[WORLD NEWS ★★★]
EGYPT TO OPEN “NEW SUEZ CANAL”
(P2) The ceremony on Thursday, to be attended by foreign DIGNITARIES including French President Francois Hollande, comes just over two years after President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former military chief, OVERTHREW his Islamist PREDECESSOR.
(P4) The new 72-kilometre (45-mile) waterway, built in less than a year at a cost of $9 billion (7.9 billion euros), runs part of the way alongside the existing canal connecting the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
(P5) It will cut the waiting period for VESSELS from 18 hours to 11.
(P6) By 2023 the number of ships using the canal will increase to 97 per day from the current 49, the Suez Canal Authority website said.
(P7) “It sends a message to the public and foreign investors that the government is capable of accomplishing something in a set TIME-FRAME,” Amr Adly of the Carnegie Middle East Center told AFP.
(P9) “The ability to accomplish such an economic project is part of CEMENTING this legitimacy.”
(P10) Sisi set an ambitious target of digging the waterway in just a year despite an initial estimate it would take up to three years.
(P11) Officials say the entire funding for the project was raised in six days by selling investment certificates to domestic investors.
(P12) It involved 37 kilometres of dry digging and 35 kilometres of expansion and deepening of the existing canal.
(P15) Newly bought French Rafale warplanes and US F-16s delivered by Washington last week will also be on display.
(P17) The opening comes amid a RAPPROCHEMENT between the West and Sisi’s regime, although Washington remains critical of the country’s human rights situation.
(P18) A police CRACKDOWN targeting Morsi supporters has killed hundreds and seen thousands jailed.
(P20) In July, the Islamic State group AFFILIATE in Egypt claimed a missile attack that destroyed an Egyptian naval vessel off North Sinai.
(P21) Suez Canal Authority chief Mohab Mameesh has declared the new waterway “safe” after conducting a TRIAL RUN.
(P23) It is part of a plan to develop the surrounding area into an industrial and commercial HUB that would include the construction of ports and provide shipping services.
(P24) The government is aiming for an annual GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT growth rate of seven percent for an economy traditionally driven by tourism and canal revenues.
(P25) Tourism has PLUMMETED, however, with last year’s 10 million visitors sharply down from 2010 when 15 million foreigners visited Egypt.
(P26) The authorities hope the new waterway will more than double Suez earnings from $5.3 billion expected at the end of 2015 to $13.2 billion in 2023.
(P27) Mameesh said about a million jobs are expected to be created around the canal over the next 15 years.
(P28) Analysts doubt the FORECASTS.
(P30) “It’s not just about the increase in traffic… it’s also related to external factors such as growth in global trade itself.”
(P31) Built 146 years ago, the original canal is one of the world’s most heavily used SHIPPING LANES and a key focus of international trade.
(P32) Its expansion is a major achievement for Sisi, but Egypt needs many projects to turn around its DILAPIDATED economy, Fawaz Gerges of the London School of Economics and Political Science told AFP.
If you found the passage difficult to read or had problems understanding specific words or idiomatic expressions, please discuss them with your tutor. The following discussion questions should be answered in your own words and with your own arguments.
- Briefly summarize the content of the article in your own words.
- Is shipping an important industry in your country?
- When the Suez Canal was first opened in the 19th Century, it was the most impressive engineering project in the world. What is the most impressive piece of construction that you have ever seen?
- Egypt’s economy needs a boost. How is the economy performing in your country?
- Shipping moves far more goods around the world than airplanes do. Why do you think this is true?
EXPRESSIONS TO PRACTICE:
What do the following expressions mean? Practice using each expression in a sentence; extra points if you can use it in conversation.
- Break ground
- In full swing
- Stand guard
- Trial run
- Gross Domestic Product
- Shipping lane