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CAIRO, June 17, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal on Sunday participated in the meeting of the financial committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).

The Geneva-hosted meeting discussed the IPU's 2019 budget, the House of Representatives said in a statement.

According to the statement, Abdel Aal also partook in the meeting of the union's executive committee.

The two-day meeting will discuss amendments proposed by the member states regarding the union's statute.

Abdel Aal also met with Speaker of the Kuwaiti National Assembly Marzouq Al-Ghanim on the sidelines of the meeting in which they discussed Kuwaiti proposals to amend the union's basic system.

CAIRO, June 11, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's House of Representatives Speaker Ali Abdel Aal decided on Monday to put off debates on a motion submitted by MP Moustafa Bakri to add a new article to the National Press Authority (NPA) bill as regards the end-of-service gratuity of staffers of all national press institutions.

The article stipulates giving the journalists, administrative employees and workers in the state-owned press institutions an end-of-service gratuity equal to one month's wage for each of their years in service after reaching retirement age.

Bakri said there are two national institutions got more than 1.4 billion pounds as a support from the State last year so it will not be difficult to give employees in these entities an end-of-service gratuity equal to one month's wage for each of their 30 years in service.

Abdel Aal said the house needs to address the Financial Ministry and the state-owned press institutions first to know whether they can provide these funds or not.

He said the National Press Authority bill will be submitted to the State Council after review and debates on this item will be deferred till the bill is sent back to the house for voting.

CAIRO, June 11, 2018 (MENA) - Speaker of the House of Representatives Ali Abdel Aal said Monday that the bills regulating the activities of all press and media institutions have taken into consideration the constitutional determinants regarding freedom of the press and media.

Debates over the three bills of the Supreme Council of Media Regulation, the National Media Authority and the National Press Authority were very difficult because they are related to freedom of press and media, he said.

Addressing a plenary session, Abdel Aal added that the parliament is keen to preserve freedom of the press and media as cornerstones for enlightening public opinion.

He hailed efforts made by the parliament's media, culture and antiquities committee to draft the bills.

CAIRO, June 11, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's House of Representatives under Ali Abdel Aal on Monday approved all articles of the National Press Authority bill. Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel Aal passed the bill to the State Council for review.

After the review, the bill will be sent back to the parliament for voting.

Under the bill, the NPA board will include nine members; the chairman who will be appointed by the president, a representative of the State Council, a representative of the the Finance Ministry, two public figures named by the president, two journalists chosen by the Syndicate of the Press, a representative of workers in the press institutions and an expert named by the parliament office.

All media institutions will be obligated to publish their budgets and clarify the nature and size of funds they receive to guarantee transparency.

Each general assembly will include 17 members for a three-year term. It will include the head of the National Press Authority, three members of the authority and seven experts in economy, law, finance and auditing in addition to six members from the national institution itself.

As for the board of the national press institutions, he said it will include 13 members for a three-year term. The board will include the head of the national institution, six elected members from the institution and six members from outside the institution to be selected by the National Press Authority.

CAIRO, June 11, 2018 (MENA) - Egypt's House of Representatives' Arab affairs committee, headed by Saad el Gamal hailed Monday President Abdel Fattah El Sisi's efforts to boost relations with countries of the Arab Maghreb region and correct any misunderstanding that marred relations.

After holding a meeting to discuss the latest developments in the relations between Egypt and Maghreb countries, the committee said in a press release that Algeria was the first stop for Sisi who made a series of foreign visits after taking office, underlining that the ongoing coordination with Algeria to face common threats, especially those coming from Libya, a step which was necessary to protect Egypt's national security.

The committee underscored joint efforts exerted by Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia to find a solution to the Libyan crisis, pointing out to joint efforts by the three countries in fighting terrorism that threatens countries of the Maghreb region, as well as Egypt and Libya, which requires setting joint strategies and collective mechanisms to fight terrorist organizations and eradicate terrorism.

The committee stressed the importance of strong and well-established relations between Egypt and the Maghreb countries on new bases to enable them to face common challenges and develop cooperation in political, economic, security and other fields.

In addition, the committee underlined the importance of the soft power in consolidating Egyptian-Maghreb relations, particularly in the cultural fields, calling for increased cooperation in various economic fields, as well as investments within the framework of the high-level committees and activating all economic agreements and memorandums of understanding.

LONDON, June 11, 2018 (News Wires) — Prime Minister Theresa May will urge her Conservative Party Monday to show unity when parliament votes on changes to her Brexit blueprint, a potential showdown that could reshape her approach to Britain’s departure from the EU.

Lawmakers will vote Tuesday and Wednesday this week on amendments to the EU withdrawal bill, legislation to sever ties with the bloc by essentially copying and pasting the bloc’s laws so that Britain’s legal system can function after March next year.

Her government is most vulnerable over an amendment, introduced by the upper house of parliament, to change the so-called “meaningful vote” on any final Brexit deal by handing the lower house more power to set the “direction” of the government if it rejects the agreement.

She will also be tested by rebels in her own party over her commitment to leave the EU’s single market and customs union, which will transform Britain’s future trading relationship for many years to come.

May is expected to address a meeting of Conservative members called the 1922 Committee later on Monday and will repeat her stance that the EU withdrawal bill is purely technical “to ensure a smooth and orderly transition as we leave”.

“The message we send to the country through our votes this week is important. We must be clear that we are united as a party in our determination to deliver on the decision made by the British people,” she is expected to say.

“They want us to deliver on Brexit and build a brighter future for Britain as we take back control of our money, our laws and our borders.”

May is struggling to unite not only her party but her top team of ministers over how to leave the EU, particularly over the future customs arrangements which have pitted those wanting closer ties with the EU against others who demand a clean break.

She got backing over the weekend, when two Conservative lawmakers from either side of the debate—Amber Rudd, a former pro-EU campaigner and interior minister, and Iain Duncan Smith, a leading eurosceptic, joined forces to urge members to “march in lockstep behind the prime minister as she delivers on the vote”.

But with only 10 months left before Britain is due to leave, her government is under pressure from EU negotiators, businesses wanting clarity, and from many in the country to start taking decisions on its preferred future trading ties.

May’s decision to leave the customs union, which sets tariffs for goods imported into the EU, has also been criticised for raising the prospect of a “hard” border on the island of Ireland, which some fear could reignite sectarian violence.

She was forced into crisis meetings with her pro-Brexit ministers last week over fall back measures that would ensure no return to a hard border between the British province of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which is in the EU.

The opposition Labour Party wants Britain to negotiate a new customs union with the EU and there are several Conservative lawmakers who want the close ties the, or a, customs union offers to offer certainty to businesses.

The government is trying to overturn 14 amendments handed down by the House of Lords, but may swallow a defeat on the customs union because of the vague wording which only requires ministers to report what efforts they had made to secure a customs union by the end of October.

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