New Suez Canal opens: Egypt’s ‘modern wonder’ is unveiled amid promises it will boost trade – and President Sisi’s controversial position

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi rode into the new stretch of the Suez Canal on a wave of nationalist pomp, his personality cult on full display, backed by a roster of Egypt’s international friends.

The French Prime Minister François Hollande was named “guest of honour” at the ceremony in the port town of Ismailia, following the recent sale by the French of three Rafale fighter jets to the Sisi administration. Here he took prime position next to Mr Sisi himself, who had arrived, decked in full military garb, sailing down the new channel alongside a naval ship called Tahya Masr, or Long Live Egypt.

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China builds another island in South China Sea

 

IHS Jane’s has obtained satellite imagery that further illustrates the extent of China’s building of new islands in the Spratly Islands.

The latest image shows a new island on Gaven Reefs, known in the Philippines as the Burgos Reef, in Vietnam as Dá Ga Ven and Dá Lc and in China as Nanxun Jiao and Xinan Jiao.

China previously built a concrete platform that sat above the reef on its western side. This structure was fortified and housed anti-air and naval gun systems, along with communications equipment. Continue reading

Nicaragua gives Chinese firm contract to build alternative to Panama Canal

Nicaragua has awarded a Chinese company a 100-year concession to build an alternative to the Panama Canal, in a step that looks set to have profound geopolitical ramifications. Continue reading