Small But Rare Protests in Egypt After Online Call for Dissent

Hundreds protested in central Cairo and several other Egyptian cities late on Friday against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, responding to an online call for a demonstration against government corruption, witnesses said.

Protests have become very rare in Egypt following a broad crackdown on dissent under Sisi, who took power after the overthrow of the former Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in 2013 following mass protests against his rule.

Security forces moved to disperse the small and scattered crowds in Cairo using tear gas but many young people stayed on the streets in the center of the capital, shouting “Leave Sisi,” Reuters reporters at the scene said.

Police arrested some of the demonstrators, witnesses said.

Small protests were also held in Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, Suez on the Red Sea as well as the Nile Delta textile town of Mahalla el-Kubra, about 110 km (68 miles) north of Cairo, according to residents and videos posted online.

There was a heavy security presence in downtown Cairo and on Tahrir Square where mass protests started in 2011 which toppled veteran ruler Hosni Mubarak.

Authorities could not be immediately reached to comment.

State TV did not cover the incidents.

A pro-government TV anchor said only a small group of protesters had gathered in central Cairo to take videos and selfies before leaving the scene. Another pro-government channel said the situation around the Tahrir Square was quiet.

Mohamed Ali, a building contractor and actor turned political activist who lives in Spain, called in a series of videos for the protest after accusing Sisi and the military of corruption.

Last Saturday, Sisi dismissed the claims as “lies and slander.”

Sisi was first elected in 2014 with 97% of the vote, and re-elected four years later with the same percentage, in a vote in which the only other candidate was an ardent Sisi supporter.

His popularity has been dented by economic austerity measures.

Sisi’s supporters say dissent must be quashed to stabilize Egypt, after a 2011 uprising and the unrest that followed, including an Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula that has killed hundreds of police, soldiers and civilians.

They also credit him with economic reforms agreed with the International Monetary Fund.



Judge: Trump Must Give Deposition in Protesters’ Lawsuit

A New York judge has ordered President Donald Trump to give a videotaped deposition in a lawsuit filed by protesters who claim they were roughed up outside Trump Tower.

State Supreme Court Judge Doris Gonzalez of the Bronx on Friday denied Trump’s effort to quash a subpoena seeking the president’s testimony.

She ordered Trump to videotape a deposition before the trial, which is scheduled to begin Sept. 26.

The lawsuit was filed by six activists who say they were assaulted by Trump security staff during a Sept. 3, 2015, protest by people upset over comments Trump made about Mexican immigrants.

The judge says Trump’s testimony is “indispensable” as someone in charge of the business and his campaign.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately return a phone message.



US Marines Charged in Connection With Human Smuggling Ring

Thirteen U.S. Marines arrested in July in connection with an alleged human smuggling operation in Southern California are now facing formal charges from the military.

The charges range from failure to obey an order to drunkenness and theft, and include the alleged transportation of undocumented immigrants, according to a statement from the 1st Marine Division.

Two of the Marines, Lance Corporal Byron Law II and Lance Corporal David Salazar-Quintero, were arrested on July 3 after border patrol agents found them picking up three illegal aliens along a stretch of Interstate 8, about 11 kilometers (7 miles) north of the U.S. border with Mexico.

According to court documents, Law and Salazar-Quintero admitted to having been in contact with a recruiter, who offered to pay them for transporting the illegal immigrants from the interstate to other locations.

Law told authorities he and Salazar-Quintero were never paid for the interaction, according to the complaint.

A third Marine was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol a week later, on July 10.

The other 10 were taken into custody during what some officials described as a sting operation July 25 at Camp Pendleton, a Marine Corps base located about 79 kilometers (49 miles) north of San Diego.

In a statement following the mass arrests, the Marine Corps’ 1st Division said the regiment’s commanding officer “will act within his authority to hold the Marines accountable at the appropriate level, should they be charged.”

In addition to the Marine Corps and U.S. Border Patrol, officials with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service also aided in the initial investigation.

According to the Marine Corps, none of the Marines detained as part of the investigation were assigned to the U.S. military operation to support efforts to secure the U.S. southern border with Mexico.



Зеленський зустрівся з представниками місії МВФ – ОП

Президент України Володимир Зеленський 20 вересня провів зустріч із заступницею директора Європейського департаменту Міжнародного валютного фонду Джулією Козак та керівником місії МВФ в Україні Роном ван Роденом, повідомляє пресслужба Офісу президента.

Як повідомляє ОП, учасники зустрічі обговорили програму підтримки реформ в Україні з боку МВФ. Окрім Зеленського, в ній взяли участь прем’єр-міністр Олексій Гончарук та очільниця Міністерства фінансів Оксана Маркарова.

«Я запевняю у повній підтримці структурних реформ в економіці, незалежності Національного банку та всебічного розслідування зловживань у банківському секторі», – наводить пресслужба слова Зеленського.

Крім того, за повідомленням, перемови торкнулися ситуації навколо «Приватбанку», який був націоналізований в 2016 році. Наразі колишній акціонер банку Ігор Коломойський оскаржує націоналізацію в суді.

Читайте також: Україна може залишитися без підтримки Заходу через «Приватбанк» і Коломойського – FT​

«Президент зазначив, що подальша співпраця з Міжнародним валютним фондом є важливим елементом посилення довіри до України з боку іноземних інвесторів і міжнародних партнерів», – йдеться в заяві ОП.

16 вересня перша заступниця голови Національного банку Катерина Рожкова повідомила, що НБУ очікує на нову програму співпраці з Міжнародним валютним фондом до кінця 2019 року.

21 грудня 2018 року Україна отримала перший і наразі єдиний транш за поточною програмою співпраці з Міжнародним валютним фондом обсягом близько 1,4 мільярда доларів. Загалом розмір програми складає 3,9 мільярда доларів.

Згідно із базовим прогнозом Національного банку, за новою програмою співпраці з МВФ Україна може отримати два мільярди доларів від МВФ у цьому році та ще по два мільярди у 2020 й 2021 роках.

Місія Міжнародного валютного фонду приїхала до Києва 11 вересня. Вона працюватиме в українській столиці до 24 вересня.



Pennsylvania Latinos Changing the Political Rhythm in Key Swing State

More than a half century ago, a group of Puerto Ricans moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, to work the nearby mushroom fields. Since then the Latino and Hispanic population of the city itself has mushroomed — to 65% of the total. That majority-minority population is being closely watched politically because it is a key constituency in a swing state considered a must-win for both parties in next year’s presidential election. VOA’s White House bureau chief, Steve Herman reports from Reading.



Trump Administration Revokes California’s Strict Emission Standards Despite Its Pollution

Remnants of tropical storm Imelda have caused serious flooding in eastern Texas, including parts of Houston, forcing evacuations, flight cancellations, school closures and causing some outages. Reports of other environmental disasters come from various parts of the world, as the United Nations General Assembly prepares to discuss climate change, which is linked to human activity such as pollution and gas-fueled transportation. Zlatica Hoke reports the Trump administration so far has shunned efforts to curb pollution, and there are no signs this will change.