“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

1 - TUNISIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
African Heads of State pose for a group photo ahead of the start of the 28th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on January 30, 2017 (AFP Photo/ Zacharias ABUBEKER)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Monday, November 30, 2015

'No to hatred, vengeance and violence' Pope tells Central Africans

Pope Francis has wrapped up his first ever trip to Africa by calling for reconciliation in the Central African Republic, which has been wracked for more than two years by violence between Christian and Muslims.

Deutsche Welle, 30 November 2015

"God is great" the jubiliant crowds called out in Arabic to Pope Francis as he drove by in his Popemobile. Francis was on his way to the Koudoukou mosque in PK 5, the Muslim enclave in Bangui, capital of Central African Republic. This was the climax of his six-day tour of Africa, which also took him to Uganda and Kenya.

The mood in Bangui during the papal visit was upbeat, but security was tight. The capital's Muslims have been unable to leave PK5 for months because armed Christian militia fighters have surrounded its perimeter.

But on Monday (30.11.2015) Francis sought to promote reconciliation between the two faiths. Seated inside the mosque, he said Christians and Muslims were brothers and should behave as such. "Together, we say no to hatred, to vengeance and violence, especially that committed in the name of a religion or God."

The Pontiff concluded his remarks with "Salaam" meaning God is peace. It was a gesture appreciated by Bangui's Muslims.

Abdel Aziz Magbadakara, a Bangui iman and Secretary General of the Communuity of Central African Muslims (CICA) told DW ahead of the visit that the pope's presence would contribute to social cohesion in the capital and could bring about reconciliation between Christians and Muslims.

"The message to the two communities in Central African Republic is that we should silence our quarrels in order to welcome our guest," he said.

Almost 4,000 dipslaced persons have
 sought sanctuary in the Saint Sauveur
Those quarrels have the dimensions of a civil war. Central African Republic was plunged into violence in March 2013 when the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels toppled Christian President Francoise Bozizze. That ushered in a brutal reign. When the rebel leader Michel Djotodia left power the following year, anti-balaka Christian militia launched a swift and horrific backlash against Muslim civilians. Before the violence 120,000 Muslims lived in Bangui, now there are just 15,000.

Bangui mass highlight for Catholics

There was always a question mark hanging over the Pope's visit to Central African Republic because of the precarious security situation. An extra 3,000 UN blue helmets and 100 troops from French special forces were deployed to Bangui to ensure the Pope's safety. Yet in spite of concern for his security, the Pope made most of the journey from Bangui airport to the presidential palace for a meeting with interim president Catherin Samba Panza in his open-sided Popemobile.

During a mass at Bangui Cathedral on Sunday evening Francis opened a "holy door," marking the beginning of a Jubilee year dedicated to forgiveness and reconciliation.

In his sermon, Francis appealed to all fighters to lay down their weapons and urged the nation's youth to "always forgive, never hate."

Pope Francis with interim President
 Catherine Samba-Panza. Elections in CAR
 have been postponed until the end
of December
According to the rights group Amnesty International, thousands of Central Africans have been killed in the violence over the last two years. Just a few week ago, renewed clashes left 80 people dead and 400 injured. Parliamentary and presidential elections, originally scheduled for mid-October have been put back until December 27, 2015 because of friction between religious and ethnic groups. It is still uncertain whether they will take place on that date. However, shortly before the Pope arrived all presidential candidates met together for the first time. The meeting in itself was seen as a glimmer of hope for the country.

On Sunday the Pope visited the Saint Saveur refugee camp, which houses 3,700 internally displaced persons. "The conditions here are appalling. Many of the refugees have nothing to eat," camp coordinator Maurice Nguenda told DW. But he said the Pope's visit had boosted his confidence. "We are prepared to work towards reconciliation with our [Muslim] brothers," he said.

Despite the optimism, some believe the Pope's visit will turn out to have been little more than a symbolic gesture. "The Pope can't automatically spread peace wherever he goes," said Ali, a young trader in PK5.

Francis arrived in Central African Republic after paying visits to Uganda and Kenya where hundreds of thousands joined him in celebrating mass. At the United Nations Environment Program in Nairobi he warned of the dangers of letting Paris climate conference fail. It would be catastrophic if particular interests were to prevail over the common good, he said.

Hippolyte Marboua and Jeff Murphy Bares contributed to this report

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pope arrives in Central African Republic on last leg of Africa tour

Pope Francis has arrived in the capital of the Central African Republic, kicking off the last part of his Africa tour. He plans to visit not only Christians displaced by the ongoing violence, but also Muslims.

Deutsche Welle, 29 Nov 2015

Pope in Central African Republic

Pope Francis arrived in the Central African Republic capital of Bangui on Sunday, as a years-long conflict between Christians and Muslims continues to spark bloodshed and massive displacement. The country will be his last stop on a six-day tour of Africa that began with a visit to Kenya and continued with a trip to Uganda.

Shortly before his plane touched down in Bangui, the pope took to Twitter to impart a message to the country.

Upon arriving, he called on the country to begin a "new chapter" in its tormented history.

"It is my fervent wish that the various national consultations to be held in coming weeks will enable the country to embark serenely on a new chapter of its history," he said.

Mired in conflict

The capital has seen heavy violence over the last couple of months, fueling speculation that the pontiff would cancel his visit. In preparation for his arrival, security forces patrolled the streets leading to the airport where his plane was expected to land.

The pontiff is expected to first visit a community for displaced Christians, followed then by a visit to a similar community for uprooted Muslims.

The Central African Republic has been mired in conflict since Muslim rebels overthrew Christian president Francois Bozize in 2013. The ensuing violence between Christians and Muslims has divided the country and led to the displacement of some one million people.

Changing 'the negative into the positive'

Since arriving on the continent, Pope Francis has urged Africans to overcome the challenges plaguing their societies through faith and responsible leadership.

In Kenya, the pontiff visited the slums of Nairobi and lashed out at the injustice faced by the roughly 100,000 people living in extreme poverty there.

"I am here because I want you to know that I am not indifferent to your joys and hopes, your troubles and your sorrows," he told a packed church on Friday.

In Uganda, the pope chided the country's leaders, insisting that they use the country's bountiful resources in a responsible manner. He also visited a shrine dedicated to Christians murdered by the king in the late 19th century.

blc/jlw (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Egyptian head of Coptic Orthodox Church makes rare Israel trip

Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope has visited Jerusalem to attend the funeral of a bishop. The religious leader made the visit despite a travel ban to Israel imposed by his predecessor.

Deutsche Welle, 28 Nov 2015

Coptic Pope Tawadros II

Pope Tawadros traveled to Jerusalem to attend a funeral on Saturday, defying a travel ban to Israel that had been put in place by his predecessor.

Tawadros made the visit to honor a senior Coptic official who had passed away. He said his trip should not be seen as an official one, but rather merely as a visit made to "bid farewell to a very important person," the Associated Press reported.

Shenouda III, Egypt's previous Coptic pope, banned worshippers from travelling to Israel, even after the two countries signed a peace treaty in 1979.

Defying the ban

Since the death of Shenouda in 2012, however, hundreds of Egyptian Copts have gone on pilgrimages to Jerusalem, exalted as the burial place of Jesus.

Despite this, the church said the ban remains in place. "The position of the church remains unchanged, which is not going to Jerusalem without all our Egyptian (Muslim) brothers," a spokesperson told the AFP news agency on Thursday, the day the pope left for Jerusalem.

The funeral is being held for Archbishop Anba Abraham, the head of the Coptic Church in Jerusalem. He died on Wednesday aged 73.

blc/rc (AP, AFP, Reuters)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Danish auction house stops ivory sales after protests

Yahoo – AFP, 24 Nov 2015

Ivory, as displayed here at an auction on October 28, 2008 in Windhoek, Namibia,
is sold for jewellery and decorative objects, with much of it is smuggled to China,
where many increasingly wealthy shoppers are buying ivory trinkets (AFP)

Denmark's second largest auction house said Monday it had stopped selling ivory products amid a social media storm over its planned sale of two tusks belonging to an African elephant.

The nearly two-metre (80 inch) tusks, weighing 28 kilogrammes (62 pounds) each, were to have gone under the hammer for a total of 150,000 kroner (20,107 euros, $21,344) on Wednesday.

"We try to be as aware as possible of what can cause offence," Kasper Nielsen, a sales director at Bruun Rasmussen, told AFP.

The move had been based on "the reactions we have received both" from the conservation group WWF "and our customers on social media," he said.

The decision also covered any tusks and horns belonging to the endangered species listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, the company said.

The auction had been slammed by the WWF as immoral, and on the company's Facebook page one user had left comments that said: "Supporting the poachers is horrific!" and: "I will never do business with this outfit again."

Rampant poaching of elephants in Africa has caused a major drop in their numbers over recent decades.

There are between 419,000 and 650,000 elephants left, according to conservation group Save the Elephants.

In a bid to show their determination to end the trade in ivory, Kenya's wildlife authority last week vowed to destroy its vast ivory stockpile from several thousand elephants, nine times more than the largest pile torched so far.

Ivory is sought out for jewellery and decorative objects and much of it is smuggled to China, where many increasingly wealthy shoppers are buying ivory trinkets as a sign of financial success.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Ambassador swims Nile at Khartoum for Facebook bet

Yahoo – AFP, 21 Nov 2015

Sudanese and Dutch women take part in an event to swim across the Blue
Nile in the capital Khartoum on November 21, 2015, as part of an event
organised by Dutch ambassador Susan Blankhart (AFP Photo/Ashraf Shazly)

Khartoum (AFP) - The Dutch ambassador to Sudan swam across the Nile in Khartoum on Saturday in a stunt that began as a bet to win more "likes" for her embassy's Facebook page.

Clad in an bright orange swimsuit bearing the embassy logo, Ambassador Susan Blankhart swam several hundred metres (yards) across the Blue Nile with six other Dutch women and seven Sudanese women, cheered on by dozens of supporters on the riverbank.

"It was lovely, it was beautiful. I would recommend that everyone swims across the Nile," Blankhart said laughing, back on dry land after the crossing.

She had originally said that she would swim across the river if her embassy's Facebook page received more than 10,000 likes.

After she hit the target, the 63-year-old organised the swim with two charities to raise awareness about safe swimming in the Nile.

The group was watched over by a team of Sudanese lifeguards in kayaks and boats as they swam through the muddy water.

The swim was also aimed at promoting women's empowerment in Sudan, Blankhart said.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

UN asks US, Britain to open files on ex-secretary general's death

Yahoo – AFP, 18 Nov 2015

An 1960 photo captures a meeting between then-UN secretary-general Dag 
Hammarskjold and Moise Kapenda Tshombe, leader of the Katanga provincein
what is nowthe Democratic Republic of the Congo (AFP Photo)

United Nations (United States) (AFP) - The United Nations on Wednesday pressed demands that the United States and Britain release secret files on the mysterious death more than 50 years ago of former secretary-general Dag Hammarskjold.

Hammarskjold, the UN’s second secretary-general, died when his plane crashed on 17 or 18 September 1961 near Ndola in Northern Rhodesia -- now known as Zambia.

A UN panel said in July that it had uncovered new information pointing to the possibility that his plane may have been attacked and suggested that answers may be found in classified documents.

Requests sent by the panel to the United States and Britain for the secret files were turned down, but UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked for the information to be released in July.

Ban's request, however, was ignored and the UN chief renewed his appeal on Wednesday.

"There is a possibility that unreleased material relating to the crash of flight SE-BDY on the night between 17 and 18 September 1961 may still be available," Ban's spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

"Therefore, the secretary-general again urges all member states to disclose, declassify or otherwise make available all information they may have in their possession related to the circumstances and conditions of the crash," he said.

While no country was singled out, UN officials confirmed that Britain and the United States were rejecting requests for information on the Hammarskjold case.

The mysterious circumstances of the crash has for years fueled conspiracy theories, and the panel did ask Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, South Africa and the United States for specific information.

The 56-year-old Swedish diplomat died in the plane crash while on his way to negotiate a ceasefire for mining-rich Katanga province in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, a former Belgian colony.

The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution in December last year demanding that Hammarskjold's fate be cleared up once and for all.

Dujarric said Ban is "personally invested in fulfilling our duty to the distinguished former secretary-general and those who accompanied him, to endeavor to establish the facts after so many years."

The General Assembly is due to present a new draft resolution on Thursday demanding more action to shed light on the former UN chief's fate.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Benin tackles climate change with sunshine and coconuts

Yahoo – AFP, Delphine Bousquet, 17 Nov 2015

Philomene Ahouansou cooks beans and rice by the roadside using a 
solar-powered cooker in Porto-Novo, Benin (AFP Photo/Delphine Bousquet)

Porto-Novo (Benin) (AFP) - Philomene Ahouansou cooks beans and rice in three giant steel pots by the roadside in Benin's capital, Porto-Novo. It's a scene that's common throughout the country.

But instead of a wood-fuelled stove, she's using a solar-powered cooker run on coconut husks, which it's hoped will prevent deforestation and reduce greenhouse gas-producing smoke.

The device -- called "Mivo", which means "Take it easy" in the local Fon language -- has been marketed by a charity called Autre Vie.

For the last three years, the organisation has been trying to turn Beninese away from their reliance on charcoal or wood, which is used in four out of five households for cooking.

"When I heard the advert on the radio, I went straight to the Autre Vie offices to buy three," said Philomene.

"There's no smoke getting in your eyes, it's not too hot, you don't have to ventilate it so the fire takes hold. You can work with it all day," she added.

A solar-powered cooker, called "Mivo", which means "Take it easy" in the 
local Fon language -- has been marketed by a charity called Autre Vie in 
Porto-Novo (AFP Photo)

'We leave the trees in peace'

The cooker -- a metal cylinder with a ceramic bowl on top for the fuel -- works on the convection principle.

A fan -- made from recovered computer parts -- is fixed on one side to a power cable and plugged into a solar panel with a rechargeable battery.

The light from the sun powers the fan, sending a constant stream of hot air to allow cooking.

LED lightbulbs can be attached to the solar panels to give light to customers without electricity, allowing them to stop using dangerous and noxious oil lamps.

"I used wood before. It cost me a lot of money, 25,000 CFA francs ($42, 38 euros) a month," said Philomene. "Coconut husks now cost me 5,000 CFA francs a month."

Most people, like Philomene, cite financial reasons for buying the cooker but they also now know it's more environmentally friendly.

"We leave the trees in peace in the forest. That gives us rain and when it rains things grow. So, it protects us," she said.

With every purchase, Autre Vie tells customers about climate change.

"We cut down trees illegally for charcoal," said young mother Chimene Agossou, who lives in a household of 13 that switched to cooking with sunshine and coconuts two years ago.

"When we extract the coconut oil we're left with the husks. That's not killing the forests."

Executive director of the charity Autre Vie (Another Life) Romuald Djivoessoun
 poses with a solar-powered cooker in Porto-Novo (AFP Photo)

Inspired by blacksmiths

Romuald Djivoessoun made his first prototype of the cooker 10 years ago after seeing blacksmiths burn coconut shells in the forge to melt iron.

He honed the design over the years with the help of craftsmen and academics.

"This cooker is going to reduce deforestation and as a result greenhouse gases," said the talkative engineer who runs Autre Vie.

"For a family of four, a bag of shells lasts six months. With charcoal you need a bag and a half every month. You have to cut wood."

Forests cover only 17 percent of Benin yet some 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) of forests are disappearing every year, according to Benin's forest and natural resources directorate.

Charcoal production is blamed for part of it.

One study estimated that between 2009 and 2010, charcoal production doubled.

Autre Vie managed to convince 200 female charcoal burners to find and adapt coconut husks for use in the solar cookers.

With financial support from the UN development fund some 800 cookers have now been sold, despite being costly for low-income Benin at 55,000 CFA francs.

Workers make solar-powered cookers at a factory in Akpro-Misserete, outside
of Porto-Novo on October 1, 2015 (AFP Photo)

Djivoessoun said demand is high, with 120 clients on the waiting list, and local craftsmen can't keep up.

The Akpro-Misserete council, near Porto-Novo, donated land to build a small factory to enable more industrial-scale production, which should lower prices and also allow different sizes of cookers to be made.

World leaders are set to gather in Paris in early December for an environmental summit on climate change but Djivoessoun is not happy.

"Small initiatives are not being encouraged. It costs nothing to finance but the impacts are enormous," he said.

Heads of state should look to schemes such as his to make a bigger impact, he added.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Israel approves entry of thousands of Ethopians with Jewish lineage

The Israeli government has approved entry for thousands of Ethiopians claiming to be of Jewish descent. Many of them have been waiting to immigrate to Israel for years.

Deutsche Welle, 15 Nov 2015

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday his government had given the green light to a proposal allowing more than 9,000 Ethiopians to settle in Israel.

"Today we have taken an important decision, to bring to Israel within the next five years the last of the communities with links to Israel waiting in Addis Ababa and Gonder," Netanyahu said in a statement.

The Ethiopians in question, the last members of a group known as Falash Mura, claim Jewish ancestry even though they themselves are Christians, having converted in the 18th and 19th centuries. For this reason, they are not eligible for Israeli citizenship.

A tough life

Many of the Falash Mura have been living in transit camps for years as they waited for the Israeli government's approval. The debate over whether to let the Ethiopian minority in has been going on in Israel for decades.

Around 135,000 Ethiopians live in Israel today, though they often face discrimination and have fewer opportunities for advancement. The first round of Falash Mura immigrants were airlifted to Israel in the 1980s and 1990s, following an official decision made by religious authorities claiming they were descendants of a biblical tribe.

Israel's "law of return" gives people with Jewish heritage the right to resettle there and claim citizenship.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Crash means gloomy days ahead for Egypt's tourist jewel

Yahoo – AFP, Jay Deshmukh, November 7, 2015

Mounting evidence that the Airbus A-321 was downed by a bomb has prompted 
several governments to warn their citizens against travelling to the Egyptian 
Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh (AFP Photo/Mohamed El-Shahed)

Sharm el Sheikh (Egypt) (AFP) - Mohammed Mansour worries that the Russian tourists at his hotel could be the last for some time after Moscow stopped flights to Egypt over the downing of a Russian airliner.

"About 50 percent of my hotel occupants are Russians," Mansour, manager of a leading five-star hotel in the Red Sea resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, told AFP.

President Vladimir Putin has ordered all 
Russian flights to Egypt to cease, hitting 
the tourist industry in Sharm el-Sheikh just
 ahead of the peak holiday Christmas and
 New Year season (AFP Photo/Mohamed
"The blow comes just ahead of the peak holiday season of Christmas and New Year."

"Since the 2011 revolution, the Germans, French and other Europeans are already coming in small numbers," Mansour said, referring to the uprising that toppled longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

"Now if the Russians avoid coming, Sharm el-Sheikh will be doomed."

"I don't know what happens tomorrow," he said, adding that more than 100 Russians were currently still at the hotel.

On Friday, President Vladimir Putin ordered all Russian flights to Egypt to cease after Cairo and Moscow initially dismissed a claim by the Islamic State group that it downed the plane flying from Sharm el-Sheikh to Saint Petersburg, killing all 224 on board.

Nine of those killed in the October 31 crash had stayed in Mansour's hotel, including a woman and her two children, he said.

Mounting evidence that the Airbus A-321 was downed by a bomb has prompted several governments to warn their citizens against travelling to the Red Sea resort.

But Putin's order on Friday delivered a devastating blow to what is easily the jewel of Egyptian tourism and a favourite holiday hub for Russians.

'Look at the chaos'

The resort, long promoted by Egypt for its pristine beaches and scuba diving, has attracted millions of tourists a year, including hundreds of thousands of Russians and Britons.

At various hotels in Sharm el-Sheikh, stranded Britons mostly stayed indoors or
 on private beaches, ready to leave for the airport at short notice (AFP Photo/
Mohamed El-Shahed)

Before Putin's decision, some two dozen flights a day had ferried thousands of tourists between Sharm el-Sheikh and Russia.

Moscow said that nearly 80,000 Russians were in Egypt on Saturday.

Hundreds queued at Sharm el-Sheikh airport, waiting for their bags to be screened and hoping they could fly out.

"I really don't care what happens to Egyptian tourism now. I just want to go home safe," said Alessandra Kondratieva.

Tourists said many people would also avoid Sharm el-Sheikh because of the way airlines handled the situation in the crash aftermath.

"Look at the chaos. Nobody knows anything," said Bhuvesh Patel, an investment banker from London who has been stranded with his three-year-old son and pregnant wife.

"This puts a negative spin on the holidays and makes you think never to come back."

Sharm el-Sheikh had already been badly hit in 2005 when a series of bombings killed nearly 70 people, but it soon bounced back.

However, what happened to the Saint Petersburg flight could haunt the town for a long time.

Tourists queue up at check-in counters at the airport of Egypt's Red Sea resort
of Sharm El-Sheikh on November 6, 2015 (AFP Photo/Mohamed El-Shahed)

"Tourism in Sharm is driven by Russians," said a senior official with one foreign airline, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Russian tourists are very resort-based, and Sharm meets that profile."

"But Russians are also very disciplined. They take their government's decisions very seriously. At least for the near term, tourism in Sharm will be hit."

Jihadist attacks

Every fifth Russian tourist going abroad flies to Egypt, Russian tourism officials say, adding that even the turmoil that followed the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi failed to curb their numbers.

Tourism has faltered in Egypt since the anti-Mubarak uprising in 2011, however.

Instability and a rising tide of attacks claimed by jihadists have deterred many would-be visitors, damaging the economy and sending foreign exchange reserves plunging.

Last year, just under 10 million tourists visited Egypt, sharply down on the 15 million who came in 2010.

Tourism accounts for about 12 percent of Egypt's gross domestic product and some 15 percent of its foreign exchange reserves.

And much of this comes from Sharm el-Sheikh.

Once a remote beach on the shores of the Red Sea, the town thrives all year.

Debris from the A321 Russian Metrojet airliner at the site of the crash in Wadi
el-Zolmat, a mountainous area in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, pictured on November 1, 
2015 (AFP Photo/Khaled Desouki)

Attractions such as Soho Square are popular for their brightly lit streets, cafes, pubs and children's parks.

"All this will just die if the Russians and Britishers stop coming," one tourist guide told AFP of Soho Square.

"The consensus among intelligence agencies has emerged that an explosive device was planted on the plane, that Sharm el-Sheikh airport was infiltrated," said Fawaz Gerges, professor at the London School of Economics.

"Imagine the long term impact of this. Sharm el-Sheikh is a lifeline... It is the only bright spot for Egyptian tourism and now it has been dealt a devastating blow."

Related Articles:

Morocco king in rare visit to disputed Western Sahara

Yahoo – AFP, 7 Nov 2015

Morocco's King Mohammed VI (L) and his brother Prince Moulay Rachid arrive
at ceremony in Laayoun on November 7, 2015 (AFP Photo/Fadel Senna)

Laayoune (AFP) - Morocco's King Mohammed VI has vowed that revenues from the mineral-rich Western Sahara will continue to be invested locally, on a rare visit to the disputed territory.

He was speaking late Friday in the territory's main city Laayoune, to mark 40 years since hundreds of thousands of Moroccan civilians marched across the border with the then Spanish colony to lay claim to it.

The Green March triggered war with the Algerian-backed Polisario Front which had been campaigning for independence for the territory since 1973 and continues to do so to this day.

King Mohammed, who arrived to much fanfare in the city for only his third visit since he succeeded to the throne in 1999, described the Green March as "a watershed moment in the process of completing the kingdom's territorial integrity".

He listed several projects that are due to be implemented to improve infrastructure in the territory, including a desalination plant and industrial zones.

He promised that "revenues from natural resources will continue to be invested in the region, for the benefit of the local populations and in consultation and coordination with them".

Moroccan protesters take part in a demonstration marking the 40th anniversary
 of the "Green March" on November 6, 2015, in Western Sahara's main city of 
Laayoune (AFP Photo/Fadel Senna)

On Saturday night, during a televised ceremony in Laayoune, the king announced a 7.2-billion-euro development plan for the region.

But King Mohammed also renewed his insistence that there could be no compromise on Morocco's claim to sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

A UN-brokered ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario has held since 1991, but UN efforts to organise a referendum on the territory's future have been resisted by Rabat.

Morocco has offered some autonomy but flatly refuses to make any more concessions.

"Those who are waiting for any other concession on Morocco's part are deceiving themselves. Indeed, Morocco has given all there was to give," the king said in Laayoune.

The Polisario controls a small part of the desert interior of the Western Sahara but its main base is in Tindouf across the border in Algeria, where tens of thousands of Sahrawi refugees also live in desert camps.

The king lashed out at Algiers for not doing more for the refugees.

"The people in Tindouf... continue to suffer from poverty, despair, deprivation and the systematic violation of their basic rights," he said.

On Wednesday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for negotiations in the coming months to finally settle the Western Sahara dispute.

"This conflict must be brought to an end if the people of the region are to meet their shared challenges and achieve their full potential," Ban said.

He said he had asked his envoy Christopher Ross to intensify efforts to bring Morocco and the Polisario to the negotiating table.