11 people drowned at rocky beach in northern Egypt

he waters off Alexandria are popular in the summer, but beaches are currently closed and lifeguards off duty due to the coronavirus pandemic (AP)
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Updated 11 July 2020

11 people drowned at rocky beach in northern Egypt

  • Emergency teams were still searching for five bodies late into Friday.
  • Every year the beach sees a rash of drownings caused by strong currents and foamy water.

CAIRO: Eleven people drowned off the coast of northern Egypt, local authorities said Friday, at a beach known for its rocky jetty and fast-moving waters.
The tragedy unfolded at a beach in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, when a young boy ran into the sea and began having difficulties, said the city’s central tourism administration.
When a man from the group jumped in to rescue him, he became caught in the waters, too. Nine other people then entered the water to help, and they all died, said Maj. Gen. Jamal Rashad. It was not immediately clear if they were related.
Emergency teams recovered six bodies and were still searching for the rest late Friday.
The waters off Alexandria are popular in the summer, but beaches are currently closed and lifeguards off duty due to the coronavirus pandemic. The group went to the shore at dawn to avoid being caught by police, who try to disperse crowds and enforce antivirus restrictions at beaches in the area, authorities said.
Palm Beach has long been known for its deadly waters, local media reported. Every year it sees a rash of drownings due to its strong currents, foamy waters and rocky shore. Members of parliament have repeatedly demanded that the beach be closed to the public.
As summer temperatures in Egypt reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the accident raised concerns over water safety as people seek relief from the heat despite pandemic-related restrictions.


Lebanese Christian party offers idea to resolve dispute over new cabinet

Updated 19 September 2020

Lebanese Christian party offers idea to resolve dispute over new cabinet

  • The proposal, put forward on Saturday, involved handing major ministries to smaller sectarian groups in a country where power is shared between Muslims and Christians
  • A Sept. 15 deadline agreed with France to name a cabinet has passed

BEIRUT: A party founded by Lebanon’s Christian president made a proposal to end a dispute that has blocked the formation of a new cabinet and threatened a French drive to lift the country out of its worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war.
The proposal, put forward on Saturday, involved handing major ministries to smaller sectarian groups in a country where power is shared between Muslims and Christians.
There was no immediate comment from Shiite Muslim groups, which have insisted they choose who fills several posts. But a political source familiar with the thinking of dominant Shiite groups said the idea was unlikely to work.
Lebanon’s efforts to swiftly form a new government have run into the sand over how to pick ministers in a country where political loyalties mostly follow sectarian religious lines.
A Sept. 15 deadline agreed with France to name a cabinet has passed. Paris, which is leading an international push to haul Lebanon back from economic collapse, has voiced exasperation and told Beirut to act “without delay.”
The leader of the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), the party founded by President Michel Aoun and allied to Hezbollah, proposed “undertaking an experiment to distribute the so-called sovereign ministries to smaller sects, specifically to the Druze, Alawites, Armenians and Christian minorities.”
The statement was issued after Gebran Bassil, FPM head and son-in-law of the president, chaired a meeting of the party’s political leadership. Bassil is a Maronite, Lebanon’s largest Christian community.
Prime Minister-designate Mustapha Adib, a Sunni Muslim under Lebanon’s sectarian system of power sharing, wants to shake up the leadership of ministries, some of which have been controlled by the same factions for years.
Lebanon’s main Shiite groups — the Amal Movement and the heavily armed, Iranian-backed Hezbollah — want to select the figures to fill a number of positions, including the finance minister, a top position often called a “sovereign” ministry.
An FPM official said the party had not discussed the idea about distributing ministries with Hezbollah or Amal. “We are proposing an exit strategy for those who are stuck up a tree without a ladder,” the official told Reuters.
With the nation buried under a mountain of debt and with its banks paralyzed, the finance minister will play a crucial role as Lebanon seeks to restart stalled talks with the International Monetary Fund, one of the first steps on France’s roadmap.