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Ex-Egypt Trade Minister Sentenced in Absentia for Embezzlement

Former Egyptian trade and industry minister Rashid Mohammed Rashid was sentenced in absentia on Saturday to five years in prison for embezzlement of public funds, state news agency Mena reported.

Rashid, who is the subject of an international search warrant, was also ordered to pay a fine of more than nine million Egyptian pounds (over a million euros).

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Fatah, Hamas to 'Finalize' Unity Govt. Next Week

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in Cairo next week to finalize a new government put together by the two factions, a top official of his Fatah movement said Tuesday.

The meeting was announced as Palestinian factions were in Cairo for reconciliation talks aimed at choosing a prime minister to head the unity government.

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Palestinian Rivals in Cairo for Talks on PM Dispute

Palestinian factions were in Cairo on Tuesday for reconciliation talks aimed at choosing a prime minister to head a unity government.

Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas's Fatah has said it wants to retain Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to head the government, but the nomination was immediately rejected by Islamist Hamas movement.

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Azerbaijan Removes Statue of Egypt's Mubarak

The authorities in Azerbaijan have removed a monument to deposed Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak which had angered government critics, an Agence France Presse correspondent reported Wednesday.

The statue of the former Egyptian leader sitting in an armchair in front of three pyramids was taken away from a park in the town of Khirdalan near the capital of the ex-Soviet republic on Tuesday.

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Egypt Reopens Rafah Border with Gaza for First Time in 4 Years

Egypt on Saturday reopened its Rafah border crossing with Gaza, allowing people to cross freely for the first time in four years, in a move hailed by Hamas but criticized by Israel.

Among the first to cross the reopened border post were two ambulances ferrying patients from the hitherto-blockaded Gaza Strip for treatment in Egypt as well as a minibus carrying a dozen visitors, an Agence France Presse correspondent reported.

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Cairo to Host African Champions League Play-Off

The African Champions League play-off between Wydad Casablanca of Morocco and Simba of Tanzania will be staged in Cairo on May 28, the organisers said Friday.

Wydad and Simba lost in the qualifying competition to defending champions TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo, who were disqualified last weekend for fielding an ineligible player.

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Report: Mubarak to Apologize to Egyptians, Plead for Amnesty

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak is to apologize to the nation and plead for amnesty, three months after he was overthrown by a popular uprising, according to a report in the independent daily al-Shorouk.

The report to appear in Tuesday's edition quoted Egyptian and Arab official sources as saying that Mubarak was "drafting a letter which will be broadcast on Egyptian and Arabic channels, apologizing on behalf of himself and his family for any offence caused to the people."

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24 Injured in Clashes Outside Israeli Embassy in Cairo

Egyptian protesters demanding the expulsion of Israel's ambassador clashed with riot police outside the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Sunday, leaving at least 24 people wounded.

The police, who were backed by the army, fired dozens of tear gas canisters at the protesters, who ripped out paving stones to throw and burned tires.

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Former Egyptian Interior Minister Sentenced to 12 years

A court sentenced former Egyptian interior minister Habib al-Adly to 12 years for corruption on Thursday in the first trial of an official from the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

Adly, who ran Mubarak's security services for more than a decade before the strongman's overthrow in February in the face of 18 straight days of mass protests, was convicted of money-laundering and illicitly enriching himself while in office.

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Arab Forum for Environment and Development Concludes Consultation Meetings on Green Economy in Cairo, Beirut, Amman

The Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED) concluded Wednesday in Amman a series of consultation meetings to discuss the first draft of its upcoming report on an Arab Green Economy, due to be released in October 2011. The AFED report will address the transformations needed to achieve desired economic, social, and environmental sustainability goals in Arab countries. The report will address the enabling strategies and development policies for navigating a green transition in eight sectors: energy, water, agriculture, tourism, waste management, industry, cities/buildings, and transportation. The Arab Green Economy report is the fourth annual report by AFED, and follows publication of three reports, Arab Environment: Future Challenges in 2008, Impact of Climate Change on Arab Countries in 2009, and Water: Sustainable Management of a Scarce Resource in 2010.

The consultation meeting in Amman was hosted by the University of Petra (UOP), under the patronage of its President H.E. Dr. Adnan Badran, Former Prime Minister of Jordan and Chairman of AFED Board of Trustees. Fifty officials, authors, experts, business executives and civil society organizations from Jordan and abroad addressed urban city planning, green buildings and tourism. They included H.E. Mr. Khaled Irani, Former Minister of Environment and Energy, H.E. Ms. Suzanne Afanah, Former Minister of Tourism, the report’s main editor Hussein Abaza, and a wide spectrum of participants from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Oman, UAE, Morocco, United Kingdom, USA and Sweden. The meeting discussed specific strategies to institutionalize green practices that reduce energy and water consumption and enhance the quality of life, while promoting economic growth and employment.

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