News for Egypt

Getting out? Telecom billionaire converts half of fortune to gold
Egypt Created: 4 May 2018
Some big investors see warning signs ahead for markets but are holding their positions - Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is taking action: He’s put half of his $5,7 billion net worth into gold.

He said in an interview Monday that he believes gold prices will rally further, reaching $1,800 per ounce from just above $1,300 now, while “overvalued” stock markets crash.

“In the end you have China and they will not stop consuming. And people also tend to go to gold during crises and we are full of crises right now,” Sawiris said at his office in Cairo overlooking the Nile. “Look at the Middle East and the rest of the world and Mr. Trump doesn’t help.”

President Donald Trump is aiding Sawiris in one way, though: If a North Korean peace deal can be reached, the Egyptian’s investments there may finally pay off. After 10 years of waiting to repatriate all his profits easily and control his mobile-phone company, Egypt’s second-richest man says an accord would let him reap some of his returns.

“I am taking all the hits, I am being paid in a currency that doesn’t get exchanged very easily, I have put a lot of money and built a hotel and did a lot of good stuff there,” said Sawiris, who founded North Korea’s first telecom operator, Koryolink. The North Korean unit’s costs and revenues aren’t currently recognized on the financial statements of Sawiris’ Orascom Telecom Media & Technology Holding SAE.
Sawiris over the years has been pressured by “every single Western government in the world” for his presence in the country hit by international sanctions for its nuclear threats, he said, but he considered himself a “goodwill investor.” His advice for governments and to Trump ahead of his expected meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un: Don’t bully him, and promise prosperity in exchange for concessions on nuclear.

Naguib Sawiris speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview.
Photographer: Sima Diab/Bloomberg

A successful meeting between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-In last week cleared the way for Trump to meet with the North Korean leader to discuss his nuclear-weapons and ballistic-missile programs. The date and the place haven’t been set. An agreement -- elusive for almost seven decades -- would open the door for Sawiris to restore his investments there and possibly make new ones.

“I know these North Korean people. They are very proud, they will not yield under threat and bullying. You just smile and talk and sit down and they will come through,” he said.

Sawiris, the son of Onsi Sawiris, who founded Orascom Construction, has built a name by investing in the telecom sector in Egypt and in less popular markets including Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea and Bangladesh. He also bought Italy’s Wind Telecomunicazioni before merging it, along with a number of his telecom assets, with Veon Ltd. in 2011.

Since then Sawiris has diversified into the financial sector by buying out Egyptian investment bank Beltone Financial Holding and attempting to buy CI Capital Holding to create Egypt’s biggest investment bank. His offer was blocked. He also expanded in mining, becoming, with his family, the largest investor in the sector through shareholdings in Evolution Mining, Endeavour Mining Corporation and La Mancha Resources Inc.

“I had to convince my mom in the beginning,” Sawiris said in the interview with Bloomberg Television. “It has been a very good investment for me. I recently sold a portion of my Evolution shares because I want to invest now in Latin America and Eastern Europe.”

He’s from a family of investors. Nassef Sawiris, Naguib’s youngest brother and the richest man in Egypt, is the biggest shareholder and chief executive officer of fertilizer producer OCI NV. He’s also the biggest shareholder in contracting and engineering company Orascom Construction Ltd. He re-based his companies outside Egypt after a tax dispute with the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013.

Sawiris said his view of Saudi Arabia was negatively impacted by a corruption crackdown that led to the arrest of high-profile princes and billionaires in November. Authorities need to ensure there is rule of law and order and transparency, he said.

Rather, Sawiris is giving investment priority to his homeland after an International Monetary Fund-backed reform program that began in 2016. By lifting all restrictions on the currency and cutting subsidies, it boosted investors’ confidence in the economy of the Arab world’s most populous nation.

And he’s planning an investment debut in Egypt’s “booming” real estate market this year after hiring a consultant who said demand was strong, shrugging off concerns of a bubble in the market.

“In my family we are investing a lot right now because we see the opportunities,” he said. “It isn’t patriotism or advertising or anything like that.”

— With assistance by Devon Pendleton, and Hussein Slim
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Source: Bloomberg, Tamim Elyan and Manus Cranny, 01 May 2018

Health risks of wireless technology (Part I)
Egypt Created: 22 Mar 2012
The exponential increase in the usage of wireless communication technology in the last 30 years will continue.

This is characterised by (1) an increase in the number of users, (2) an increase in the intensity of the microwave radiation associated with mobile devices and base stations to accommodate a higher functionality, (3) an increase in the average exposure-time per day per person due to the higher dependence on mobile devices in everyday life, and (4) an increase in the number of users among children and teenagers.
Research results show that the relatively long-term (e.g. 10 years) exposure to microwaves emitted from mobile communication devices even operating within “safety limits” set by current regulatory agencies can be considered a potential factor for the promotion of cancer growth and other health ailments.
In these articles, we review the microwave engineering limits needed for a wireless communication network to function and the recent published research results on the health risks of long-term exposure to microwave radiation.
We conclude that because the wireless communication industry is still reluctant to warn users of these health risks as this will reduce their profits and governments are slow to intervene to protect the public, especially children and teenagers, the best course of action is to launch a public awareness campaign in every country to educate users in ways to reduce their exposure to radiation from these devices. A set of guidelines is proposed.
Governments have responsibility to follow a restrict precautionary principle (better protect than sorry) in setting low limits for exposure to microwave radiation associated with wireless technology in cell phones, base stations, Wi-Fi, etc.
Also doctors have a professional responsibility to tell their patients that studies published in prestigious medical journals show that cell phones do affect the brain; and although there is not yet incontrovertible evidence that this effect is harmful, a cell phone should be used with caution and as something that could be dangerous.
And young people should only be using them for emergencies, not for idle chatting. Judging by the widespread use of cell phones – and often for frivolous reasons – the general public is either unaware or unconcerned about the potential long term harmful effects.
Most people probably haven't given it much thought. So it is not surprising that there is also little concern for the potential health risks of exposure to radiation from cell phone towers.
People should feel less complacent in feeling that “everybody's using them, so they must be okay,” and “I've been using them for a long time and I'm okay”.
And if a cell phone alters your brain, what is the radiation from a nearby cell phone antenna doing to your body. If you live near a cell phone tower with multiple antennae, your entire body (and not just your head) is going to be exposed to this radiation.

Cell phones need to emit electromagnetic microwave power to communicate with base stations. The amount of that power is up to 1 Watt. If that power is multiplied by the emitting time this makes up the energy emitted. Hence for one hour of usage the maximum electromagnetic microwave energy is equal to 1 Watt-hour.
Similarly base station need to emit electromagnetic microwave power to communicate with all cell phones in its range. The amount of that power is up 20,000 Watt. These numbers will not change much in the future.
According to the 1998 Guidelines for Limiting Exposure to Time-Varying Electric, Magnetic, and Electromagnetic Fields (up to 300 GHz) published by The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection there are two parameters that should be restricted:
1. Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) in W/Kg, which is the radiation energy absorbed per mass unit of human tissue per second.
2. The power density of incident radiation in W/m2 or MicroW/cm2 which is the amount of energy which falls on a unit of surface per second.
SAR safety limit was set at 2 W/Kg for head and trunk. But only models of adult human head are currently used by the industry while real SAR values depend on geometry and structure of tissues – for example SAR was shown to be much higher for a child head than that of an adult.
Occupational exposure limits are set by the ICNIRP are 10-50 W/m2 and public exposure limits at 2-10 W/m2 depending on frequency. For example for GSM-900 MHZ limits were set at 450 microW/cm2. Some countries, e.g. US and Germany follow the ICNIRP limits but other countries set their limits lower, e.g. Switzerland at 4 microW/cm2.

Elmasry is a professor emeritus of computer engineering, University of Waterloo. He can be reached at
elmasry {-at-}
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Source: The Egyptian Gazette, Mohamed Elmasry, 21 Mar 2012

Long term exposure to base stations and mobile phones affects human hormones profiles
Egypt Created: 8 Dec 2011
This study is concerned with assessing the role of exposure to radio frequency radiation (RFR) emitted either from mobiles or base stations and its relations with human's hormone profiles.

Design and methods

All volunteers' samples were collected for hormonal analysis.


This study showed significant decrease in volunteers' ACTH, cortisol, thyroid hormones, prolactin for young females, and testosterone levels.


The present study revealed that high RFR effects on pituitary–adrenal axis.


This study is concerned with assessing the role of long-term exposure to high radio frequency radiation emitted either from mobile phones or from base stations and its relations with human's hormone profiles.

All volunteers are followed for 6 years and blood samples were collected regularly every 3 years for time intervals of 1 year, 3 years and 6 years for hormonal analysis and the blood samples were taken at 8.0 a.m.

This study showed reduction in volunteers' plasma ACTH, serum cortisol levels. Also, they showed decrease in the release of the thyroid hormones especially T3. In addition, each of their serum prolactin in young females (14–22 years), and testosterone levels significantly dropped due to long-term exposure to radio frequency radiation.

Conversely, serum prolactin levels for adult females (25–60 years) significantly rose with increasing exposure time.

In conclusion, the present study revealed that high radio frequency radiation effects on pituitary–adrenal axis represented in the reduction of ACTH, cortisol, thyroid hormones, prolactin in young females, and testosterone levels.

Keywords: Mobiles; Base stations; Radio frequency radiation; Hormone profiles
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Source: ScienceDirect, Emad F. Eskander / Selim F. Estefana / Ahmed A. Abd-Rabou, 26 Nov 2011

Egyptian riots put dent in Vodafone's growth
Egypt Created: 10 Aug 2011
Vodafone's handling of the Egyptian riots led to an 80pc fall in its growth rate in the country, costing the telecoms giant millions in both customers and revenues. The company has come under heavy fire for agreeing to demands by former president Hosni Mubarak's regime to suspend the Egyptian Vodafone network during the January uprising, and for sending four propaganda messages by text to its customers. All voice services were cancelled for 24 hours, impeding contact with the outside world at a critical time, and data services were shut down for five days.
Vodafone has fought back against criticism of the move, claiming it was forced to pull the plug for the safety of its staff and that Egyptian users understood the circumstances in a way that overseas commentators did not. "We see no sign of a loss of momentum in that business," a spokesman added.
However, resentment against Vodafone does not seem to have gone away. The company's most recent TV advertising campaign in Egypt appears to have back-fired. The mobile operator launched a "thank you" campaign this month, encouraging users to use Twitter to send messages of gratitude to their friends and family for Ramadan. However users hijacked the campaign to express their fury, writing messages like "thanks for nothing Vodafone".

The slowdown in new business, or "net additions", was revealed in Vodafone's own figures. In the three months to December 31, the last set of results before the riots, Vodafone increased its customer base in Egypt by 3.1m users to a total of 31.3m, topping the 2.4m net additions in the quarter before that.
However, this figure plummeted to 561,000 in the three months during which the riots took place – just over a sixth of the previous level of growth. It was restored to some degree in the quarter to June 30, but at 1.9m, Vodafone's net additions in Egypt were still more than a third down on pre-uprising levels.

Vodafone played down the impact, claiming that the general chaos will have played a part, and noting that it was still increasing its customer base. But the slowdown in net additions in a key growth territory for Vodafone will place additional pressure on the British company to scrutinise its contracts with governments in emerging markets.

It has repeatedly argued that it had no choice but to suspend its services in Egypt, partly because of the threat to staff, but also to ensure it could restore services quickly after suspension, and because it was legally bound to do so.

"It all comes back to the nature of legislation around critical national infrastructure," a spokesman said. "We didn't get a request from government, we got a command. It was argued against vociferously, but if we had said no, the government could have closed down the backhaul anyway."

Mr Mubarak's regime would have been likely to shut the system down in a way that would have taken "weeks" to restore, so Vodafone pulling the plug itself was "the least worst option", he added.

All governments reserve rights to control mobile networks in case of emergency. However, campaigners argue that Vodafone's response is not good enough.

Last month, Access, a New York-based pressure group, told Vodafone's annual general meeting that its behaviour in Egypt had been "unacceptable" and called on the company to carry out an audit of its licensing agreements in every territory in which it operates.

Vodafone said the issue was a matter for the governments, claiming that "individual companies aren't powerful enough" to force changes to the law.

However, the company, which serves 40pc of mobile users in Egypt, has nonetheless entered talks with Egypt's new coalition government, together with rival operators France Telecom and Etisalat, which have 40pc and 20pc of the market respectively and were also forced to suspend services. "We are actively talking to the coalition to seek to amend legislation in a way to prevent this kind of abuse of governmental power," Vodafone said.

The damage the suspension caused Vodafone's reputation was compounded by the fact it stuck to its legal obligation to stay silent on the subject, and, later, by the leakage of a promotional video in which Vodafone Egypt appeared to take credit for overthrowing Mr Mubarak's regime.

The video, produced by advertising agency JWT, was not authorised by Vodafone and was intended for internal use.
By Katherine Rushton
Daily Telegraph
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Source: Agnes Ingvarsdotir.

Mobile phone radiation disturbs hearts of fetal and newborn babies
Egypt Created: 8 Feb 2008
OBJECTIVE: To study fetal and neonatal heart rate (HR) and cardiac output (COP), following acute maternal exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted by mobile phones. METHODS: The present study was carried out at Benha University Hospital and El-Shorouq Hospital, Cairo, Egypt, from October 2003 to March 2004. Ninety women with uncomplicated pregnancies aged 18-33 years, and 30 full term healthy newborn infants were included. The pregnant mothers were exposed to EMF emitted by mobile telephones while on telephone-dialing mode for 10 minutes during pregnancy and after birth. The main outcome were measurements of fetal and neonatal HR and COP. RESULTS: A statistical significant increase in fetal and neonatal HR, and statistical significant decrease in stroke volume and COP before and after use of mobile phone were noted. All these changes are attenuated with increase in gestational age. CONCLUSION: Exposure of pregnant women to mobile phone significantly increase fetal and neonatal HR, and significantly decreased the COP.
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Source: PubMed, Rezk AY, Abdulqawi K, Mustafa RM, Abo El-Azm TM, Al-Inany H, Cairo University,

Growth assessment of children exposed to low frequency electromagnetic fields at the Abu Sultan area in Ismailia (Egypt).
Egypt Created: 20 Oct 2006
A cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the growth of 780 children of both sexes, aged between 0-12 years, and living at two different areas in Ismailia, Egypt, with approximately similar socioeconomic standards. Based on a designed questionaire, the exposed group was formed of 390 children from the Abu Sultan area. They were chosen from families living within 50 meters nearby high voltage electric power lines. Another 390 children from the El-Sheikh Zayed area were chosen as the control group. Standard anthropometric measurements were carried out for each child. Plain X-ray was done on the hands of 200 randomly selected children from both groups (100 each) to assess their bone maturation. In the exposed group the weight was significantly decreased only at birth, while the circumferences of the head and chest as well as the height were significantly reduced at all studied ages. The radiological study revealed a significant delay in carpal bone ossification of the exposed children. In conclusion: Exposure to low frequency electromagnetic fields emerged from high voltage electric power lines increases the incidence of growth retardation of children. Isolating these power lines in a scientific way in order to shield both the magnetic and electric fields or removing them far away from the inhabitant areas is recommended.
Fadel RA,
Salem AH,
Ali MH,
Abu-Saif AN.
Department of Anatomy, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Arabian Gulf University, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.
PMID: 16850772 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Source: Iris Atzmon

Cellular phones: are they detrimental?
Egypt Created: 20 Oct 2006
The issue of possible health effects of cellular phones is very much alive in the public's mind where the rapid increase in the number of the users of cell phones in the last decade has increased the exposure of people to the electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Health consequences of long term use of mobile phones are not known in detail but available data indicates the development of non specific annoying symptoms on acute exposure to mobile phone radiations. In an attempt to determine the prevalence of such cell phones associated health manifestations and the factors affecting their occurrence, a cross sectional study was conducted in five randomly selected faculties of Alexandria University. Where, 300 individuals including teaching staff, students and literate employee were equally allocated and randomly selected among the five faculties. Data about mobile phone's users and their medical history, their pattern of mobile usage and the possible deleterious health manifestations associated with cellular phone use was collected. The results revealed 68% prevalence of mobile phone usage, nearly three quarters of them (72.5%) were complainers of the health manifestations. They suffered from headache (43%), earache (38.3%), sense of fatigue (31.6%), sleep disturbance (29.5%), concentration difficulty (28.5%) and face burning sensation (19.2%). Both univariate and multivariate analysis were consistent in their findings. Symptomatic users were found to have significantly higher frequency of calls/day, longer call duration and longer total duration of mobile phone usage/day than non symptomatic users. For headache both call duration and frequency of calls/day were the significant predicting factors for its occurrence (chi2 = 18.208, p = 0.0001). For earache, in addition to call duration, the longer period of owning the mobile phone were significant predictors (chi2 = 16.996, p = 0.0002). Sense of fatigue was significantly affected by both call duration and age of the user (chi2 = 24.214, p = 0.0000), while burning sensation was only affected by frequency of calls/day (chi2 = 5.360, p = 0.020). According to the 95% confidence interval of frequency and duration of calls, the study recommended not to increase the call duration more than four minutes and limit their frequency to less than seven calls/day with total duration of exposure less than 22 min./day.
Salama OE,
Abou El Naga RM.

PMID: 16918147 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Anthropol Anz. 2006 Jun;64(2):211-26. Links
J Egypt Public Health Assoc. 2004;79(3-4):197-223

Source: Iris Atzmon

Neurobehavioral effects among inhabitants around mobile phone base stations.
Egypt Created: 27 Sep 2006
Neuropsychiatrische und kognitive Effekte bei Anwohnern in der Nähe von Mobilfunksendern
Neurobehavioral effects among inhabitants around mobile phone base stations.
There is a general concern on the possible hazardous health effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiations (RFR) emitted from mobile phone
base station antennas on the human nervous system. Inhabitants living nearby mobile phone base stations are at risk for developing neuropsychiatric problems and some changes in the performance of neurobehavioral functions either by facilitation or
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Source: Christine Kind

Study: Mobile phone over-use leads to premature aging
Egypt Created: 18 Jul 2005
CAIRO, May 14 (KUNA) Use your mobile phone too much and you would risk health problems associated with old age, a bio-physics and radio-physics study indicated.

The study, conducted by researchers at Cairo University headed by Professor of bio-physics and radio-physics Dr. Fadhil Mohammad Ali, said much of today's technology that uses short and micro waves poses threats to the human biology and bodily functions.

Exposure to this kind of waves in the home and work place causes damage to human cells and red blood cells in particular. Performance of blood enzymes is also affected as a result of damage in the enzyme-producing cells, the researchers said.
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Source: Published by Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), 14 May 2005.

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