‘Corona’ dates invade Egypt markets

Huge amounts of Ramadan dates are now on the shelves across the region. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 16 April 2020

‘Corona’ dates invade Egypt markets

  • Customers are buying the Corona dates in bulk

CAIRO: Egyptians are known for giving new names to different types of dates. During the past two years, dates known as Mohamed Salah, named after the Egyptian football star playing for Liverpool, have cropped up.

This year is no different. One kind of date, the Corona, is now available in the market for 25 Egyptian pounds a kilogram ($1.58). 

“We are used to giving various types of dates new names every year,” said Ahmed Amin, a merchant in a wholesale market in Moqattam.

“The names are usually trendy. One year, (Mohamed) Aboutrika, Egypt’s former football superstar, was trending. Aboutrika dates were the most expensive,” he said. “Other years, Egyptian actor Mohamed Ramadan was trending. Other times there was belly dancer Sofinar and pop star Shakira.”

Amin said that merchants have also named their dates after the Egyptian actress Laila Elwy and El-Shabah (the ghost), as well as giving other names which dealers believe attract a large number of customers. 

Amin said that the Corona was the most significant name to date because of the coronavirus, not only in Egypt but also across the world.

He laughed when he said that customers were buying the Corona dates in bulk, pointing out that customers are amused, too, when they buy them.

Mohamed Kamal, manager of a market affiliated to the state-owned Al-Ahram Consumer Complexes Company, said: “Huge amounts of Ramadan dates are now on the shelves while other large amounts remain in storage.”

He said that 200 kilos of dry dates are available in markets at prices ranging from 11 to 16 Egyptian pounds.

“Another fine type of dry dates costs 26 pounds per kilo. As for half dried dates, they are sold in 700 gram packages for 15 pounds and 400 gram packages for 30 pounds.” 

Kamal called the half-dried dates “best-sellers.”

In the run-up to Ramadan, the Chamber of Commerce in Cairo published a list of prices for dates. But Kamal said the list showed much disparity in the cost of dates. Ebrimi dates ranged from 12 to 22 pounds per kilo. The price of Syrian dates ranged from 6 to 16 pounds a kilo.

White Ghazal dates reached between 11 to 23 pounds a kilo. Merkaby dates were going for from 6 to 18 pounds. Ayenat dates were between 11 to 23 pounds. Alban dates ranged from 12 to 24 pounds. Wards dates recorded 11 to 25 pounds. Bertmoda dates were between 15 to 25 pounds. Skouti dates registered between 15 to 25 pounds. Aswani dates stood at 6 to 16 pounds. El-Gondeila dates were 15 to 25 pounds. And Qarn El-Ghazal dates were being sold at between 20 to 35 pounds per kilo. 

Despite the “Corona” dates tag, market merchants have also introduced the slogan “No Corona among us,” fighting the virus by wearing gloves and face masks, while attempting to maintain social distancing and avoiding crowds. They underlined their determination to remain open in order to make a steady income. 

And they added one more refrain: “Ramadan is incomplete without dates.” 


‘Tiger King’ star loses animal park to nemesis he tried to kill

Updated 02 June 2020

‘Tiger King’ star loses animal park to nemesis he tried to kill

  • Joe Exotic’s feud with Baskin captivated millions in a Netflix documentary that became a sensation during the early stages of the lockdown
  • A judge in Oklahoma ruled that the ownership of Exotic’s 16-acre land in the state must be transferred to Baskin after a protracted legal wrangle

NEW YORK: The star of hit Netflix series “Tiger King” will have to hand over the ownership of his famous zoo to the nemesis he tried to have murdered, a court has ruled.
Joe Exotic, whose real name is Joseph Maldonado-Passage, is in jail after he was sentenced to 22 years in prison in January for the attempted murder of Carole Baskin.
His feud with Baskin, an animal sanctuary owner, captivated millions in the Netflix documentary that became a sensation when it was released in March as America went into coronavirus lockdown.
Baskin had for years accused Exotic of abusing the animals, including tigers, in his park.
Exotic said Baskin was trying to destroy his business, and their dispute ended up in a years-long legal battle.
On Monday, a judge in Oklahoma ruled that the ownership of Exotic’s 16-acre land in the state must be transferred to Baskin, who runs Big Cat Rescue in Florida.
The Greater Wynnewood Exotic Animal Park will have to vacate the premises, “including removal of all zoo animals,” Judge Scott Palk said in the decision.
In 2013, a Florida court ordered Exotic to pay Baskin $1 million because his company had used logos and images similar to those of Big Cat Rescue.
Exotic tried to get off from paying by shielding his assets, leading to this second lawsuit, with the judge ruling in Baskin’s favor.
“Tiger King,” a seven-part documentary, was one of Netflix’s most-watched shows.
The platform announced in late April that in one month, 64 million subscribers had seen all or part of the series.
Exotic, 57, has requested a pardon from President Donald Trump.