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Russia's Vladimir Putin and Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Feb. 10
Russia's Vladimir Putin and Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo on Feb. 10
Timothy E. Kaldas

CAIRO — Much has been made about Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to Cairo. There has been speculation since the 2013 coup that Egypt's ruler Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has been contemplating a shift in alliances toward Russia. This has been in response to the popular belief in Egypt, propagated by the regime and its media supporters, that the United States had backed the Muslim Brotherhood and that Washington is conspiring with the now-banned organization in its efforts to destabilize Sisi's regime.

The Egyptian government has gone out of its way to play up the significance of Putin's visit. The Cairo streets were lined with posters depicting the Russian president, welcoming him in English, Arabic and Russian. The flagship state newspaper ran a massive spread the day before the Russian leader's arrival declaring him a "hero of this era," while covering the front page with photos of Putin, including one of the Russian president bare-chested.

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Mariateresa Fichele

Fifteen years ago, Francesco kept busy by scamming people. He was a regular visitor to the beaches of Terracina, south of Rome, where he was caught several times selling counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses. Then came the drugs, which fed a serious substance-induced psychosis and eventually he tested positive for HIV.

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