Egypt Media Roundup – Apr 1, 2014

04/01/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Morsi no autocrat!?: The tragedy of Egypt’s failed transition is a tragedy of perception and expectations. Decades of transitions show that Morsi, while inept and majoritarian, was no more autocratic than a typical transitional leader and was more democratic than other leaders during societal transitions. In Egypt, the coup dismantled fragile democratic institutions, based on fears of the future rather than the substance of the present. This is a polity in which the opposition has little, if any, recourse and where even mild dissent is met with arrest. [TheAtlanticRead More..

Security Sector

Egypt is continuing to develop relations with South Sudan in an effort to protect Egyptian water interests within its borders, through which the White Nile flows. This comes at a time when the dispute between Cairo and Addis Ababa over the Nile’s waters is escalating. [Al-MonitorRead More..

Rights & Freedoms

Egypt court reject Jazeera journalists’ bail plea: An Egypt court Monday turned down a plea for bail by jailed Al-Jazeera journalists, who denied links with the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood in a trial that has sparked international condemnation.

The journalists, who have spent nearly 100 days in jail since their arrest, are charged with spreading false news and supporting the Islamist movement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi. [Daily Star LebanonRead More..

Economy

Egypt swings back into deficit, and needs mutual funds. The African Development Bank has announced an increase in funds for Egypt for 2015. Egypt’s current account recorded a deficit of $755.8m in the six months ending December, swinging back into the red after billions of dollars of Gulf aid helped it record a surplus in the three months ending September. The deficit had stood at $4.9bn in the last six months of 2012. Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July to June.

The AFDB aims to finance projects in the water, irrigation and energy sectors along with small and medium enterprises (SMEs). [Arabian Business, Daily News Egypt, Daily News Egypt (AFDB)Read More.. 

Foreign Relations

The US Embassy in Egypt has denied that Washington is postponing the return of Egyptian army helicopters. The embassy on Monday dismissed “inaccurate reports” claiming that the Obama administration is blocking the return of several Apache helicopters owned by the Egyptian military that were sent to the United States for maintenance. [AhramonlineRead More..

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Legal & Political Institutions

New defense minister also trained in the US

WorldTribune: Sisi’s replacement as Egypt’s defense minister was also trained in U.S.

In this article: The government has appointed Chief of Staff Gen. Sidki Sobhi as Egypt’s new defense minister. Sobhi replaces Abdul Fatah Sisi, who declared his candidacy for president. Officials said Sobhi, a veteran infantry officer, would also become the new commander of Egypt’s military. Under the appointment by President Adly Mansour, Sobhi was promoted from lieutenant-general to the rank of general.

Sisi undergoes required medical tests for presidential candidates

Aswat Masriya: Sisi undergoes medical tests required for presidential running

In this article: Potential presidential candidate Abdel Fattah al-Sisi started taking the medical tests required to run for presidency early on Tuesday, his campaign said. According to Egypt’s presidential elections law, only an official report from the health ministry’s special medical committees will be taken into account in regards to the physical and mental health of candidates.

Breaches claimed in presidential campaigning by candidate Sabahi

Ahram online: Sabahi campaign claims breaches with recommendation forms

In this article: The presidential campaign of Egyptian Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabahi said violations occurred on the first day of the period in which candidates can register to run for the presidential race. The campaign said in a statement on Monday that some recommendation forms were processed without the physical presence of their signatories. Presidential hopefuls are required to gather a minimum of 25,000 notarised recommendation forms, signed by at least 1,000 signatories from 15 different governorates, to be eligible to run.

Gender & Sexuality

Sexual harassment charges against policeman

Ahramonline: Egypt prosecution orders policeman arrested on sexual harassment charges

In this article: Egypt’s Aswan prosecution ordered on Tuesday the four-day detention of a policeman pending investigation into his alleged sexual harassment of a tourist from the Philippines during her visit to the Abu Simbel Temple. The order came after the Abu Simbel tourist police filed a complaint based on the account of one of the temple employees who said he saw the incident on security camera.

Security Sector

Nile water dispute: possible international arbitration on Ethiopia dam

TurkishPress: Egypt to prepare for international arbitration on Ethiopia dam

DailyNewsEgypt: No new policy on Ethiopian dam: Foreign ministry

In this article: Egyptian authorities have drawn up a committee to issue recommendations with the aim of allowing international arbitration over Ethiopia’s multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam project currently being built on the Nile’s upper reaches, Egypt’s official gazette stated on Monday.

Protests and consequences: students expelled; call for new demonstrations

PressTV: Egypt’s al-Azhar expels 25 students

Ahramonline: Al-Azhar university expels 25 student ‘rioters’

Ahramonline: Egypt group calls for joint protest to release detainees

In this article: Egypt’s al-Azhar University has expelled over two dozen students for participating in recent anti-government demonstrations. The university said on Monday in a statement that 25 of its students were expelled for their alleged role in a recent violent protest on campus in the capital, Cairo.

Coptic Church’s political engagement

Atlantic Council: Forays by the Coptic Church into Politics Spell Trouble for its Subjects

In this article: While the situation has garnered the Pope a fair amount of criticism, it may actually present an opportunity for the Church to resume its rightful stance: separated from politics. This most recent of a series of unfortunate events that have dragged the Church’s feet deeper into Egyptian politics may just be the chance it needs to recognize its folly and backtrack on some of the more egregious interventions. While the Pope’s appearance beside the Grand Imam of Azhar and then-General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on July 3 when the latter announced the removal of Mohamed Morsi from the presidency may have been a sign of national solidarity, the Church’s subsequent forays into politics have been highly problematic. Apart from the folly of religious institutions intervening in local politics, the seemingly unwavering support by the Church for the current regime, even when it is obviously mistaken, is more dangerous to the Church’s main interest – its flock – than if it were to stand aside as a completely impartial part of Egyptian society.

Rights & Freedoms

Human Rights experts deem capital punishment in Egypt as unlawful

Turkish Press: Death sentences in Egypt, ‘a mockery of justice’ says UN

AllAfrica: UN Rights Experts Denounce Mass Death Sentences As ‘Mockery of Justice’

AlJazeera – Background: Egypt comes full circle: The end of the Arab Spring

AllAfrica: Higher Committee for Human Rights Denounces Egypt Death Verdict

Cairo Review for Global Affairs: MASS DEATH SENTENCES IN EGYPT HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR JUDICIAL REFORM

In this article:  A group of eight United Nations (UN) human rights experts on Monday urged the Egyptian authorities to quash the 528 death sentences announced in Egypt last week and give the defendants new and fair trials, so as to ensure respect of international human rights law.

“We are appalled by the lack of clarity of the charges under which each individual was sentenced to death. Reports that some of them received capital punishment for charges of unlawful gathering, or any other offence not involving murder, indicate a clear violation of international law,” the experts said.

Journalists ‘systematically’ targeted- Reporters Without Borders report

Ahramoline: Journalists ‘systematically targeted’ in Egypt: Reporters Without Borders

Buzzfeed: After Cracking Down On Protesters, Will Egypt Go After Online Activists Next?

In this article: An international press freedom organisation has called for an independent investigation into the killing of a journalist in Egypt. Reporters Without Borders also expressed “deep concern” at the continued detention of journalists on terrorism charges. Mayada Ashraf, a reporter for Dostour newspaper and Masr Al-Arabiya news website, was shot in the head while covering clashes between Muslim Brotherhood supporters and police in Cairo on Friday.

Economy

Property tax law into effect in July

Ahramonline: Egypt’s amended property tax law to take effect in July: Finance ministry

In this article: Under the new amendments, families owning private properties worth up to LE2 million will be exempted from property taxes, as will a host of public buildings. Egypt’s amended property tax law will go into effect in July, according to Finance Minister Hany Qadry.

“The law has already been approved by the cabinet and awaits ratification by the president,” the finance ministry’s spokesman Mesbah Qotb told Ahram Online.

Sugarcane taking toll on farmers

Ahramonline: Cultivation of sugarcane takes toll on Egypt’s farmers

In this article: Sugarcane, dubbed the ‘lazy crop’ by farmers, has high cultivation costs and low profitability, say small-scale farmers in the Upper Egyptian province of Qena. The crop, widely cultivated in tropical and temperate regions, has caused problems for Egyptian farmers like those Ahram Online interviewed in a visit to Qena, an Egyptian province in the far south.

Farmers complain of the high interest rates of the state agricultural bank’s loans as well as the lack of profitability in the crop.

Repatriation scheme ongoing

Reuters: Egypt covers all dollar backlogs for foreign investor repatriations

In this article:  Egypt’s Central Bank has covered the entire backlog of dollars owed to foreign investors seeking to repatriate funds from the country, it said in a statement on Tuesday. “The Central Bank of Egypt announces the coverage of the remaining foreign investors’ backlogs today after previously covering 50 percent of these backlogs on March 13,” it said.

Foreign Relations

Arab summit: some success, but not for key issues

Ahramonline: Qatar and Egypt at the Arab Summit

In this article: It is a shame to lose the opportunity resolve issues like Egyptian-Qatari relations and the Syrian crisis in light of the diplomatic efforts by the prince of Kuwait.

The division between Qatar and Egypt was clear in the speeches of both the prince of Qatar and the Egyptian president. While the first accused some countries of failing to achieve their national unity and those countries blamed others for “supporting terrorism,” on the other side the Egyptian president called on those countries to stop supporting people who have been carrying weapons against their own people. It is a huge gap between the two sides and it does not look to be bridgeable soon.

Muslim Brotherhood HQ in London – and possible ban?

The Guardian: The Muslim Brotherhood’s new nerve centre: Cricklewood?

The Telegraph: Banning the Muslim Brotherhood would be a welcome step in the war on militant Islam

AlJazeera: Britain to investigate Muslim Brotherhood

In this article: For a supposed UK base of the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the Arab world’s most powerful political organisations, two floors of offices above a disused kebab shop on Cricklewood Broadway seem an unlikely choice. But questions about what is happening behind the net curtains of the red-brick premises, sandwiched between a TV repair shop and a hair salon in London‘s north-west suburbs, were sparked on Tuesday morning by reports of fears in the British establishment that the Egyptian Islamist body may be planning extremist activities from Britain. The Muslim Brotherhood has been deposed from power in Egypt and outlawed in Egypt and in Saudi Arabia. Its most high-profile senior member, the former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, is on trial in Cairo after last year’s military coup.