30 May 2010
The European Union delegation in Egypt organised a festival earlier this month to celebrate Europe Day. A number of ambassadors, officials and special guests attended. Mary Fikry reports that Marco Franco, the ambassador of the EU delegation, gave a speech in which he reminded that 9 May is the day that Robert Schuman, the French Minister of Foreign Affairs 60 years ago, made a declaration that was at the same time visionary and ambitious as well as pragmatic and realistic, announcing the end of nation states in Europe. Schuman thus laid the ground for a united, stable and peaceful Europe that would emerge from the ashes of two devastating world wars. In her word, Catherine Ashton, High Representative and Vice-president of the European Commission said that Europe Day has become the symbol of a new beginning, a free and successful way of peaceful cooperation between sovereign nations, based on shared values and common interests such as peace, solidarity, democracy, welfare, and the rule of law.
The 8th Middle East and North Africa International Franchising and Licensing Exhibition (MIFE) opened earlier this month at the Cairo International Fair Grounds. Attending were US ambassador to Cairo Margaret Scobey and Minister of Trade and Industry Rashid Mohamed Rashid, as well as a number of prominent figures in the banking and trade businesses. MIFE, the largest franchising event in the Middle East and North Africa, is organised by the Egyptian Franchise Development Association and the US Commercial service. Nine American franchisers were present at the two-day fair, including Baja Fresh, Denny’s, Roundtable Pizza, Foot Solutions, FasTrac Kids International, The Melting Pot, and Golf Etc.
Surprise weapon cache
When Mohamed Ibrahim Marei, a US university professor of Egyptian origin, arrived to Cairo on EgyptAir flight 986 from John F. Kennedy Airport, New York, customs officials at the airport checked his luggage because he looked nervous. They found two handguns and 250 rounds of ammunition hidden in metal boxes. In a secret compartment in the bag, they also found two swords, five daggers and six knives. An investigation has been launched into the matter. The US Transport Security Administration (TSA), which is in charge of baggage security, confirmed that two undeclared firearms were found in the man’s luggage, but said there had been no security glitch at JFK.
Packing weapons in checked baggage is legal in the United States. When a passenger is flying internationally it is the responsibility of the passenger and the airline to clarify rules at the destination for the goods, according to US law. A US security official said the TSA’s job is to scan only for explosives, not weapons, in checked baggage, since it is not possible for a passenger to access the plane’s hold during flights.
Egypt and France cinema
The widest agreement to date on cooperation between the national centres of cinema in Egypt and France was signed last May during the 63rd Cannes Film Festival. The agreement includes joint production and finance of films, as well as comfortable terms for shooting films in both countries, and the exchange of academic expertise. France will contribute, through sending over experts in the field, towards establishing a comprehensive archive for Egyptian cinema for the benefit of the Egyptian National Cinema Archive.