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By Jay Bonggolto
Egypt threatens to sue Apple for allegedly stifling competition in the country
by Jay Bonggolto
Apple is facing an ultimatum in Egypt after the Egyptian Competition Authority (ECA) accused the company of breaking the country's competition regulations by imposing restrictions on local retailers. The Cupertino giant has now been given two months to end what the Egyptian government describes as unfair distribution terms with retailers.
The issue stems from certain clauses in Apple's contracts with retailers in Egypt which prevent them from placing orders with other distributors. The ECA finally invalidated these clauses after two years of investigating Apple's business practices in the country.
Amir Nabil, head of the ECA, said those practices effectively blocked competition in Egypt. He was quoted by Bloomberg as saying:
According to Bloomberg, a standard iPhone model costs about 50% more in Egypt than its retail price in other parts of the Middle East. For example, a 512GB variant of the iPhone Xs Max retails for approximately $1,983 in Egypt whereas it can be had for around $1,306 in the U.A.E. Arab Business Machine, Apple's agent in the Middle East, is also subject to an imminent legal action if the iPhone maker fails to comply with the ECA's order.
It's not unusual for Apple to face legal threats in various regions of the world. Yesterday, a Chinese court issued a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of many iPhone models in the country. That decision spelled a victory for Qualcomm, which has been accusing Apple of patent infringement.
Egypt's Grand Mufti issues fatwa against bitcoin
by Paul Hill
The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Sheikh Shawki Allam, has issued a fatwa against the digital cryptocurrency bitcoin. The influential religious authority said that is not permissible to share bitcoin by selling, buying, leasing, or any other means. He said that it is not considered very safe because it carries with it several risks and isn't regulated by a centralised authority.
The Grand Mufti’s declaration that bitcoin is not permissible under Islamic law follows a ban by the Egyptian state last month after the first exchange opened in the country in August. Grand Mufti Allam compared bitcoin to gambling due to the high prices it is reaching. He said this can directly lead to the financial ruin of the individual, a group, and institutions. On the political front, an advisor to the Grand Mufti alleged that it was being used to fund terrorism.
Despite reaching the dizzying heights of $20,000 per bitcoin, the cryptocurrency slid back to around $13,000 and is currently sitting at $13,990 at the time of writing. Another cryptocurrency, Ripple, has been making huge strides over the past week; while most other cryptocurrencies were sliding to lower levels, Ripple was bucking the trend and increasing in price, it is now sitting at $2.41 per coin and boasts a larger market cap than Ethereum according to Coin Market Cap.
Source: BBC News
Egypt central bank kills bitcoin rumours... again
by Paul Hill
The deputy governor of the Central Bank of Egypt has shot down rumours that suggested that banks in the country would be allowed to handle cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. Speaking with Al Monitor, Gamal Negm, killed the rumour that suggested banks would be able to handle Bitcoin.
The development comes amidst several countries stating their intent to use virtual currencies. Some notable examples of countries investigating the use of virtual currencies are the State of Palestine, which hopes to bypass Israeli restrictions, and Russia, which formerly had a harsh position towards the use of cryptocurrencies.
The rumours that the Egyptian central bank would allow Bitcoin stem from reports that circulated on June 16 and 17; they alleged that banks in the country would be able to handle Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The denial from Negm is the second such denial from an Egyptian official. Lubna Hilal another deputy governor at the Central Bank, on June 24, denied that anyone was contemplating allowing the use of Bitcoin by banks.
Source: Al Monitor via: Coindesk | Image via Shutterstock
I wanted to visit this country since I was very young, but I never had the chance, till now. It has been my biggest wish, for obvious reasons, since I'm really fascinated by their history, myths, etc. So I'm planning for a Egypt vacation next summer with my girl and another couple and I really need some advice, either from people that were there before or people that live in this country.
At first, I planned to stay a week there, but then I realized that maybe I won't have enough time to visit everything I want, so (if I'm right) I can stay for 2 weeks if needed. To be more specific, I plan to visit most of the sites, like Giza, Karnak, Luxor, the museum in Cairo, Abu Simbel, Aswan, etc.
So what I wish to know is:
- when would be the best time to go there, for climate reasons (I hate heat...);
- where should I stay (some good hotels);
- should I get a all inclusive package or should I eat elsewhere (I don't know anything about local food);
- where can I take pictures and where it's forbidden (obviously, I'm talking about the visiting sites);
- how are the prices there, for basic stuff, just to make an idea (like how much is a beer, or a pack of cigarettes);
- anything else that you think I would need to know.