Ayman's blog

Saudi Arabia`s King Salman told an emergency Gulf Arab meeting on Thursday that Iran`s development of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities threatened regional and global security.
A Saudi cargo ship has left the southern French port of Fos-sur-Mer without loading its arms cargo destined for Saudi Arabia, blocked from doing so after pressure from rights campaigners, a French rights group said on Thursday.
Mexican state oil firm Pemex said on Thursday its Pajaritos petrochemical complex in Veracruz state was evacuated following a bomb threat, though the civil protection authority of the state said the threat was a "false alarm."
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday he was pushing to get the U.S. Congress to ratify the new North American trade agreement this summer after both Canada and Mexico signaled they are ready to start the approval process.
Children under five infected with Ebola in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo are dying at a higher rate than other patients as their parents shun special treatment centers, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday said the U.S. government and Canada should work together to hold Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro accountable and to expose the influence of Cuba.
At least five people were killed and 18 injured in a series of explosions in the Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk, medical sources in the city`s general hospital told Reuters on Thursday.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to name Amit Shah, the chief of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as the country`s new finance minister after taking his oath of office for the second time on Thursday, according to several Indian media reports.
Italy`s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement on Thursday resoundingly backed Luigi Di Maio to carry on as leader following a bruising defeat in European parliamentary elections.
Israeli lawmakers voted to dissolve parliament on Thursday, paving the way for a new election after veteran Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government before a midnight deadline.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that the ceasefire in Syria`s Idlib must be implemented to prevent more civilian deaths and an influx of refugees to Turkey, a statement from Erdogan`s office said.
Nicaragua`s government said on Thursday it was releasing another 50 political prisoners, amid opposition threats to ramp up demonstrations if President Daniel Ortega does not honor a pledge to free hundreds of people detained for opposing him.
A new study shows that quantum technology will catch up with today’s encryption standards much sooner than expected. That should worry anybody who needs to store data securely for 25 years or so.

Featured in Ripley`s Believe It or Not!

is shuffle random

Is Shuffle Random?

Whether you use Apple Music or Spotify’s streaming service, or still prefer to listen to a playlist of mp3s on your iTunes account, you’re likely familiar with the shuffle option. Many people enjoy using shuffle to sift through their music, getting random songs to play at different times (random being the key word here). But in truth, what we think of as a random shuffling of songs isn’t actually what we’re getting.

Press Shuffle Again

First of all, many consumers have complained about the issue that occurs with iTunes—and now with streaming services—where the songs they listen to on shuffle play in the same order every time. This can be frustrating for those who chose the shuffle option to get a new order of songs each time they listen to their playlist.

bad playlist

Fortunately, there is a way to fix this. Whether you’re listening to music on Spotify or somewhere else, hit that shuffle button, turning the feature off. Now, hit it again, turning it back on. Your playlist should start to play in a different order. When you turn on shuffle the first time, the songs will keep playing in the same order, over and over, unless you choose to reshuffle them. This is because shuffle puts your songs in a specific order that won’t change unless you tell it to. You’re welcome.

Musical Conspiracy?

However, those who look deeper into the random shuffle issue often feel they can see patterns in their playlists, even when they’re supposed to be hearing songs played at random. Some individuals may notice the same artists coming up again and again, while others will observe songs that sound similar being played back-to-back. Still, others believe in a conspiracy that Spotify has made deals with certain artists to ensure their songs play more often.

Spotify has denied any of these allegations, and actually, there is a much more likely explanation for why we see these conspiracies. Humans are always looking for patterns and designs in order to make better sense of the world. The truth is you should chalk these instances up to coincidence. For example, a certain song could be played every time you put your playlist on shuffle, simply because it has as good a chance as any other song of being played.

random dot example

True random will exhibit clumps, whereas people often expect random to mean perfectly equal distribution.

Is Your Playlist Shuffled Randomly?

The funniest thing is that your playlist actually isn’t completely random, especially if you’re using Spotify, and the reason for it is that people didn’t think random was random enough. According to Mattias Petter Johansson, a former engineer at Spotify, the company used to have a perfectly random algorithm for their shuffle feature, but after getting flooded with complaints of non-random outcomes (all of which were due to coincidence), the company chose to create a new algorithm that felt more random to humans.

Therefore, it’s true that your shuffle isn’t really playing your songs at random. But, apparently, you wouldn’t really like it if it were.

By Julia Tilford, contributor for Ripleys.com

Source: Is Shuffle Random? Why You Wouldn’t Want It To Be

Three important players in U.S. President Donald Trump’s long-delayed Middle East peace plan met in Jerusalem on Thursday, but gave no hint about whether its political component would be further postponed by tumultuous events in Israel.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to name Amit Shah, the president of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as his new finance minister, according to several Indian media reports.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday he was pushing to get the U.S. Congress to ratify the new North American trade agreement this summer after both Canada and Mexico signaled they are ready to start the approval process.
U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday kept mum on the race to be the next British prime minister, but praised the two most high-profile proponents of Britain`s departure from the European Union on Thursday as he prepared for a state visit to Britain fraught with the possibility of diplomatic peril.
Indian billionaire jeweler Nirav Modi appeared in a London court on Thursday where he heard that no date could yet be set for a full hearing over his possible extradition to India.
Three important players in U.S. President Donald Trump’s long-delayed Middle East peace plan met in Jerusalem on Thursday, but gave no hint about whether its rollout would be further postponed by Israel’s political turmoil.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai had claimed that rosy broadband numbers showed his deregulation approach was working.
U.S. President Donald Trump lauded Britain`s most high-profile Brexit supporters - Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage - as his friends on Thursday, weighing into Britain`s political crisis just days before his state visit to London.
A total of 149 Africans in Libya were evacuated to Italy on Thursday, but more states must help people escape deteriorating conditions in Tripoli after two months of fighting, the United Nations refugee agency said.
Congolese forces killed 26 rebels from a group thought to be linked to Islamic State on Thursday in a shootout in the country`s eastern Ebola zone, the army said.
Russia expressed support for Japan`s intention to play a role in helping ease tensions between Iran and the United States, an official in Tokyo said on Thursday after a meeting of Japan and Russia`s foreign and defense ministers.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai had claimed that rosy broadband numbers showed that his deregulation approach was working.

Credit: Evgenia Eliseeva

An image seen in an international relations lecture – depicting a group of young Egyptian activists uploading photos and videos onto a Mac during the unfolding uprising below on Tahrir Square – became the impetus for “We Live in Cairo”, a musical show currently premiering at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, US.

Directed by Egyptian-American Taibi Magar and written by Patrick and Daniel Lazour, two brothers of Lebanese descent, the impressive piece follows six young activists, as they navigate the jubilant 2011 revolution and its bleak aftermath: the tumultuous two years that included a military coup and a violent crackdown.

Daniel Lazour, Taibi Magar and Patrick Lazour. Credit: Gretjen Helene

By capturing this seminal moment in Egypt, “We Live in Cairo” focuses on the inspiring ways in which a youth and social media powered rebellion was able to overthrow a president who had been in power for 30 years.

“Every day that we work on this musical, we are inspired by the revolutionaries of Egypt—those men and women who broke the wall of fear and risked their lives for their beautiful home,” reads the creative team’s contribution to the brochure.

There were a couple of factors that compelled Obie award-winning Magar to team up with the Lazour brothers for this project, not least having an Egyptian father, who was born and raised in Asyut.

“This piece provided a great opportunity to explore my heritage and deepen my relationship to this beautiful country,” the director shared with Egyptian Streets.

“The second reason was that I was given the piece shortly after Trump was elected. It was a time of great fear, and my inner activist was for the first time starting to awaken. I was suddenly and urgently invested in questions like “how far does one go for the love of one’s country” and “what are our responsibilities as citizens” and “how do we create a shared value system” and “how do you build democracy.”

Developed over a six-year-long journey of writing, reading and discussing, the play’s initial drafts “were fueled by the inspiring stories of overthrowing a dictatorship and forging a new democracy,” the brochure states.

Credit: Evgenia Eliseeva

“We were influenced by the social justice driven poetry of Ahmed Fouad Negm. We looked to the texts of Egyptian writers including Omar Robert Hamilton and Wael Ghonim, and had long conversations with scholars and artists, including Professor Tarek Masoud.”

Indeed, the research process for this project was incredibly thorough and involved: “Between the brothers and I, we read probably around 70 books,” said Magar.

Beyond engaging with secondary sources of various kinds, the research process involved an extensive trip to Cairo, where the creative team met “with many wonderful revolutionaries,” as Magar describes them.

Credit: Evgenia Eliseeva

Provided with the opportunity to be artists-in-residence at the American University in Cairo (AUC) and to ‘workshop’ a first draft with students there, the team was able to interact with and learn from many young individuals who had witnessed the revolution firsthand.

“It cannot be overstated how much it shaped the piece. It is wildly different now. And we are so thankful to everyone for their generosity in sharing their stories.”

The six main characters, whose stories form the narrative prism and whose relationships are fractured by politics, are ultimately all based on a composite of the many real stories heard throughout their research, and are made up of street artists, songwriters, activists and photographers.

The producers also chose to work closely with Ganzeer, a graffiti artist of the revolution, now exiled to America. “We actually approached him to do the artwork for the show and he painted some amazing murals for the lobby inspired by our work.”

Music obviously plays a key role in “We Live in Cairo” and is one of the creative elements that has excited the Lazour brothers most: “We’ve been excited to explore the deep tradition of protest music, both in the Egyptian revolution and also in our country,” said Daniel Lazour.

Kindly sharing some lyrics with Egyptian Streets, director Magar made sure to emphasize “the power of music to create community, and shared language and articulation for what we are feeling and thinking as citizens.”

“I was one person/Who had an idea/Who made it words/And someone heard/someone heard.”

Credit: Evgenia Eliseeva

In response to our final question as to what the piece might leave the audience to ponder, Magar pointed to the fact that “it both allows the audience to experience the awe of revolution and the cost.”

“It would have been easy to romanticize it and end the play at Act 1. But it’s not the truth. By exposing Act 2, and everything that has happened since Mubarak’s downfall, we don’t shy away from the ways in which revolution has great cost. It’s a lesson we took from the incredible Egyptians who are still living and fighting every day for social justice and freedom: The struggle never ends. Democracy and freedom will always require work; every single day.”

While commenting on his personal experience, Patrick Lazour has related the play to the contemporary US context in that “it has made the show feel more urgent for me. This country is facing many challenges today, but I think it’s important to be aware of the freedoms we have here that the Egyptian people continue to fight for.”

“It’s never a one-to-one with these things, but I think bringing the story of the Egyptian revolution to people in the US at this point in time will help to broaden and illuminate the innate human desire for progress and change.”

Credit: Evgenia Eliseeva


Just seven weeks after one nationwide vote, Israel is preparing for a second election. It`s the first time in the country’s history that a newly elected government failed to form a coalition.
As the trade war between the United States and China escalates, Beijing may be preparing to play a new card: its control of rare earth minerals.
Women will now make up half of South Africa`s new cabinet for the first time in the country`s history.
The Trump administration will go ahead with its Bahrain conference in late June to lay out the economic part of its long-awaited Middle East peace plan, a U.S. official said on Thursday, despite the start of a new Israeli election campaign.
When Ali Adnan, 27, fled his home in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad in 2015 and arrived in Denmark, a local Danish family took him in and helped him gain his footing in a country he knew very little about.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to name Amit Shah, the president of his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), as his new finance minister, according to several Indian TV stations.
Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Thursday ruled out early elections, saying the coalition was focused on preparing the 2020 budget in the autumn.

Boats float on the river Nile in Cairo- REUTERS-Asmaa Waguih

Egypt’s foreign ministry revealed on Wednesday that the country was chosen as the Executive Board of UN-Habitat – United Nations Human Settlements Programme, the United Nations agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development, for the next four years.

The other nominated African countries included Morocco, Kenya, Ethiopia, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Senegal, Angola and Malawi, the ministry said in a statement.

The statement reads that this election is considered a “recognition of the Egyptian government’s efforts to implement urban planning and development projects to build new cities, eliminate slums and rehabilitate areas unsuitable for habitation.”

The 193-nation assembly convenes every four years at the headquarters of UN-Habitat in the Kenyan capital.

The Executive Board is made up of 36 elected members and meets three times a year to boost the oversight of UN-Habitat operations.

The UN-Habitat Assembly, which assembles every four years in Kenya, said in a statement that it will adopt “global norms and policies that will guide how cities and communities are planned, managed and governed.”

Recently, there have been several efforts to refurbish many of Egypt’s old buildings and developments, for instance Cairo’s Maspero triangle, to account for a more modern look to the country, and specifically  informal housing units.

Earlier this week, Cairo’s governor announced plans to refurbish all of Cairo’s slums and informal housing units by the end of the year.

Cairo’s governor Khaled Abdel-Aal stressed that the aim of the project is to provide “safe and adequate housing” for the residents of Cairo.  This project is inline with the government’s plan to face-lift the capital, Cairo.

Earlier this year, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi released a order for all redbrick buildings in the country to be furbished and painted according to a color scheme in an attempt to turn Egypt more visually appealing.

While there have been modern urban planing developments not just in the capital Cairo, but across Egypt, the country’s red brick buildings became a staple urban structure that the country has become known for.

Most of these buildings are informal settlements and at least 63 percent of Cairo’s population, around 11 million people, live in these settlements according to Rene Boer, a writer at Volume Project.

In return, those who live in these settlements are being compensated whether its through resettlement or monetary compensations.

The Egyptian Parliament has been taking measures to counter this problems in the urban planning sector in general.

To help maintain good quality infrastructure, the parliament requested an amendment to the No. 119 law in a meeting that was held on July 18, 2016.

The law imposes fines, an increase in utility fees, and prison sentence for those who breach the building regulations.

*Cover photo credit: Cairo360.com


CAIRO – 30 May 2019: Upon President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi`s arrival in Saudi Arabia to attend the Arab, Gulf and Islamic summits due on Thursday and Friday in Mecca, he was updated on the Arab Coalition Forces’ campaign against Iran-backed Houthis.

Coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki updated President Sisi on details of the coalition military operations and Houthis’ attacks against the kingdom. Sisi also saw remains of Houthis’ rockets that were intercepted by the Saudi-led forces in Mecca.

In March 2015, Arab and Gulf countries formed the coalition forces from air and ground fighters to target Iran-backed Houthis after capturing the Yemeni capital, Sanaa.

President Sisi headed to Saudi Arabia on Thursday. He will deliver a speech at the Arab emergency summit on Egypt`s comprehensive vision of preserving the security and stability of the region, said Egyptian presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi in a statement.

Sisi will also hold several bilateral meetings with Arab and Gulf leaders on the sidelines of the two summits, Radi added.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud called for Gulf and Arab summits in Mecca on May 30 and this comes in conjunction with the 14th summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Egypt stressed its deeply-rooted ties with Saudi Arabia and expressed solidarity with the kingdom in the face of any attempt seeking to destabilize it.

Also, Egypt accentuated the importance of security and strategic coordination in the face of the Iranian threats in light of the attack on the ships in the territorial waters of the United Arab Emirates and the Iran-backed Houthi militias’ drone attack on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom.
CAIRO - 30 May 2019: Spokesman for Libyan National Army said that terrorists Bahaa Aboul Maaty who was handed to Egypt on Tuesday night is a very dangerous terrorist who was specialized in setting traps and planting explosives targeting both civilians and military personnel.

Along with Maaty, Egypt was also handed expelled officer Hisham Ashmawy, one of the country`s most wanted terrorists. LNA`s spokesman Ahmed Mismari said in a press conference on Wednesday that Ashmawy was specialized in training and setting strategic plans.

The two terrorists were handed to Egypt`s General Intelligence Service 9 months after they were arrested, Mismari said, affirming that they were handed after "concluding investigations and after meeting all legal and administrative conditions and procedures for this step."

"All what we found through investigations indicate with conclusive evidence that terrorists in Libya are tied to terrorists in Egypt and in other countries. This is a very big danger that targets humanity and threatens regional security and stability," he added.

These terrorists face charges of committing significant terrorism crimes in Egypt and other countries, Mismari said, adding that they went to Syria and Iraq, and under the guidance of foreign intelligence to cause harm of the targeted region

The terrorists was handed to Egypt under the Judicial Cooperation Agreement on Civil and Penal Articles between both countries signed in 1992.

“Both parties shall extradite to each other individuals facing charges by entitled entities and convicts sentenced by the judicial authorities of the party requesting the extradition in accordance with the rules and conditions in this section,” according to the law.

Ashmawy, a former commando, is implicated in the assassination attempt that targeted former Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim in 2013, opening fire on a Border Guard ambush in Farafra killing 28 officers and soldiers in 2014, the assassination of late Public Prosecutor Hesham Barakat in 2015, and, the attack on a security patrol in Wahat area western Cairo killing 16 in 2017 and abducting one officer who was later freed by a special force operation to be the only survivor.

In December 2017, Western Cairo Military Criminal Court sentenced Ashmawy and 13 others to death in the Farafra lawsuit that included 155 defendants. Eighty-nine of those were prosecuted in absentia including Ashmawy. In October 2018, the NLA announced the arrest of Ashmawy in Libya.

Additional reporting by Noha Al Tawil
Ethiopia`s Prime Minister on Thursday pursued a plan to return displaced people to their homes following ethnic violence, meeting communities who recently went home, as relief workers voiced fears that the initiative could provoke fresh violence.
The world risks a descent into lawlessness and a new Cold War if multilateralism fails, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday, calling on the European Union to take a lead role in fighting to preserve a rules-based global order.
Austria`s president has picked the female president of the Constitutional Court to become interim chancellor after parliament voted Sebastian Kurz`s government out of office in the wake of a video sting scandal.
Hungarian rescue officials said there was little chance of finding survivors after a boat with South Korean tourists onboard sank on the Danube river in Budapest, with seven people confirmed dead and 21 missing.
CAIRO – 29 May 2019: With the participation of 1200 Muslim scholars and intellectuals from 139 countries representing 27 components of different Islamic sects, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman signed a declaration that condemns extremism, violence, ethnic conflict and stressing that civilized dialogue is the path to overcoming historical differences.

The four-day conference discusses the Islamic heritage and Fiqh (Islamic legal rulings) along with ways to enhance moderation in Muslim societies.

The Makkah Declaration called for legislation to deter people who promoted hate and instigated violence, saying such laws would weaken the causes of religious and ethnic conflict.

It further condemned attacks on places of worship, calling them criminal acts that required a strong legislative and security response. It said the extremist ideas that motivated these types of attacks needed to be challenged.


The declaration also adds that it is everyone’s duty to fight terrorism, injustice, oppression and the violation of human rights. It also urged greater environmental protection.

Saudi Arabia reiterated its call for renewing the religious discourse to mute speeches of hatred down, said Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud, the Governor of Mecca Province, in his speech at the opening session of the conference.

“Here in the Kingdom and based on our commitment to Sharia law and its moderate tilt, and out of our Islamic duties… we renew the call to cease racist and hate speech regardless of its source and pretext,” he added.


“We call on all to listen to the voice of reason and turn to tolerance and moderation and bolster agreement and reconciliation,” he continued.

“We must work on common Islamic and humanitarian values as the world today is most in need of a good example, presented by us Muslims, that can work on spreading good for all mankind,” said King Salman.

The declaration warns that Islamophobia stemmed from ignorance about the reality of Islam and that people clung to the misdeeds committed by those claiming to be Muslims and falsely attributing their acts to Islamic laws.

It recognized the principles of women’s empowerment, the rejection of their marginalization, the degradation of their dignity, the minimization of their role, and the obstruction of their opportunities in the religious, scientific, political or social fields.

In his speech at the opening session, Egyptian grand Mufti Shawky Allam called for supporting Saudi Arabia in its approach of upgrading the moderation of Islam and standing against all powers of evils that aims to undermine the Saudi kingdom.


“We strongly reject all accusations of terrorism against Islam. We also reject accusations of terrorism against other religions. I call on you to combat the dangerous disease of terrorism by all means," said President of Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov at the conference.

Scholars called for reuniting the ranks of the Islamic nation so that no one can destabilize and undermine it. This can be achieved by rejecting turmoil, encouraging moderation and equality, communicating with each other, strengthening the bonds of love between Muslims and fighting the wrong perceptions about Islam.


They also called all Muslims to study their religion properly as a religion of love, moderation and authentic values that have contributed to the spread of real Islam around the world.
Women will now make up half of South Africa`s new cabinet for the first time in the country`s history.
Children as young as 10 are whitening their faces to avoid being subjected to racist abuse in Britain, a child protection group has warned, as police struggle to stem a rising tide of hate crimes against minors.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is flying to Ottawa on Thursday to talk to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about ratification of the new North American trade agreement and the two countries` dispute with China.
U.S. President Donald Trump is ready to help out in any way he can on Britain`s exit from the European Union, his national security adviser John Bolton said on Thursday.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was too ill on Thursday to appear via video link from a British prison in a hearing on an extradition request from the United States, his lawyer said.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near a military training center in the Afghan capital earlier on Thursday, the militant group said on its Amaq news agency.
A new analysis of the famous game-theory puzzle finds that even when the players seem equal, one can learn to profit at the other’s expense—and the victim will cooperate.
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