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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 10th March 2017 > STARSHIP STUPORS

STARSHIP STUPORS

Egypt’s economy is in crisis. So why is the government spending millions on a fancy new space agency?

@msrmichaelson

ON A DUSTY construction site in the desert on the outskirts of Cairo, a blue glass building glints in the sunlight. The shiny new complex is home to the new Egyptian Space Agency, a reboot of an abandoned 1960s program that the country’s cash-poor government says will produce satellites to drive innovation and discover resources, which it hopes are hiding under Egypt’s vast deserts.

After sweeping to power in a popular military coup almost four years ago, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is now struggling to prove he can save a sputtering economy that has led to long lines at gas stations and inlated food prices and prompted one desperate citizen to set himself on ire. The space program is el-Sissi’s latest attempt to reinvigorate the Egyptian economy with a series of mega-projects—from a new administrative capital city outside Cairo to a second Suez Canal. But while investing in infrastructure can create jobs and jump-start economic growth, many in Egypt question whether the country can afford el-Sissi’s projects when so many Egyptians are living in poverty.

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TERROR THREAT: HOW TRUMP IS FUELLING JIHAD Since the horrors of 9/11, American presidents operating under the advice of the intelligence community’s counter terrorism experts have understood that countering this propaganda has been among the most essential parts of the fight against ISIS, Al-Qaeda and other murderous Jihadi extremists. Through carefully selected language and for the most part considered policy, the United States has worked to expose the lies and convince young Muslims drawn by the propaganda toward hate that they are welcome and appreciated in America. That era appears to be over. President Donald Trump, in office for less than two months, has gutted the strategy used by Republicans and Democrats alike out of ignorance, hubris or both, sending a new message from the White House, one that reinforces the Jihadi extremists’ propaganda and increases the likelihood that more Americans will die in attacks.
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