Archive for the ‘News’ Category


February 13, 2009 1 comment

By: Safa Abdoun.. February 8, 2009


CAIRO: After a decade of planning and five years of construction, in a grand celebration which marks a new era in the American University in Cairo’s history, Egypt’s First Lady Suzanne Mubarak officially inaugurated the university’s new campus in the presence of Egyptian and international dignitaries and key public figures.

“It is a delight to celebrate this historical occasion…after my tour, one word that would describe this campus is that it is ‘awesome’,” said Mubarak, who has received both her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from AUC.

“In these difficult times, I must say that this campus is a foundation for a better future as it provides an atmosphere of hope and achievement,” added Mubarak.

Mubarak also attended campus’ groundbreaking ceremony in 2003 and laid the first cornerstone showing her support to AUC.

“At the present, AUC has over 30,000 alumni since 1923 which have become leaders and innovators in every field around the world; scientists, philanthropists, engineers and occasionally a First Lady here and there,” she joked.

AUC President David Arnold described Mubarak as an embodiment of “the commitment to community service which we strive to build in our students.”

Mubarak hailed late AUC President John D. Gerhart and his commitment to building this campus. “I’m certain he will be proud [and I’m glad] his wife and daughter are here to witness the fulfillment of his dream,” she said.

The First Lady spoke of AUC’s history and how it produced “outstanding students,” noting that over half of them are females and 20 percent are foreigners. She also lauded the university’s role in fostering cultural and religious understanding through its promotion of international and regional dialogue. 

“As an alumni, a mother of an alumni and recently a mother-in-law, I find great pride in AUC students and alumni not only their academics but in their fulfillment of civic responsibility,” she said.

“Finally, with important facilities and the efforts of its stakeholders, AUC will continue to live up to our expectations and have an impact on Egypt, the region and the world,” Mubarak said. 

Also present at the inauguration was United States’ Ambassador to Egypt, Margaret Scobey, being “a steadfast supporter and continuing to hold a strong friendship [with AUC] as her predecessors,” Arnold said. 

Scobey described AUC as a vital bridge between East and West, and how it has more US students than any other university in the region.

“The US government through the UNAIDS has donated $270 million for AUC over the years in order to set pace for continued growth of the institution and make it more accessible for people throughout Egypt,” said Scobey, citing scholarship programs such as the Leadership for Education and Development (LEAD) which 270 students have benefited from.

The highlight of Scobey’s speech was a message from US President, Barack Hussein Obama, who she noted once said that “the only reason I am where I am today is because this country that I love gave me the chance at an education.”

Obama talked of AUC as a US-Egyptian partnership where for the past 90 years Egyptians and Americans have studied and researched together getting a unique educational experience.

“[This is a] science of understanding that will improve all of our lives,” he said. 

Another speaker was B. Boyd Hight, chairman of AUC’s Board of Trustees, who explained how AUC was initially “a dream of a few Americans a century ago to have an American style education in Egypt so that its students would provide a better future for themselves, their families and their country.”

“The Tahrir campus was temporary and their plan was to build a campus outside the city and today, 90 years later, we celebrate the execution of this plan,” he said.

Hight said they were first torn between the unique location at the center of the city and not having enough space to accommodate the facilities, which prompted the idea of the new campus.

He recognized the government’s role of helping them find this 260-acre land. “After we had the site, there was the challenge of raising the money,” said Hight adding that tuition revenues are never sufficient to cover a $400 million campus.

“People donated with the belief that nothing is more important to developing society than the education of its leaders…Gerhart, Arnold and [Moataz] El Alfi were able to raise $130 million from private gifts and contributions, and the UNAIDS donated LE 600 million, which is quarter the cost of the campus,” he explained.

Five different architectural firms from the US, Mexico and Egypt worked on designing and building the new campus, in what Gerhart described as “international teams, designing an international university for an international city.” 

The campus is designed to include an academic center, which includes the university’s 400,000 volume library and all the facilities for teaching, research and intellectual interaction; a campus center for all aspects of non-academic student life and also for conferences and public lectures; a residential housing for non-commuting Egyptian and international students; spacious indoor and outdoor athletic and ports facilities and a public bookstore.

“AUC has been an important part of the Egyptian educational, social and cultural scene for the past 90 years,” said Arnold. “Through our new campus we are becoming an outstanding educational institution with unrivaled facilities, which will benefit not only Egypt but the entire region,” he added.

In celebration of its official inauguration, AUC is holding a weeklong series of events, including cultural and academic panels featuring prominent speakers and intellectuals from around the world.


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January 9, 2009 Leave a comment


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January 5, 2009 Leave a comment

What’s Happening in GAZA…Does it worth ???

Detail Map of Norther GazaSunday: Ground invasionIsraeli military operations continued into their ninth day on Sunday with a ground war in northern Gaza. Israeli forces moved across Gaza fromKarni Crossing to Beach Road, closing all roads and splitting the region in two. There were Palestinian reports of fighting outside the former Netzarim and south of Gaza City. According to Palestinian reports, Israeli troops had surrounded Beit Hanounand were in the outskirts of Beit Lahiyaand Jabaliya refugee camp. The American International Schoolwas almost completely destroyed; up to five other schools were damaged by Israeli shelling of nearby targets. In Gaza City, at least five civilians were killed and many more wounded after Israeli rockets or shells landed in the market. Wounded civilians poured into Shifa Hospital, including some women and children. Hamas continued rocket fire, launching up to 25 rockets into southern Israel by Sunday afternoon, including the Israeli border town of Sderot, wounding at least three Israelis
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Thousands of Israeli troops backed by tanks and helicopter gunships surrounded Gaza’s largest city and fought militants at close range Sunday, the first full day of an overwhelming ground offensive in the coastal territory. Israel said it has inflicted a heavy blow against Hamas as it expands a weeklong offensive meant to stop rocket fire on southern Israel. But spiraling civilian casualties among Palestinians fueled an international outcry, even as the U.S. blocked approval of a U.N. Security Council statement Saturday night calling for an immediate cease-fire. Israel’s ground forces moved in after nightfall Saturday following hours of intense, fiery artillery shelling to clear the way, and Hamas warned that its fighters would turn Gaza into an Israeli “graveyard.” On Sunday, Israeli soldiers fought primarily in open areas in the launching zones used by Gaza’s militants to send rockets raining down on Israeli cities. As the troops in three brigade-size formations moved in, residents of those Israeli cities began cautiously emerging from bomb shelters in hopes that the rocket fire would taper off. Backing up the troops, mobile artillery units fired shells that exploded in veils of white smoke over Gaza’s urban skyline. Tanks pushed south of Gaza City as deep as the abandoned settlement of Netzarim, which Israel left along with other communities when it pulled out of Gaza in 2005. That effectively cut off Gaza City, the territory’s largest population center with some 400,000 residents, from the rest of Gaza to the south. Israel’s military chief said Hamas fighters were trying to draw soldiers deeper into Gaza’s sprawling, densely packed urban areas, where the military said militants were shielding themselves behind civilians. “You entered like rats,” Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan told Israeli soldiers in a statement on Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV. “Gaza will be a graveyard for you, God willing,” he said. Israeli forces have not yet entered urban areas, said Brig. Gen. Avi Benayahu, the chief army spokesman. He warned, however, that the operation was not a “school trip” and would be long and demanding. The ground invasion risks turning into intense urban combat, with house-to-house fighting, sniper fire and booby-traps. Hamas is believed to have some 20,000 gunmen and has had time to prepare. To guard against hidden explosives, Israel’s ground forces moved through fields and orchards with bomb-sniffing dogs. Since the ground assault began, 64 Palestinian civilians have been killed, said Dr. Moaiya Hassanain, a Health Ministry official. The new deaths brought the death toll in the Gaza Strip to more than 512 since Dec. 27. The tally is based on figures from the U.N. and Palestinian health officials as well as a count by The Associated Press. Five Israelis have been killed since the offensive began. One soldier has been killed in the ground operation and about 40 were wounded, some of them in heavy exchanges of fire near the militant stronghold of Jebaliya, a town on Gaza City’s northern outskirts, the army said. Heavy Israeli casualties could undermine what has so far been overwhelming public support for the operation. At one hospital in the northern village of Beit Lahiya, medics carrying three injured children in their arms rushed them to treatment. One of the children had a blood-soaked bandage wrapped around his head and covering his eyes. An Israeli shell also struck an ambulance in the town, killing a paramedic, said Marwan Abu Ras, a hospital administrator. The relief organization Oxfam, which said the ambulance belonged to a partner organization, al-Awda Hospital, confirmed the shelling. An airstrike hit another ambulance belonging to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza City, killing three other paramedics, said medic Jamal Hawajiri. That ambulance crew was driving to a Hamas training site where there were reports of wounded. An Israeli army spokesman said he had no information on the incidents. The Israeli army said it had killed dozens of armed Hamas gunmen, but Gaza officials could confirm only a handful of dead fighters — in part because rescue teams could not reach the battle zones. Condemnation of Israel’s ground operation poured in from the Middle East and Europe. “The violence has to stop,” said EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner. U.S. officials maintained their firm support for Israel and squarely blamed Hamas. Vice President Dick Cheney said Israel “didn’t seek clearance or approval from us” before pushing into Gaza. Sens. Harry Reid and Dick Durbin — the top two Democrats in the chamber —and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell all described Israel’s actions as understandable. “I think what the Israelis are doing is very important,” Reid said. “I think this terrorist organization, Hamas, has got to be put away. They’ve got to come to their senses.” Israeli President Shimon Peres said that Israel had to push forward and that a cease-fire was pointless without a halt to Hamas rocket fire. “Well, clearly, if there is somebody (who) can stop terror with a different strategy, we shall accept it,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We shall not accept the idea that Hamas will continue to fire and we shall declare a cease-fire. It does not make any sense.” Palestinians said the Israeli military broke into broadcasts on the Hamas TV channel, Al Aqsa, appealing to Palestinians not to agree to serve as human shields for the militants. The message read, “Israel is acting only against Hamas and has no interest in harming you.” The ground operation is the second phase in an offensive that began as a weeklong aerial onslaught aimed at halting Hamas rocket fire that has reached deeper and deeper into Israel, threatening major cities and one-eighth of Israel’s population of 7 million. More than 45 rockets and mortar shells fell in Israel on Sunday morning, sending residents scrambling for bomb shelters. Four Israelis were lightly wounded. In Gaza City, civilians cowered inside as battles raged, while terrified residents in other areas fled in fear. In the southern town of Rafah, one man loaded a donkey cart with mattresses and blankets preparing to flee. Lubna Karam, 28, said she and the other nine members of her family spent the night huddled in the hallway of their Gaza City home. The windows of the house were blown out days earlier in an Israeli airstrike, and the family has been without electricity for a week, surviving without heat and eating cold food. “We keep hearing the sounds of airplanes and we don’t know if we’ll live until tomorrow or not,” she said. Severe damage to Gaza’s phone network was pushing the territory closer to complete isolation. The Palestinian phone company Paltel Group said 90 percent of Gaza’s cellular service was down, as well as many landlines, because of frequent power cuts and the inability of technicians to reach work sites. In his first public comments on the operation, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his Cabinet Sunday that Israel could not allow its civilians to continue to be targeted by rockets from Gaza. “This morning I can look every one of you in the eyes and say the government did everything before deciding to go ahead with the operation. This operation was unavoidable,” he said. Military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin told the Cabinet Hamas was using mosques, public institutions and private houses as ammunition stores. His comments were relayed to the press by the Cabinet secretary, Oved Yehezkel. Israel on Sunday approved the mobilization of thousands of reservists, in addition to tens of thousands called up on Saturday. Defense officials said the extra forces could enable a far broader ground offensive. The troops could also be used in the event Palestinian militants in the West Bank or Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon decide to launch attacks, as Hezbollah did in 2006 when Israel was in the midst of a large operation in Gaza. Jason Keyser reported from Jerusalem
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Iraqi journalist throws shoes at Bush in Baghdad

December 15, 2008 1 comment


BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — A man identified as an Iraqi journalist threw shoes at — but missed — President Bush during a news conference Sunday evening in Baghdad, where Bush was making a farewell visit.

An Iraqi man is grabbed after throwing his shoes at Bush during a news briefing Sunday in Baghdad.

Bush ducked, and the shoes, flung one at a time, sailed past his head during the news conference with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki in his palace in the heavily fortified Green Zone.

The shoe-thrower — identified as Muntadhar al-Zaidi, an Iraqi journalist with Egypt-based al-Baghdadia television network — could be heard yelling in Arabic: “This is a farewell … you dog!”

While pinned on the ground by security personnel, he screamed: “You killed the Iraqis!”

Al-Zaidi was dragged away. While al-Zaidi was still screaming in another room, Bush said: “That was a size 10 shoe he threw at me, you may want to know.” 

Hurling shoes at someone, or sitting so that the bottom of a shoe faces another person, is considered an insult among Muslims.

Al-Baghdadia issued a statement Sunday demanding al-Zaidi’s release.

Al-Zaidi remained in custody Monday while the Iraqi judiciary decides whether he will face charges of assaulting al-Maliki, a government official said.

The official said al-Zaidi is being tested for alcohol and drugs to determine if he was fully conscious during the incident.

Al-Zaidi drew international attention in November 2007 when he was kidnapped while on his way to work in central Baghdad. He was released three days later.

Bush had been lauding the conclusion of a security pact with Iraq as journalists looked on.

“So what if the guy threw his shoe at me?” Bush told a reporter in response to a question about the incident.

“Let me talk about the guy throwing his shoe. It’s one way to gain attention. It’s like going to a political rally and having people yell at you. It’s like driving down the street and having people not gesturing with all five fingers. …

“These journalists here were very apologetic. They … said this doesn’t represent the Iraqi people, but that’s what happens in free societies where people try to draw attention to themselves.”

Bush then directed his comments to the security pact, which he and al-Maliki were preparing to sign, hailing it as “a major achievement” but cautioning that “there is more work to be done.”

The visit was Bush’s fourth since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003……………

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