Egypt Media Roundup – Apr 8, 2014

04/08/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

The Presidential Elections Committee [PEC] has announced regulations for civil society organizations seeking to follow-up the upcoming presidential elections. The organizations are required to submit a series of paperwork in order to be issued a permit to monitor polling in Egypt’s governorates. [Egypt SISRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

Women activists in Egypt are concerned that the rights that were recently enshrined in the constitution will not be applied in practice, or will turn out to be “merely ink on paper.” Among their main concerns are men’s “near-lock” on decision-making in politics, sexual violence in public spaces, and the lack of progress in democratic reforms to ensure women’s rights. [AP, Asharq al-Awsat, Star TribuneRead More..

Security Sector

The Egyptian military’s crackdown on militant operations [or “extremist elements”] in Sinai has led to repercussions for civilians living in the region–particularly the regular communication blackouts. Regular media blackouts prevent people from communicating via mobile telephone, internet, and limit government and bank transactions. The response from Sinai officials: “Communications networks have been cut for security reasons and to preserve the country’s national security.” [Al MonitorRead More..

Marginalized Groups

The number of Syrian refugees in Egypt continues to rise, however, it has become increasingly difficult for the refugees to find place for their children in Egypt’s public schools. “Refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants in Egypt complain of unaffordable school costs in private and public schools, bureaucratic enrollment procedures, and a growing atmosphere of suspicion, xenophobia, and discrimination in the classroom.” [IRINRead More..

Rights & Freedoms

Egyptian activists have ended their sit-in in front of the presidential palace that began last week to call for the appeal of three activists prison sentences. Now, the protesters are giving President Mansour three days to repeal the controversial anti-protest law and pardon the three jailed activists. [Daily Sabah, AhramRead More..

Economy

Egypt has vowed to stick to its tough standards for international wheat imports. Supplies Minister Khaled Hanafi has “given no sign the world’s top wheat importer will bow to lobbying by French exporters for easier standards.” [Ahram, ReutersRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

Human Rights Watch is calling on the United States to acknowledge that Egypt has made “no progress on developing basic freedoms or on its democratic transition” and urged against resuming military aid. [HRWRead More..

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Legal & Political Institutions

Presidential hopeful Mortada Mansour issues series of controversial electoral programs

Ahram: Presidential hopeful Mansour ‘will declare war on Ethiopia,’ ban alcohol, social media

Egypt Independent: Mortada Mansour says will attack Ethiopian Dam if he becomes president

In this article: Presidential hopeful Mortada Mansour has issues a series of controversial electoral programs just days after announcing his candidacy. Among the most publicized remarks, Mansour declared he will ban social media if they become threats to national security, and asserted that he will use military force against Ethiopia if they do not comply with Egypt’s stance on the Renaissance dam. Mansour also expressed his views on Israel and the Camp David accords, claiming, “israel does not respect the treaty anymore. Weapons have been smuggled lately from Israel into the Egyptian border, which contradicts with articles in the agreement.” Mansour also claimed he will ban alcohol retailers, and suspend all protests and strikes for one year.

Two court cases to ‘legally marginalize” the Muslim Brotherhood have been adjourned to April 15

Mada Masr: Court cases against Brothers postponed

In this article: Two court cases aiming to ban Muslim Brotherhood members from nominating candidates for the presidential elections and another to prevent Brotherhood members from legally running in the elections have been postponed to April 15. The upcoming elections in May, as of yet, have no candidate with Muslim Brotherhood support.

Gender & Sexuality

Four men jailed for ‘deviant’ acts, Human Rights First concerned sentence will set precedence in region

BBC: Egypt jails four men for gay acts

TIME: Egypt Imprisons Four Men for ‘Deviant’ Gay Acts

Ahram: Egypt court sentences four gays to prison

Al Arabiya: Egypt court sentences four homosexuals to prison

AP: Egypt Court Gives Men 3-8 Years for Homosexuality

In this article: A Cairo court has sentenced four men to prison after being found guilty of “dressing in women’s clothing and attending ‘deviant’ sex parties.” Although homosexuality is not officially banned in Egypt, there is precedence for putting homosexuals on trial for ‘debauchery’. Human Rights First commented on the recent sentence, stating their “alarm and disappointment” over the sentence and its potential to set precedence in the region.

Security Sector

Al-Qaeda aid arrested in Sharqiya for allegedly training militant groups in eastern Libya

Fox News: Egypt arrests a top aide to al-Qaida chief in Nile Delta city

In this article: Egyptian security officials have arrested Tharwat Salah Shehata, a top aide to Ayman al-Zawahri, head of Al Qaeda. Shehata was caught in an apartment in Sharqiya, and is now being interrogated for allegedly training militants in eastern Libya.

Clashes between pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood break out on Cairo University campus

CairoPost: BREAKING: Clashes erupt in Cairo University

In this article: Clashes erupted between pro- and anti-Muslim Brotherhood supporters at Cairo University today. The clashes broke out during a pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest being staged inside the university, protesting for detained Brotherhood members to be released. Security forces arrived at Nahda square to contain the protests that broke out outside of university gates, while administrative security intervened in campus protests.

Marginalized Groups

Demolition of homes in Dweika causes forced eviction of 98 families

Ahram: Collapse fears provoke fresh evictions in Cairo’s Moqattam

In this article: Ninety-eight families were evicted from their homes on Monday on Al-Razaz street in Dweika due to the demolishment of 19 homes. The demolition was ordered because the homes were feared to be near imminent collapse, and because the houses were allegedly hindering work on fortifying the boulder in the area. The evicted families were provided with homes nearby or transported to 6 October city. “Monday’s evictions angered some families, who accused the governorate of “manipulating them” by sending them to districts that are far away from their jobs and lacking basic facilities such as water, electricity and transportation”

Rights & Freedoms

April 6 Movement activities to go to court on charges of smearing Egypt’s image and espionage

Egypt Independent: Court to decide on suspension of April 6 Movement’s activities on 28 April

In this article: The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters plans to issue a verdict on suspending the activities of the youth activist group: April 6 Movement. Lawyer, Ashraf Saeed filed the lawsuit, claiming April 6 is guilty of “smearing the image of the country and espionage.”

Economy

Kuwait oil deal confirmed: 1.5million tons of oil for three years

Ahram: Kuwait agrees deal to boost Egypt energy supplies

Gulf Business: Kuwait In Talks To Renew Contracts On Supplying Oil To Egypt

In this article: After deliberation, the Kuwaiti government has decided to supply Egypt with 85,000 barrels of oil daily and 1.5million tons for three years. The newly agreed commercial deal stipulates that the supplies will be valued at market price and delivered by 2016. Marketing chief of Kuwait Petroleum Corp stated that, “the agreement is commercial and not political.”

Egyptian pound strengthens in official market, weaker in black market

Ahram: Egypt pound up on official market, weaker on black market

In this article: The Egyptian pound, after hitting a 6-month low last week, strengthened at a central bank dollar auction on Monday [LE6.9649, up from LE6.9651 of last week]. However, the EGP saw some weakening in the black market [LE7.45, as opposed to last week’s LE7.43].

IMF outlook on Egypt: Economic growth will remain sluggish due to political uncertainty and lack of FDI

Daily News Egypt: Egypt economic growth to remain slow: IMF

In this article: The IMF projects that growth of the Egyptian economy will remain slow this year due to political uncertainty and decreased foreign investment. In its World Economic Outlook, they state, “growth in 2014 is expected to be broadly the same as in 2013, as political uncertainty will continue to weigh on tourism and foreign direct investment…Large imbalances will persist unless structural reforms and fiscal consolidation are initiated.” Egypt has been pledged billions of dollars in aid from Gulf governments, and the IMF was [until last year] negotiating a multi-billion dollar loan to Egypt to help finance the government while it underwent reforms.

Foreign Relations

Ethiopia calls on Egypt to ‘respect the voice of the Ethiopian people’ and consider dam project that will be beneficial to downstream nations

Mada Masr:Ethiopian diplomat calms Egypt down

In this article: The Ethiopian government has announced a plan to benefit all nations involved in the Renaissance Dam project. They stated, “The Ethiopian government will consolidate the awareness creation diplomatic efforts it has been waging to make everyone realize the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam will benefit the downstream countries.” The government also called on Egypt to ease from its “aversive” approach toward the project.