Egypt Media Roundup – Apr 2, 2014

04/02/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Egypt’s top prosecutor called for a probe into funds allegedly received by the only serious rival of ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in an upcoming presidential election, sources said. Public prosecutor Hisham Barakat issued the call after a lawyer filed a complaint about funds that Egyptian businessmen allegedly provided to leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, the judicial sources said. [Maan NewsRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

The National Council for Women (NCW) released a statement on its official website Tuesday about its training program entitled “The Woman Voter.” The program aims to raise women’s awareness on the importance of the voting process and participation in elections. [Cairo PostRead More..

Security Sector

A third explosion took place in front of Cairo University on Wednesday following two bombs that went off in front of the university’s main gate, leaving one officer dead, the Ministry of Interior revealed in an official statement. The first two explosions occurred shortly before noon outside the main gates of Cairo University, targeting a police checkpoint at El-Nahda Square.

The twin explosions killed Police Brigadier General Tarek El-Mergawy and injured four others. El-Mergawy was also the Director of West Giza’s Investigations.

Nearly two hours later, a third bomb exploded as police and emergency services were at the scene. At least two police officers are reported to have been injured.

According to the Ministry of Interior, the three bombs, detonated remotely, were planted at a tree outside the University. Two bombs were placed ‘inside the tree,’ and the third was placed on a branch.

Shortly following the explosions, at least five students have been arrested in the vicinity of the University. No explanation has been provided for their arrests.

The Prime Minister of Egypt has ordered an emergency meeting with the Ministers of Interior, Justice and Defence and Egypt’s Intelligence Chief.

While the government is yet to state who is behind the attack, the Muslim Brotherhood’s social media pages have blamed security forces for ‘plotting the attack in order to fabricate charges of terrorism against students.’

Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has called an emergency meeting to discuss the bombings at Cairo University. Mahlab will meet with the ministers of interior, defence and justice, as well as the heads of general and military intelligence. [Mada Masr, Egyptian Streets, Ahram, Reuters, AP, Daily News Egypt, CNN, Huffington Post, Aswat Masriya, Chicago Tribune, Al Jazeera, France24-fr, BBC, LATimes, VOARead More..

Economy

Egypt’s cabinet on Wednesday approved the use of coal for power generation after a fierce debate within the government over whether the highly pollutant fuel should be permitted for use by the energy-intensive cement industry. Struggling to avoid public unrest over blackouts, the government has cut natural gas supplies to factories, prompting cement companies to renew their demand to use the fuel. [NewsDaily]

The Egyptian government is taking too long to roll out an electronic smart card system designed to reduce costly energy subsidies, the company contracted for the project alleged on Tuesday. Fuel subsidies account for a fifth of state spending, but one cash-strapped government after another has resisted attacking the wasteful system, fearful that raising fuel prices could spark unrest. Motorists will eventually use cards to buy gasoline and diesel at fuel stations in a programme initiated by the administration of President Mohamed Morsi before he was ousted by the army last July. [Reuters, Daily News EgyptRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

Prime Minister David Cameron has commissioned a review of the Muslim Brotherhood’s UK activity. Britain has sent a security services team to assess the vulnerability of the major Egyptian tourist resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to an increasing terrorism threat. [BBC, TelegraphRead More..

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Legal & Political Institutions

Michele Dunne & Nathan Brown write: Egypt’s judiciary now willing participants in political repression

Foreign Affairs: Egypt’s Judges Join In The Crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood Enters a New Phase

In this article: “Compared to previous eras, there is a fundamental difference in the state’s way of dealing with the Brotherhood. Under Nasser — as well as Sadat and Mubarak — repression was the job of security agencies and special courts. The judiciary sometimes acted as a brake on the government’s most authoritarian impulses. Now, all the instruments of the Egyptian state seem fully on board. Whereas Nasser had to go to the trouble of setting up kangaroo courts, today there is no need. The regular judiciary has led most of the recent crackdown on the Brotherhood, from the Minya convictions to other trials of Brotherhood leaders. Meanwhile, the state media, the religious establishment, civil service, and educational institutions have all joined in the effort. Some political parties and most of the private media have even signed on too, apparently of their own free will.

As a result, the institutions of the Egyptian state that used to command respect because they were seen as being above the political fray — the judiciary as well as the army — now seem to be very willing participants in the repression. This shift not only damages the international reputations of the judiciary and the military but also colors how they appear domestically. Any future rebellion, therefore, might turn against all parts of the state, rather than just the president and those figures viewed as his henchmen, as was the case in the 2011 uprising against Mubarak.”

Jailed Muslim Brotherhood leader ‘scoffs’ at judges during his trial

Washington Post: Jailed Brotherhood leader scoffs at Egypt courts

In this article: “The jailed leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood scoffed at the series of mass tribunals against his group and demanded judges not let the courts be politicized, speaking from his defendants cage Tuesday at the stormy opening of a new trial of him and 50 others.

The session saw many of the courtroom tensions that have plagued most of the trials so far. Defendants broke out into chants. At one point, the presiding judge screamed “Shut up” at one defendant. All the defense lawyers walked out of the Cairo courtroom to press their demands the judge recuse himself.”

Judge Abdel-Aziz Salman appointed new secretary general of Presidential Electoral Commission

Ahram: New sec-general appointed to Egypt’s Presidential Electoral Commission

In this article: “Judge Abdel-Aziz Salman was appointed on Tuesday as new secretary general to the Presidential Electoral Commission (PEC), in accordance with the orders of the commission head, Judge Anwar El-Assi.

Salman, senior head of the commissioners’ authority at the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC), is to succeed Hemdan Fahmy.

PEC is the judicial body overseeing the upcoming presidential polls.

Fahmy, who has been holding the post of PEC’s secretary general since December 2013, has been appointed as deputy head of the SCC.”

Security Sector

Clashes continue all over Egypt–Alexandria, Mansoura, Cairo

EuroNews: Egypt: Clashes between Islamist students and police in four cities

Times of Israel: Dozens injured as clashes erupt in Egypt cities

In this article: “There have been violent clashes in Cairo and three other Egyptian cities between police and university students loyal to the ousted Islamist president.

In the capital pitched battles went on for hours as the students from Ein Shams university pelted police with rocks. The security forces used tear gas to try to disperse the protesters.

Elsewhere, 200 kilometres south of Cairo at Assiut, some 45 people including 15 schoolgirls were injured in the violence.

Clashes also broke out in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria and in Mansoura, north of Cairo.

Trouble has erupted on a near daily basis between Islamist students and police ever since Mohamed Mursi was ousted by the military last July.

On Sunday a student was killed in clashes in Cairo.”

Marginalized Groups

Muslim Brotherhood denounces Cairo University bombings, call for ‘impartial’ investigations

IkhwanWeb: Muslim Brotherhood denounces Cairo University bombings

In this article: “We also demand a fair and impartial investigation, and for investigators to refrain from throwing unsubstantiated accusations without evidence, and expose the real perpetrators of this crime to bring them to justice, and gain retribution for the martyrs and the injured”

Economy

$40billion Gulf housing project in Egypt appointed new CEO

Gulf Business: Arabtec Appoints New CEO For Egypt Subsidiary

Arabian Business: Dubai’s Arabtec appoints Egypt unit CEO to lead $40bn project

In this article: “Dubai-based Arabtec Holding has appointed Sami Asad as the CEO of its newly created subsidiary, Arabtec Egypt for Real Estate Development, the company announced on Wednesday.Asad said: “We believe the Egyptian economy, which holds high investment potentials in a broad range of areas, is poised for a significant upturn, particularly with the current governmental policies geared towards encouraging foreign investment.”

Arabtec’s new subsidiary in Egypt will be involved in a ‘multitude of projects’, including the company’s $40 billion project aimed at developing and constructing one million housing units in 13 locations across the country.

The mega-project, announced earlier this year, is expected to be completed in phases over five years. Future residents will have access to public amenities including schools, hospitals, parks and places of worship, Arabtec said.”

Egyptian PM orders action on power cuts–predicts frequency of cuts will decline by next week

Ahram: Egypt PM orders urgent action on power cuts

In this article: “Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has urged ministers to take urgent measures to reduce the frequency and length of power cuts.

At an emergency meeting on Tuesday, Mahlab received written reports from the ministers of electricity and petroleum detailing the reasons for the increased number of power cuts over the last two weeks, a cabinet statement said.

He urged those involved to hasten the completion of new electricity power plants, so they are operating by June instead of August. The new power plants are expected to provide an additional 2,400 megawatts once in operation.

The number of power cuts witnessed across Egypt over the past two weeks will decline starting on Tuesday, Mahlab predicted.”

World Bank press release: new project aimed at promoting sustainable private sector job creation across Egypt

World Bank: Business Unusual: Accelerating Job Creation in Egypt through Inclusive Lending

In this article: “A new project will provide access to finance to Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) and promote sustainable private sector job creation across Egypt. The US$300 million loan approved by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today will open doors for women, youth and marginalized groups to start and grow MSEs utilizing innovative financing tools to expand access to credit. The World Bank Group is committed to supporting the Egyptian people through inclusive growth and private sector jobs with the goal of reducing poverty and promoting shared economic prosperity. “An inclusive financial system can play a key role in creating jobs and unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of innovative young Egyptians,” said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Country Director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti. “The project will enhance sustainable and inclusive access to finance and foster innovation.”

Foreign Relations

US Embassy in Cairo condemns Cairo University bombings

US Embassy Cairo: Condemnation of Attacks Near Cairo University

In this article: “The U.S. Embassy condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks near Cairo University earlier today, April 2, 2014, which killed at least one individual and injured many more.  As we have said before, there is absolutely no justification for such cowardly attacks.  The Embassy extends its condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed and hopes for the swift and full recovery of those injured.”