Egypt’s Sisi First Head of State to Congratulate Trump

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi became the first head of state to call and congratulate Donald Trump on his election to the US presidency.

In response, Trump told President Sisi that “the United States of America will be a loyal friend, not simply an ally, that Egypt can count on.”

Sisi, the former chief of staff of the Egyptian military, led an armed coup in 2013 that overthrew the democratically elected government of long-time Muslim Brotherhood member Mohamed Morsi, the first elected President in the history of the country.

The Egyptian government has led a brutal crackdown on civil liberties since the coup, including fines and sanctions targeting individuals for spreading ‘false news’ and increased use of the death penalty. Arrests and detention of tens of thousands of people has led to reports of increasing radicalization among those being tortured and detained by the state.

Russia is currently in negotiations  to open a naval base and an air base in Egypt, which could extend Russia’s influence to the war-torn countries of Yemen and Libya. A final agreement could see troops permanently based in Egypt for the first time since they were expelled by former Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in the 1972.

Egypt is the second largest recipient of U.S military aid in the world after Israel.

Soda Stream’s Stock Soars after Company Succumbs to BDS

Soda Stream’s third quarter financial reports for 2016 show a quick recovery in sales and its stock price following the evacuation of a factory located in an illegal Israeli colony in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeted Soda Stream, which produces machines that carbonates water, because it produced its goods in the illegal Israeli colony of Mishor Edumim in the occupied Palestinian West Bank.

Through the exploitation of Palestinian land, water, and labor, the company became one of Israel’s major exporters.

The financial reports suggest that Soda Stream’s capitulation to the boycott movement may have been a wise business decision, and could affect the decision of other companies also operating in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Following severe losses inflicted by the BDS movement, company CEO Daniel Birenboim succumbed to the pressure and announced in 2014 that it was closing the factory.

The Israeli government penalized the unprecedented move by denying work permits for the company’s workers from the West Bank to work inside Israel.

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