Egypt Independent: Egypt-Main news en Visit to Jerusalem 'duty': Pope Tawadros <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Pope Tawadros said his recent visit to Jerusalem was part of his duty to offer condolences following the death of Bishop Abraham, the Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Near East who died on Wednesday.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;It was the duty of the Coptic Orthodox Church to send a delegation of bishops, priests and deacons, including me, to attend the funeral of the revered pontiff and give him a farewell to his final resting place,&quot; said Tawadros.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The head of Egypt&rsquo;s Coptic Orthodox Church traveled to Jerusalem Thursday&nbsp;to attend the funeral of the holy city&rsquo;s archbishop, a move that breaks with a longtime ban maintained by the church on visiting the city before the end of Israeli occupation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tawadros&#39; visit is the first by a head of the Egyptian Church since 1967 as his predecessor, Pope Shenouda III, had maintained a ban on visiting the holy city while it is still under Israeli occupation. Shenouda had said he disapproved of pilgrimage trips by a number of Copts over the past years, which defied the church&#39;s ban.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo earlier this month, Tawadros reportedly expressed hope that he would be able to visit Jerusalem once &ldquo;diplomatic efforts lead to a drastic solution to the Palestinian issue.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt&rsquo;s former Grand Islamic Mufti Ali Gomaa also sparked an uproar when visiting the city in 2012.<br />&nbsp;</div><div>Sergius Sergius, Undersecretary of the Patriarchate of St. Mark, told MENA Thursday Tawadros&#39; visit to Jerusalem was exceptional and does not mean to break the ban maintained by the church on visiting the city before the end of Israeli occupation.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>He added that Tawadros had a strong relation with Abraham since the latter was a monk with the Saint Bishoy Monastery in Wadi Natrun in Egypt where Tawadros was his student.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Tawadros has stressed more than once since his papacy in 2012 that the church would stick to his predecessor&#39;s travel ban, Sergius said. He added that Tawadros told Palestinian President Abbas he would only visit Jerusalem with the Al-Azhar grand sheikh.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Sergius called on media to not overreact to the visit, which is a personal visit by the pope.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Chairman of Karama Party Mohamed Samy defended Tawadros&#39; visit, saying it is an exceptional visit for religious reasons. During a phone interview on Mehwar channel Thursday, he said the visit did not break the travel ban imposed by Shenouda.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Emad Gad, MP and deputy head of Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, said that the pope&#39;s visit to Jerusalem was important to build bridges to an Arab country suffering under occupation and to raise the morales of Palestinians, given the high stature of the pope in the Arab world.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Gad said he expects Islamists to attack Tawadros over the visit, stressing that people should not give attention to them.</div><div><br />&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm&nbsp;</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 15:50:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm,MENA 2462293 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/01/07/484151/178717_0.jpg Russian tourist living in Sharm el-Sheikh discusses Sinai's charm <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Elena, a Russian national who lives in Sharm el-Sheikh, said her first visit to the Red Sea resort was a turning point in her life.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;I first visited the city 16 years ago,&quot; said Elena. &quot;I loved its weather and I was attracted to the nature, so I decided to live here. I married an Egyptian man and we have a daughter named Yasmin.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A few years later, Elena wanted her daughter to play gymnastics, but she could not find a school for gymnastics in Sharm el-Sheikh. Elena decided to establish her own school for gymnastics and started to give gymnastics lessons at her house.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Elena moved to Sharm el-Sheikh Sports Club to create a school for rhythmic gymnastics that had 30 participants who competed in the tournaments and championships in Egypt and Russia.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>She also hired Russian gymnastics coaches.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;My daughter achieved first ranks in many tournaments and represented Egypt in championships in Russia,&quot; she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Elena said she feels that she is an Egyptian citizen. She speaks Arabic and exercises the habits of Egyptians. She added she applied for Egyptian citizenship before the revolution, but the papers were burned during the unrest following January 25, 2011.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;Its not about documents or passport though. I feel 100 percent Egyptian,&quot; she said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Elena said her father is also buried near Mount Sinai and she visits his grave often.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Russian tourists cannot stay away from Sharm el-Sheikh for long, which they consider their second home, Elena said regarding the recent crisis of tourism in Sharm el-Sheikh.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>She said 6,000 Russian tourists are living permanently in the resort.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 15:45:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2462289 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/11/27/16030/image_0.jpg Controversy surrounds expatriate MPs attendance to parliament sessions <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>After it was announced that eight candidates from Egyptian expatriates won the parliamentary elections, questions emerged about how they would attend the sessions of the House of Representatives.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The current House of Representatives regulations do not provide a mechanism to regulate the attendance of Egyptian expatriate MPs.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Views differed on whether to use video conference as an alternative to regular attendance.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>MP Alaa Abdel Moneim, who belongs to the For the Love of Egypt list, said the new regulations of the House of Representatives will develop a mechanism for expatriate MPs&#39; attendance.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The House of Representatives elections law states that the council should regulate how MPs will carry out their duties, Abdel Moneim said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The regulations will provide residences in Egypt for expatriate MPs and airline tickets ahead of each session, according to Abdel Moneim.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Political parties or independent MPs have the right to submit their suggestions on the issue to the council&#39;s legislative committee, he added.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Abdel Moneim said the For the Love of Egypt list has not yet agreed on suggested regulations to be submitted to the legislative committee.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The use of video conference is &quot;rejected and unconstitutional&quot;, he said, adding that the expatriate MPs have to attend all the sessions of the council in person.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Nader al-Sharkawy, secretary of the Free Egyptians Party&#39;s Expatriates&#39; Affairs Committee, said that the attendance of expatriate MPs will be determined by the parliament&#39;s internal regulations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;There are three scenarios for this issue: to determine a minimum number of sessions that expatriate MPs must attend per year, to oblige the MP to attend once a month and the third is to allow attendance through video conference,&quot; said Sharkawy.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Sharkawy pointed to the need to facilitate the movement of the eight expatriate MPs who will represent the eight million Egyptian expatriates around the world.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm&nbsp;</em></div> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 15:24:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2462283 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/10/17/499612/parliamentary_elections.jpg Egypt cancels reservations on African Child Rights Charter <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree withdrawing Egypt&#39;s reservations on some articles in the 1990 African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, the <em>Gazette</em> reported Thursday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The House of Representatives will have to ratify the decree.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt expressed reservations on the second paragraph of Article 21 of the charter, which prohibits marriage or engagement to boys or girls below the age of 18.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The decision cancelled Egypt&#39;s reservations on Article 24 of the charter about adoption, as well as Article 44.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Article 44 on communication states: &quot;The Committee may receive communication, from any person, group or non-governmental organization recognized by the Organization of African Unity, by a Member State, or the United Nations relating to any matter covered by this Charter. Every communication to the Committee shall contain the name and address of the author and shall be treated in confidence.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Egypt cancelled its reservation on item (e) of Article 30, which states that the death sentence should not be imposed on imprisoned mothers of children.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div> Fri, 27 Nov 2015 12:29:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2462277 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/09/15/16030/noha.jpeg