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A grand plan for a $45B capital to replace Cairo

Over the weekend, Egypt unveiled plans to build a wholly new capital. The city would lie somewhere to Cairo's east, closer to the Red Sea. It would sprawl across 150 square miles and potentially be home to as many as seven million people. Projected to cost $45 billion, it was announced at a summit in the seaside resort of Sharm El-Sheikh aimed at boosting the country's economy.

A flashy website hails the proposal as "the catalyst for an Egyptian renaissance" and an effort to "provide for the country's sustainable long-term growth." Cairo, the capital and home to 18 million people, is often criticized for its creaking infrastructure. The proposed new city would be built in partnership with a private developer from the United Arab Emirates, according to Egyptian Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

There's no guarantee the project will be anything close to a success. "The scale is huge . . . How are you going to do the infrastructure? How are you going to get the water? asks Cairo urban-planning expert David Sims. "It will be interesting to see if anything comes of it, but I rather doubt it." - Washington Post

President ruling by decree

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro continued to capitalize on recent U.S. sanctions, winning the right to govern by decree for nine months, saying he needed the special powers to fight to the "imperialist" threat. As tens of thousands of government supporters surrounded the presidential palace on Sunday, the National Assembly, which is controlled by the ruling party, passed the "Anti-Imperialist Enabling Law for Peace" during special session. The law went into effect Monday. It gives Maduro the ability to bypass the assembly and issue decrees in defense of Venezuela from both internal and external sources. - Miami Herald

Uniting against extremists

Nigeria's military said it would establish a joint operation headquarters with neighboring Chad and Niger to assist coordination between the three countries as they battle the extremist Boko Haram insurgency. Boko Haram, which has killed thousands in its six-year campaign to impose Islamic law in Africa's largest economy, this month pledged allegiance to Islamic State, which has declared a caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq. - Bloomberg