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News of the Issue
UK's Blair and family spend New Year vacation in Egypt
Saturday, January 5 (issue 1)
by Raymon Kondos

CAIRO ( - UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and his family have flown to Egypt for holiday since Christmas. Egyptian Tourism Minister Mamdouh El-Beltagui confirmed the news and said Blair headed to Sharm El-Sheikh, the famous Red Sea resort.

In recent years Blair and family were keen to spend their New Year holiday at the resort. The Blairs consist of Tony Blair, wife Cherie Blair, and children, Euan, 19, Nicholas, 17, Kathryn, 15, and Leo, 3.

Blair’s unofficial visit at the same time two years ago sparked an outcry in Britain after the Egyptian government paid the costs of his stay as a compliment. Back then, Blair dealt with the issue by paying back donations with equivalent values to a charity chosen by the Egyptian government.

Egypt ready to help restoration of Iranian historic citadel destroyed in quake
Saturday, January 5 (issue 1)
by Raymon Kondos

CAIRO ( - The Egyptian government had offered to help restore the 2,000-year-old historic citadel at the Iranian city of Bam destroyed in a huge scale earthquake that hit the historic city last month, AFP reported.

Culture Minister Farouk Hosni was quoted on December 27th as saying Egyptian archeologists are fully prepared to provide technical assistance needed to restore the citadel.

The citadel was the oldest mud-brick structure in the world until the earthquake turned it into ruins.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian government has said it sent 6 planes so far to Iran to provide assistance for victims of the earthquake that hit Bam city, 1,000 km southeast of the capital Tehran.
The 6th plane -loaded with 2.5 tons of medicines, tents and blankets- landed in the Iranian airport at Kerman.

Estimates have put the possible victims of the quake to reach as high as 50’000, according to Iranian officials.

Iranian-Egyptian relations were severed shortly after the outbreak of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979. Back then, Egypt sparked anger of Iranian clerics by its peace agreement with Israel and hosting of the last shah of Iran, Mohamed Reza Pahlavi (died 1981), toppled in the revolution.

France has the right to ban headscarves, says head of Islam’s highest world body
Saturday, January 5 (issue 1)
by Raymon Kondos

CAIRO ( - Mohamed Sayyed Tantawi, the head of Al-Azhar Mosque, the highest Muslim body in the world, said France has the right to ban headscarves on its own land.

Tantawi’s statements came after a visit made by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy on last December 30. The statement drew backfire from his fellow scholars who insisted his opinion only expresses himself and does not represent the official stance of Al-Azhar.

Tantawi said also in earlier statements to an Arab newspaper the ban decision is an internal French affair.

The French government have made public in last December plans to ban conspicuous religious symbols including Moslem headscarves, large Christian crosses and Jewish skullcap from state schools.

Opposers from Moslem clerics insist headscarves are rather a religion commitment on every adult Muslim female than a mere religious symbol.

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