Blackout hits Cairo rush hour

September 05, 2014 - 1:31:17 am

CAIRO: A huge power outage blacked out most of Cairo yesterday causing major disruption across the city of some 20 million people at the height of the morning rush hour.

Services were completely suspended on one of the city’s three metro lines and heavily disrupted on a second, the state Mena news agency reported.

Power was gradually restored several hours later as temperatures rose towards 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) in the middle of the day.

“Most of the power has been restored, the metro is working and so are water and sanitation plants,” energy ministry spokesman Mohamed Al Yamani said.

The government was investigating the disruption, which had left parts of the capital without running water, he added.

The outage also hit telecommunications, knocking out 2,000 cell phone signal boosters, said a statement by Vodafone Egypt, the country’s top provider.

As consumers switch on fans and air conditioning units across the vast metropolis, supply routinely fails to meet demand in summer, forcing authorities to impose rolling power cuts neighbourhood by neighbourhood.

But Thursday morning’s outage was the most extensive in years, as investment in generation has failed to keep up with rising population numbers amid the economic woes plaguing the country since the Arab Spring of 2011.

Turkey arrests 19 militants 

ISTANBUL: Turkey has arrested 19 militants affiliated with the Islamic State in its southern province of Gaziantep bordering Syria, its governor said yesterday.

Gaziantep province governor Erdal Ata vehemently denied claims that the region was being used as a rear base for IS militants, saying Turkey was doing all it can to arrest or deport suspected IS members.

“Police and the security forces are showing all the necessary sensitivity on this issue,” he was quoted as saying by the private Dogan news agency.

Pakistani beheaded for drug trafficking

JEDDAH: Saudi authorities beheaded a Pakistani yesterday after sentencing him to death for drug trafficking, the interior ministry announced.

Izzat Gul had been convicted of trafficking a “large amount” of heroin, the ministry said in statement carried by the official SPA news agency, without specifying how much.

His beheading in the western port city of Jeddah raises to 46 the number of executions carried out in the desert kingdom this year, according to a tally. Human Rights Watch expressed alarm last month at a surge in executions, which saw 19 people beheaded between August 4 and 20 alone.