Egypt’s unrest has its root, ironically, in democratic success: the Muslim Brotherhood’s overwhelming ballot box victories, a Harvard Kennedy School Middle East specialist said during a roundtable last week.In elections following the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood captured the president’s office and a parliamentary majority. While those victories were bad news for Egyptian liberals and the remnants of the former regime, alone they weren’t enough to prompt this summer’s military action, according to Tarek Masoud, associate professor of public policy.Instead, Masoud said, it was the prospect of continued electoral dominance by Brotherhood candidates at all levels that led to the move.“The Muslim Brotherhood was just too good at winning elections,” Masoud said. “If the liberals actually thought they could win an election, they would have channeled [public dissatisfaction] into the next election. … The opposition was not confident it could beat the Brotherhood in an election, so it needed the military.”In July, after massive anti-government protests, the Egyptian military suspended the constitution and removed President Mohamed Morsi from office, sending Brotherhood leaders into hiding and the group’s supporters into the streets in protest. More than 1,000 have been killed.On Sept. 5, a conference room and nearby hallways at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies were packed for a discussion that in addition to Masoud included E. Roger Owen, the A.J. Meyer Professor of Middle East History Emeritus, and grad student Sarah Moawad, who recently returned to campus after spending several weeks in Egypt.Moawad shared observations of the anti-government protests in Cairo and Alexandria and said dissatisfaction with Morsi’s government had been widespread in the weeks before he was removed from office, with long gas lines, irregular electricity supplies, falling tourist dollars, and overall economic decline key factors. In addition, the predominately Muslim Egyptian people were tired of the Brotherhood telling them how to be Muslim, Moawad said.People she spoke with were upset at the characterizations, mostly in the Western press, of the military takeover as a coup, as they preferred to think of it as an action supported by signatures from some 22 million voicing a withdrawal of confidence in the Muslim Brotherhood government.“The Muslim Brotherhood was remarkably effective at alienating the people who were willing to give them a chance,” Moawad said.The military was never removed from its lofty position atop Egyptian society, Masoud said, despite claims to the contrary. The Brotherhood, in fact, went to great lengths to assure the military that they weren’t at odds, he said.Those who view the takeover as a response to the imposition of religious government on what had been a secular state are missing how conservative most of Egyptian society is on religious matters, Masoud said. For most Egyptians, the religious aspects of Brotherhood rule were not a big problem. He also disagreed with those who saw it as an expression of dissatisfaction over very real economic difficulties.The Brotherhood’s role in Egyptian politics is at an end, since the military is vigorously pursuing the group’s members, Masoud predicted. That doesn’t mean, however, that there is no role for an Islamist party in the country’s future, he said.“I do think political Islam has to be accommodated and allowed to participate in Egypt’s future,” Masoud said.Participants expressed uncertainty over what that future might hold. Though some may be tempted to think that recent events represent a return to the authoritarian governments of the past, Owen rejected that view. Instead, he said, what we’re seeing is another stage in ongoing changes that began with the Arab Spring of two years ago.“This process is not over, by any means.”
Source: Finn Årup NielsenDanica Pension’s office in Lyngby, Denmark. The company said it would focus on its Danish and Norwegian businesses.Jacob Aarup-Andersen, member of Danske Bank’s executive board, said: “With this transaction, Danica Pension Sweden will continue, together with its new owners, to further develop the company, and this was an important factor for us.”Danske Bank and Danica Pension Sweden would keep working together on pension product distribution in Sweden, he added.“We will continue to focus on further developing the best pension solutions in Denmark and Norway, where our business models are more aligned and there are synergies across the markets,” Aarup-Andersen said.Danica Pension Sweden, which has around 60 staff, was Danica’s fastest growing pensions subsidiary at the end of June, with premiums having risen to DKK8.9bn (€1.2bn) in the first half of 2018, up from DKK6.5bn in the same period a year before.Sampension allocates DKK200mSampension said it was taking “a significant minority stake” in Danica Pension Sweden through the consortium, which it said included some small co-investors alongside the main buyers named.The pension fund said its investment in Danica Pension Sweden equated to 2.5% of the total of around DKK8bn it had invested in private equity funds, which pegs its investment in the business at about DKK200m.Hasse Jørgensen, the company’s chief executive, said this was an investment in a potential growth situation.“So it is not a strategic investment, but simply a question of doing some good business for the benefit of customers,” he said. “The company lies within a sector where we have no other investments of the same type, and contributes to creating diversification in our portfolio in the private equity sphere.”Danica Pension’s sale of its Swedish business follows several other cases of Danish and Swedish pensions operations separating.Nordea sold its Danish business Nordea Life & Pensions – since rebranded as Velliv – earlier this year, while Danica bought SEB’s Danish unit in 2017.Sweden’s Skandia sold its Danish arm to Denmark’s AP Pension in August this year, and a month later increased its Swedish footprint as it agreed to take over engineering sector pension fund AI Pension. The banking group revealed earlier this year that a “significant part” of payments totalling around €200bn made through the Estonian branch between 2007 and 2015 were suspect. Danica Pension has agreed to sell its Swedish business for around SEK2.6bn (€252m), its parent Danske Bank announced this morning.Danica, Denmark’s second-largest commercial pensions firm, has sold Danske Pension Försikringsaktiebolag (also known as Danica Pension Sweden) to a consortium including Danish labour market pension fund Sampension and Swiss asset manager Unigestion.Nordic private equity fund Polaris and German private equity fund Acathia are also involved in the consortium, Danske Bank said.The sale comes as Danske Bank faces the threat of heavy fines from regulators including the US Department of Justice, related to suspected money laundering through its Estonian branch.
Rederi AB Donsötank, Swedish family-owned shipowner, has contracted two oil products and chemical tankers at Chinese Wuhu Shipyard Co. Ltd.The ice strengthened ships, featuring ice class 1A, will be powered by LNG. In addition, the newbuilds will have shore connection for port operations, prepared for 1000 kWh battery-pack.“Together we have a long relation in development of newbuildings, with focus on safe transports, working environment and the ecological impact on the environment,” the company said.The vessels will be commercially managed by Navix Maritime Chartering and are scheduled for delivery in 2021.The company has five small clean tankers in its fleet, based on the company’s website information.Based on VesselsValue’s information, Wuhu Shipyard has 21 newbuildings under construction, including 12 Ultramaxes, with deliveries spread across 2019 to 2020.
It may be best to avoid the pool and instead hit the beach this Memorial Day weekend!A new survey shows that half of all Americans admit to using swimming pools as communal bathtubs.The survey, conducted by the Water Quality & Health Council, shows 48-percent say they use the pool as a substitute for showering even after exercise or yard work.The poll also shows one out of four Americans admit peeing in the pool and 20-percent say they’d go in within an hour of having diarrhea.Bob Vincent of Florida’s State Health Department says having a pre-swim shower helps remove dirt, perspiration, and deodorant, all of which can degrade pool chemistry and raise the risk of dangerous waterborne illnesses.