

Egyptians have long complained that the government has failed to deal with chronic transport problems in the country, where roads are as poorly maintained as railway lines.

Officials often blame the rail network’s poor maintenance on decades of negligence and a lack of funds.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called on his government to carry out an investigation and hold those responsible accountable.

Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli was quick to visit Ramses station and promised a tough response.

“Any person found to be negligent will be held accountable and it will be severe,” he said.

Hours later the cabinet announced that Madbouli had accepted the resignation of Transport Minister Hisham Arafat.

People at the site of the crash appeared to be frustrated at the government’s failure to revamp the railway network.

“Is my fate to die (on the tracks)? It happens all the time … what do the authorities do?” asked a man travelling from the Upper Egyptian province of Minya.

The government has repeatedly promised to take steps to upgrade the sector especially after several derailments and collisions in recent years.

Egypt signed a deal in 2018 worth one billion euros ($1.14 billion) with a Russian-Hungarian consortium to deliver passenger coaches to the country.

The previous year it signed a $575 million deal with General Electric to purchase 100 locomotives.

Still, figures by the official statistics agency show there were 1,793 train accidents in 2017, up from 1,249 in 2016.

In August 2017 two passenger trains collided near Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria, killing more than 40 people and injuring scores.

The next year a train crash in the northern province of Beheira killed at least 15 people and injured dozens more.

Months later Egypt’s transportation minister sacked the head of the railway authority after train derailments including one that injured some 60 people in Giza.

The deadliest accident on Egypt’s railways dates back to 2002 when 373 people died when a fire ripped through a crowded train south of the capital.

Egypt Court Sentences 28 To Death Over 2015 Prosecutor Killing

A Cairo criminal court on Saturday sentenced 28 people to death over the 2015 killing of Egypt’s top prosecutor and handed 15 others jail sentences of 25 years each.

Public prosecutor Hisham Barakat was killed in a car bomb attack on his convoy in the capital.

Egypt blamed the Muslim Brotherhood and Gaza-based Hamas militants for the operation. Both groups have denied having a role.

In June, the court had recommended death penalty for 30 people in the case. It referred the recommendation to the country’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding legally-required opinion.

The sentences, confirmed by the court in Saturday’s hearing after the Grand Mufti’s approval, can be appealed.

Maitama Sule Dies In Cairo Hospital

Elder Statesman and politician, Maitama Sule is dead.

Reports say that he died in a hospital in Cairo, Egypt’s capital while receiving treatment for an illness.

According to officials of the Kano State Government, the Dan Masanin Kano as his popularly known  died at the age of 88.

The Commissioner for Information in the state, Mohammed Garba, says tomorrow Tuesday has been declared as a public Holiday for his burial, at the Emir’s palace by 4pm.

Maitama Sule before his death was a politician, acclaimed orator and diplomat.

In 1976, he became the Federal Commissioner of public complaints, a position that made him the nation’s pioneer ombudsman.
In early 1979, he was a presidential candidate of the National Party of Nigeria but lost to Shehu Shagari.

He was appointed Nigeria’s representative to the United Nations after the coming of civilian rule in September 1979. While there he was chairman of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid.

After, the re-election of President Shagari in 1983, Maitama Sule was made the Minister for National Guidance, a portfolio designed to assist the president in tackling corruption.

Amos Adamu Faces Two-Year FIFA Ban

Amos Adamu Faces Two-Year FIFA Ban FIFA Ethics Committee has recommended a two-year ban for former member of CAF executive committees, Amos Adamu, from all football -related activities.

The 62-year-old who was a member of FIFA’s executive committee was also fined Swiss Franc ($19,400) for various violations of code of ethics.

The former director general of the national sports commission has already served a three-year ban after being found guilty of asking for money in exchange for 2018 World Cup votes.

The suspension expired in October 2013.

FIBA Cup: Kano Pillars Lose To Al-Ahly

FIBA Cup: Kano Pillars Lose To Al-Ahly Kano Pillars, have lost 71 to 65 points to hosts, Al-ahly Sporting Club in the 2016 FIBA semi-final played on Thursday at the Al-ahly arena in Cairo.

The Nigerian champions who had started off well, would not be playing in the finals of the Champions Cup currently holding in Egypt.

Al-ahly won the first quarter 15 to 13 points but kano pillars fought back to take the second quarter 21 to 19 points.

But the Egyptians took the game beyond Kano pillars as they triumphed 20 to 17 points in the third quarter and 17 to 14 points in the final quarter.

Abubakar Usman was Kano pillars star player of the match with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 2 assists.

Bronze Medal Match

The Nigerian team would however play Association Sportive De Sale of Morocco in the bronze medal match of the FIBA Africa Champions Cup, after both lost their semi-final matches to Egyptian and Angolan opposition.

In the championship decider, hosts Al-alhy of Egypt, would face Recreativo Do Libolo of Angola.