Egypt Media Roundup – Apr 3, 2014

04/03/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

After yesterday’s triple bombing at Cairo University, the Egyptian government is geared to pass immediate anti-terrorism legislation. The prime minister, defense minister, and interior minister convened to discuss responses to the attacks and called on the international community to “take a clear stance, through full cooperation, to drain the sources of terrorism.” [Reuters, Ahram, UPIRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

Security officials in Nasr City arrested four men on charges of homosexuality and cross-dressing. Security officials searched the apartment of the detained finding women’s lingerie and toiletries–the case has been referred to public prosecutor. [Youm7– arabic] 

Rights & Freedoms

The April 6 youth movement is calling for renewed protests on Sunday, April 6–the sixth anniversary of the movement’s inception. The group is calling for the release of all political prisoners through an online campaign aiming to gain 500,000 signatures. [Daily News EgyptRead More..

Security Sector

Ajnad Masr, a burgeoning Islamist group, has claimed responsibility for the bombings at Cairo University that killed one and injured several. In their public statement, the group claimed they were targeting “police criminals guilty of massacres.” However, the Interior ministry is claiming that Muslim Brotherhood elements are driving terrorist operations such as the Cairo University bombings. [AhramMiddle East MonitorShorouk-arabic] Read More..

Economy

Egypt is currently facing a 10% fuel deficit that is needed to operate Egypt’s power stations, according to the minister of electricity. If the deficit reaches 20%, power outages may last up to six hours per day. The ministry plans to increase the country’s power supply by importing natural gas and diesel, and beginning work on three new power plants. [Mada Masr, Daily news Egypt, Ahram, IBTimesRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

In response to the UK’s recent investigation into the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities, the MB has issued a warning saying that they will bring the issue to court if the government restricts MB activities in London. The group claimed they will “openly engage” in the UK’s review, and urged that the “British government does not bend to pressure from foreign governments.” [Reuters, Turkish Press, TelegraphRead More..

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Legal & Political Institutions

Mubarak encourages Sisi vote, criticizes Sabahi

Al Jazeera: Mubarak backs Sisi to win presidential poll

Turkish Press: Mubarak advises Egyptians to vote for Sisi

In this article: Ousted president Mubarak lends his vote of confidence to presidential-hopeful El Sisi, during a phone interview with Al Masry Al Youm, saying there was no other option “other than [Sisi]”, whilst also criticizing opposing candidate, Hamdeen Sabahi, as “[in]capable of becoming Egypt’s president.” Sabahi’s campaign team responded saying that Mubarak’s comments were encouraging to his campaign, claiming Sisi was being supported by “corrupt Mubarak regime cronies.”

Sabahi claims lack of neutrality in signature collection at notary offices

Ahram: Sabahi’s campaign complains of ‘state’s bias’

Middle East Monitor: Egypt puts Sabahi under investigation

In this article: The presidential campaign officials of Hamdeen Sabahi have alleged that “state apparatuses” are biased against the campaign, amdist continued violations. The campaign claims that there is a lack of neutrality in addition to assaulting campaign members. Allegedly Sisi posters were also hung inside notary offices, which are expected to be neutral, to collect signatures for each candidate.

Sisi alleged to have surpassed 25,000 signature requirement to enter race

Reuters: [AR] Sisi Campaign: Collected 27,000 signatures in just two days

In this article: Field Marshal Sisi’s campaign is said to have reached 27,000 signatures in just two days from all over Egypt. The presidential election law requires that each presidential candidate collects 25,000 signatures in order to enter the race.

Security Sector

Police to continue to monitor violence on university campuses–and step in, if necessary

Ahram: Police to enter universities during exam time, if necessary: Minister

Ahram: ‘No intention to delay semester after bombs’: Cairo University head

In this article: Following the devastating Cairo University bombings that took place yesterday, the head of the university has said that the semester will not be delayed, and expressed that there needs to be an anti-terrorism law, as expelling students is not enough.

In the university’s attempt at increased security measures, police will be entering universities during exam time, if unrest and clashes continue on campuses. Exams are set to take place in late May.

US government and US Embassy state conflicting reports on delivery of Apache helicopters

Middle East Monitor: Washington continues to hold delivery of new Apache helicopters to Egypt

In this article: The US restated its claims that it will continue to hold the shipment of Apache helicopters to Egypt while it reviews US foreign military funding to Egypt. However, the US embassy refutes these claims, saying “the US Embassy wishes to correct the record regarding recent, inaccurate reports claiming that the US government is blocking the return of several Apache helicopters owned by the Egyptian Armed Forces that were sent to the US for maintenance…[they are] available to be shipped back to Egypt at any time.”

Rights & Freedoms

High school student dies of injuries sustained during clashes at Cairo University

Ahram: High school student dies after last week’s clashes at Cairo University

Mada Masr: High school student dies of injuries from Cairo University clashes last week

In this article: A high school student died from injuries sustained during last week’s clashes at Cairo University at the Qasr Al-Aini Hospital. The student, Hossam Salamah, was severely injured in clashes between security force and university students, and suffered from head injuries from birdshot pellets. Last week’s clashes lead to one other death and 14 injuries.

Minors arrested under protest law released on bail–verdict set for April 9

Ahram: 76 minors charged with illegal protesting released on bail

In this article: 76 underage protesters were released on bail after being charged with violating the controversial protest law issued in November, which bans un-approved protests. All 76 defendants were arrested in different protests supporting ousted president Morsi between November 2013 and January of this year.

Economy

Egyptian pound at its weakest in 6months, black market rates still high

Reuters: REFILE-Egypt pound at six-month low, weakens at c.bank sale, on black mkt

In this article: The Egyptian pound was at its weakest rate on Thursday, while the dollar shortage is inflating black market rates high above official rates. London-based economist claims that “we need to see bigger and much more prolonged movement in the pound before we can say the central bank is loosening its grip on the currency…the pound needs to fall in order to regain external competitiveness, but the financial support from the Gulf has eased strains on the balance of payments meaning the central bank was able to keep the pound stable.”

Cabinet approves use of coal for energy, environmentalists highlight increased pollution as repercussion of coal use

Ahram: Egypt’s cabinet approves use of coal for power generation

In this article: The Egyptian cabinet has approved the official use of coal for power generation, despite debates of the risk of pollution. The risk of public unrest because of increased blackouts prompted cement companies to demand the use of fuel. According to Ahram, “environmentalists say the use of coal as energy would be catastrophic for Egypt which already has one of the worst pollution levels in the world.”

World Bank seeks to create opportunities for women and marginalized groups with $300million business loan

Amwal al Ghad: World Bank Grants Egypt $300 million Loan

In this article: The World Bank has agreed to finance $300millions in small and medium sized enterprises, create new job opportunities, and cut unemployment rates in Egypt. The loan is meant to create opportunities for women and other marginalized groups to start businesses or grow existing businesses “utilizing innovative financing tools to expand access to credit.” World Bank Country Director for Egypt stated, “An inclusive financial system can play a key role in creating jobs and unleashing the entrepreneurial potential of innovative young Egyptians. The project will enhance sustainable and inclusive access to finance and foster innovation.”

Tourism drops by 27% over the last year

Middle East Monitor: Egypt: Tourist numbers drop by 27% in 2014

In this article: The Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics reported a 27% reduction in tourist numbers between February 2013-2014. The number of tourists only reached 614,000 in February 2014, as opposed to February 2013’s 845,000. Pre-revolution, the numbers were significantly higher, in the millions.

Foreign Relations 

Ban Ki-Moon meets with Egyptian FM to express concerns over mass death sentences

Reuters: U.N. chief tells Egypt he is concerned by mass death penalties

Press TV: Ban expresses concerns over Egypt death penalties

In this article: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has expressed concerns over the mass death sentence issued in Egypt last week. Ban held meetings with the Egyptian Foreign Minister at the EU-African summit to convey his concerns.