Egypt Independent: Egypt-Main news en AUC alumni claim world record for fastest growing FB group <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Five days after it was started, a Facebook page centered around the American University in Cairo (AUC) named &ldquo;WhatsUp in AUC&rdquo; had already garnered about 25,000 members, say its adminstrators, topping the Guiness World Record for fastest growing Facebook group. </span><br /><br />According to a post from Loubna Olama, one of the group&#39;s administrators, the Guiness World Records office in Dubai has been in touch and the claim is currently being authenticated. If the record-breaking feat becomes official, it will be further affirmation for a project that its founders consider a success on several levels.<br /><br />While the group provides a way to stay in touch with old university pals, it is also seen by many as a means of translating a good education &mdash; and good connections &mdash; into useful career and business moves.</p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Masterminded by a former student of the AUC, the social media group is only accessible to the university&#39;s staff and students past and present, and that exclusivity is maintained by the administrators who have to approve any new members.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Much like other university social media groups, a certain nostalgia permeates a large number of the posts, whereby alumni post photographs of their university careers, of their friends and all reminisce about the &ldquo;good old days&rdquo;.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">AUC graduate student Farah Mohamed says, &ldquo;The group opens up a platform for people to reconnect and reminisce about things that make them happy. I like that about the group. My mother attended AUC, and seeing some of the posts on the page made me see her as a student, just like me. That made me happy.&rdquo;</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Members also make posts about their lives after university, problems they are having that they want advice for, and other members respond.<br /><br />The group even has a romantic side, with some single members posting adverts regarding their seach for love. Other posts include comedic pictures and memes relating to people&rsquo;s experiences at the AUC.<br /><br /><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">The sense of solidarity and unity among the AUC community can be seen in many posts, with h</span>ashtags such as #AUCian_and_Proud popping up. </span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">But perhaps more significant is the role the group plays as a networking base for AUC alumni, helping them promote their businesses or post available job opportunities &mdash; a fact that has many supporters and some detractors.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">AUC Professor, Sofia Selim says the group can play a valuable role in smoothing the future careers of AUC alumni.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">&ldquo;I started in 2006 and it used to be that my students would find jobs that they liked and that paid well as soon as they graduated, because of the caliber of their degrees. Now most of my students find it difficult to find employment when they graduate, and it seems that an AUC degree doesn&rsquo;t have the same value it used to,&quot; she said.<br /><br />&quot;It&rsquo;s like the members are using it to make up for the fact that their degrees don&rsquo;t mean as much anymore, and the networking opportunities restore some of the lost glory of the AUC degree.&rdquo;<br /><br />However, some seem less comfortable with the idea of celebrating the advantages of an elite education.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s good to relive memories of the good old days, but I feel like the group is celebrating privilege in a way. Because looking at Egypt and its class system, AUC is an expensive school, and being able to afford it is a privilege that other Egyptians may not have,&quot; AUC undergraduate student, Simon Baker says.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">&quot;I think the group&rsquo;s networking potential for its members is an unfair advantage. For example, an AUC alumnus who gets a job through the page that may have been better suited for someone else who isn&rsquo;t an AUCian &mdash; that&rsquo;s not right.&rdquo;</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Others, such as AUC graduate Ismail Arafa, appear to be underwhelmed by the virtual network&#39;s usefulness.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">&ldquo;I would use the group to network if it had a practical usage for me. I don&rsquo;t see anything wrong with that. But aside from that, I don&rsquo;t see a point to using social media as a platform for connectivity,&rdquo; says Arafa.</span></p><p><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">With the group&#39;s popularity growing daily, the administrators decided to take the idea to the next level by bringing the AUC community physically closer. A reunion has already been organized <span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">at Horreya Garden</span> in Zamalek on Saturday, May 7.<br /><br />Free passes are being given out at locations around Cairo, and members of the group need only to show their IDs for a pass that admits them and one guest.</span></p> Thu, 05 May 2016 10:50:00 +0000 Kamal Tabikha 2469372 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/05/05/504802/auc.jpg Sisi gives signal for wheat harvest at Sahl Baraka project <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived in Sahl Baraka at Farafra oasis on Thursday to celebrate a milestone event in a major land reclamation project that seeks to make use of desert land for farming, boosting the nation&#39;s agricultural output.<br /><br />Sisi gave the starting signal for the harvesting of the first batch of wheat from the newly reclaimed desert land, which was prepared an planted over a four month period.<br /><br />The Sahl Baraka project, which was launched in December, involves the reclamation of 10,000 acres of land, 7,500 of which was planted with wheat.<br /><br />Speaking at the event, Sisi said great things had been achieved for Egypt since he came to power, of which the land reclamation project was just one example.<br /><br />He said, LE1.3 trillion had been spent on national projects during his rule, with the resulting achievements representing an unprecedented accomplishment for any nation over such a short time span.<br /><br />&quot;I am never afraid. If I had been, nothing would have been achieved,&quot; Sisi said.<br /><br />However, he also had a warning for the audience: &quot;The more you succeed, the more evil people will develop schemes. Be careful.&quot;<br /><br />Speaking of the land reclamation project, Sisi said that those involved had worked hard to overcome many hurdles.<br /><br />&quot;We eliminated a lot of bureaucracy and corruption and obtained a lot of permits that would have taken 10 or 15 years to be issued,&quot; Sisi said.<br /><br /><br />The Sahl Baraka project is just part of a land-reclamation mega-project that aims to transform 1.5 million acres, creating new urban-agricultural communities away from major population centers and contributing to the nation&#39;s agricultural output.<br /><br />During his visit on Thursday, the president also opened a new drinking water station for the Farafra area.<br /><br />The next phase of the mega-project includes the reclamation of 21,000 acres in the New Farafra area.<br /><br /><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></p> Thu, 05 May 2016 10:04:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2469374 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/05/05/504802/wheat.jpg CBE governor says UAE will deposit $2 bn by end of May <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>The governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE), Tarek Amer, has announced that negotiations are underway for a US$2 billion deposit from the UAE to Egypt, to be paid before the end of May.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The money is part of $4 billion payment pledged to Egypt recently by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The two $2 billion due in May will be allocated to investment in development fields, while another $2 billion will be deposited with the CBE to support Egyptian cash reserves.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Amer told the state-owned news agency MENA that certain details of the deal were still being negotiated but that there was no delay expected in the timing of the transfer this month.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></div> Thu, 05 May 2016 08:41:00 +0000 MENA 2469352 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/02/28/94/central_bank_of_egypt_cbe_governor_tarek_amer.jpg Tom & Jerry to blame for violence in Arab World: official <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-4c66ad9d-7bdf-73e2-8cb4-87df35a49c73" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Salah Abdel Sadeq, head of the State Information Service, has blamed the spread of violence and extremism in the Arab world on Tom &amp; Jerry cartoons and video games.</span></p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;"><span style="line-height: 21px;">In a speech at the conference, &ldquo;Media and Culture of Violence&quot; at Cairo University&#39;s Mass Communication Faculty on Tuesday, h</span><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">e explained that the generations-old American cartoon condones violence, among other bad habits, for viewers. People&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: normal;">&mdash; particularly young men&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: normal;">&mdash;&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">now spend long hours playing video games too, he continued. They get enjoyment from killing and shedding blood while playing. So when these young gamers are faced with social pressures in the real world, they resort to violence because it has become normalized for them as a</span><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;response.</span></p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">He highlighted the intrinsic link between what is circulated within a country and the image that country projects abroad.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Sadeq also indicated the powerful influence of multimedia on Egyptian society. During the first Ramadan after the January 25 Revolution, he cited as an example, the television business single-handedly projected an image of the police as &quot;corrupt, thieving and thick&quot;. I<span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">t took Egyptian radio 30 years to reach 50 million listeners; the figure reached in subscribers to multimedia in only four years, he pointed out.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Meanwhile, Vice-President of Cairo University for Higher Studies and Research Affairs,&nbsp;</span>Amr Adly,<span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">&nbsp;said that the media should be a mirror for reality with all its positives and negatives.&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">When talking about the influence of violence on behavior, he pointed to bigger reasons behind the trend, like a lack of attention to the issue taken in the law.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr">&nbsp;</p><p><em style="font-size: 1em; line-height: 1.5em;">Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm</em></p><p><br /><br />&nbsp;</p> Wed, 04 May 2016 13:41:00 +0000 Al-Masry Al-Youm 2469346 at sites/default/files/photo/2016/05/04/39/tom_nd_jerry.jpg