Turkey will ‘open up border gates’ if EU goes further: Erdoğan

AA photo26/11/2016 (Hurriyet – Turkey): Turkey will open up its border gates and let refugees stream toward Europe “if the EU goes further,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has threatened in the wake of a European Parliament vote on Nov. 24 to temporarily freeze accession talks with Ankara. “Some 30-40 votes for ‘no’ and 400-500 votes for ‘yes.’ What would happen if all of you voted ‘yes?’ You never treated humanity honestly and you did not look after people fairly. You did not pick up babies when they washed ashore on the Mediterranean. We are the ones who are feeding around 3.5 million refugees in this country,” Erdoğan said.  “You did not keep your promises. When 50,000 refugees turned up at the Kapıkule [border gate] you cried out and began to say ‘What will we do when Turkey opens the border gates?’ Look, if you go further, those border gates will be opened. You should know that,” he said.  Noting that threats against people would not work, Erdoğan invoked his oft-repeated refrain that the “world is bigger than five,” referring to the U.N. Security Council’s permanent members…



Parades, performances to ring in UAE National Day festivities on Al Maryah Island

26/11/2016 (Emirates 24/7 – UAE): Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi’s business and lifestyle destination and the home of exceptional experiences in the capital, is inviting residents and visitors to join its festive celebrations to mark the UAE 45th National Day on December 2nd – 3rd. Taking pride in its Emirati heritage and showcasing the richness of the UAE’s culture, Al Maryah Island will host an array of performances, including Ayyala and Yola dancers, traditional drummers, a National Day parade and a police marching band on its stunning waterfront Promenade. On December 2nd, a spectacular fireworks display at 9 pm will illuminate the iconic Al Maryah Island skyline in the colours of the UAE flag. Visitors to the island will also be able to enjoy a variety of fun, educational and engaging activities for the whole family on both days…



Grand Egyptian Museum receives 3 ancient kings statues, 850 artifacts

26/11/2016 (Egypt Indipendent – Egypt): The general supervisor of the Grand Egyptian Museum, Tarek Tawfik, said the museum received Tuesday the statue of King Akhen-aten, better known as the king of monotheism in ancient Egypt, and the statues of King Amenhotep II and King Thutmose III. Noteworthy artifacts include pieces from the boy-king Tutankhamun’s collection, along with 850 other artifacts that belonged to the Middle and New Kingdoms. Tawfik explained that the artifacts will be displayed by the museum, which is expected to be partially inaugurated by the end of 2017. The director general of restoration and transfer of artifacts to the Grand Egyptian Museum, Eissa Zeidan, said the museum’s specialist team prepared a detailed report on the status of the pieces upon their arrival, pointing out that the latest scientific methods were followed in packing the artifacts to ensure their safety during the transfer. Many pieces are in urgent need of restoration, especially the pieces of King Tutankhamun, which might take months of work…


Turkey-KRG alliance, PKK and the EU

26/11/2016 (Arab News – KSA by Sinem Cengiz*): The prime minister of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG), Nechirvan Barzani, was in Turkey this week for talks with top Turkish officials amid significant developments taking place in the region.  It was his second visit to Turkey this year and topics of discussion ranged from the ongoing Mosul operation against Daesh to the Euphrates Shield operation in Syria, and from Turkey’s fight against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to economic ties between the KRG and Turkey. The fate of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city with a population of 1.5 million, after it is liberated from Daesh is a great concern for both Ankara and Irbil. Turkey’s approach to Mosul is shaped by concerns for the fate of the Turkmen there, the potential refugee flow, the situation in the post-Daesh era and PKK’s area of operation…


*Sinem Cengiz is a Turkish political analyst


Eni to sell 10 pct stake in Egypt’s Zohr gas field concession to BP

Eni26/11/2016 (Ahram Online – Egypt): Eni has agreed to sell a 10 percent stake in Zohr’s Shorouk gas field concession to British Petroleum for $375 million, the Italian company said in a Friday statement. The agreed conditions include pro-quota reimbursement of past expenditures, which amount to approximately $150 million. BP also has the option of buying an additional five percent stake under the same conditions. Egypt’s government will have to agree to the deal before its finalisation. Eni’s giant Mediterranean Zohr gas field, discovered in August 2015 with an estimated 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, is expected to come online next year and produce about one billion cubic feet of gas per day in 2017…



Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro dies at 90

Fidel Castro26/11/2016 (Ahram Online – Egypt): Guerrilla revolutionary and communist idol, Fidel Castro was a holdout against history who turned tiny Cuba into a thorn in the paw of the mighty capitalist United States. The former Cuban president, who died aged 90 on Friday, said he would never retire from politics. But emergency intestinal surgery in July 2006 drove him to hand power to Raul Castro, who ended his brother’s antagonistic approach to Washington, shocking the world in December 2014 in announcing a rapprochement with US President Barack Obama. Famed for his rumpled olive fatigues, straggly beard and the cigars he reluctantly gave up for health reasons, Fidel Castro kept a tight clamp on dissent at home while defining himself abroad with his defiance of Washington. In the end, he essentially won the political staring game, even if the Cuban people do continue to live in poverty and the once-touted revolution he led has lost its shine…



Sharon Jones, Grammy-nominated soul singer, dies at 60

19/11/2016 (Sabah – Turkey): Sharon Jones, a fiery Grammy-nominated soul and funk singer sometimes called the “female James Brown,” has died after losing a battle to pancreatic cancer. She was 60. “She was surrounded by her loved ones, including The Dap-Kings,” her long-time backing band, when she passed away on Friday in Cooperstown, New York, the group said in a statement. Jones had battled cancer since 2013, a fight related in the documentary “Miss Sharon Jones!” that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year. Jones only achieved fame in middle-age, and had worked as a corrections officer at Rikers Island prison in New York and as a bank guard to make ends meet while seeking a breakthrough in the music industry.That moment came in 1996, when at the age of 40 she was performing as backup singer at a recording session for soul singer Lee Fields…



Trump unlikely to act on threat to stop buying Saudi oil

donald trump19/11/2016 (Gulf Business – UAE): President-elect Donald Trump is very unlikely to restrict imports of crude oil from Saudi Arabia despite threats to do so issued during the election campaign. Trump is first and foremost a showman and impresario rather than a policy wonk. Much of what he said on the campaign trail was intended to mobilise support rather than provide a detailed programme for government. The media “never takes (Trump) seriously but it always takes him literally. I think a lot of voters who vote for Trump take Trump seriously but not literally,” as technology billionaire Peter Thiel observed in October. The prospect of an import ban on Saudi crude is one of those things he said that should not be taken seriously but was meant to galvanise support from oil workers hit by the downturn. Trump warned that he would be prepared to stop buying oil from Saudi Arabia unless the kingdom provided ground troops to fight ISIL. He also insisted the kingdom and other Gulf oil producers should compensate the United States for the enormous cost of providing them with military protection…

Trump unlikely to act on threat to stop buying Saudi oil


Egypt president says don’t ‘jump to conclusions’ on Trump

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
19/11/2016 (Egypt Indipendent – Egypt): Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has praised U.S. President-elect Donald J. Trump, saying that his inflammatory statements from the campaign trail do not necessarily reflect the actions he will take as president. Sisi, in an interview with Portuguese news agency LUSA released on Saturday, said, “let’s not jump into conclusions or worry” about future U.S. actions or policies in the Middle East. The army chief-turned-president was interviewed prior to his upcoming Nov. 21 visit to Portugal. Sisi was among the very first foreign leaders to congratulate Trump’s on his presidential victory. “We have to distinguish between the rhetoric that takes place within presidential campaigns and the real and actual administration of a country after the inauguration,” he said. “There will be a chance for more thorough readings.” Sisi’s remarks echoed sentiments that have been circulating on local and regional media, with columnists speculating that Trump campaign rhetoric — such as his call for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S. — will be watered down…