Egypt Media Roundup – Aug 14, 2014

08/14/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb led the first meeting for the supreme legislative reform committee today. The committee was formed in June 2014 in order to assess the necessary revisions for current laws, and possible draft laws that are compatible with Egypt’s new constitution had its first meeting today. Additionally, the committee is believed to “coordinate between the new draft laws and existing ones” in order to eliminate any disparities or “ambiguities” between old laws, new drafts, and the Egyptian constitution. [Ahram OnlineRead More…

Economy

Gold producing company Centamin Plc (CEY) expressed optimism about upcoming operations in Egypt as the political climate in Egypt improves and foreign investment opportunities are becoming more profitable. Tumultuous times for the Egyptian economy following the Arab Spring resulted in a fall of Centamin’s shares and a withdrawal of foreign investors in Egypt. Centamin is currently awaiting its appeal to a 2012 Egyptian court decision that prohibited gold to be mined at Sukari, Egypt’s Eastern desert, which it hopes to receive permission to continue to do. Despite huge losses, Centamin expects gains in the future and its mining projects to expand in Egypt. [Bloomberg

Rights & Freedoms

Seventeen human rights organizations in Egypt denounced the findings of  Human Rights Watch (HRW) report released earlier this week on the dispersals of Raba’a Al-Adeweya and al-Nahda in August 2013. In a news conference broadcasted on CBC Extra yesterday, Wednesday August 12, the organizations referred to the report as possessing false allegations and conflicting facts to those documented by Egyptian civil society with regards to the two dispersals. Additionally, the National Fact-Finding Committee assigned to investigate the dispersals criticizes HRW’s report as lacking to report on “important violent incidents” that took place and are of equal significance to those referenced in its report. Namely, the attacks on churches and Christians, police stations and violence which took place on university campuses. The Committee cited the importance of witness testimonies, adding that while many refused to cooperate with its report it is renewing its call to the public to cooperate ensuring that “all information will remain confidential.” Finally, the Committee stated that it “holds a deeper understanding of the situation,” which has halted it from making statements prior to concluding its research. [Shorouk News, Mada Masr, Al AhramRead More…

Security Sector

On the one year anniversary of the violent dispersal of the Raba’a Al-Adaweya and al-Nahda sit-in dispersals, hundreds of pro-Morsi protesters took to the streets across Egypt. In Giza, one person was killed and another injured during clashes between protesters and security forces, while two protesters were killed in similar confrontations in Cairo after hundreds of demonstrators attempted to block traffic. Security forces dispersed about 200 protesters in Alexandria arresting six, while 150 protesters in Nasr City also attempted to block traffic. In Kafr El-Sheikh, Damietta, and Fayoum protesters used burning tires to block roads, while protesters in Minya torched tires to block the railway at Bani Mazar. The Interior Ministry announced that 63 demonstrators had been arrested in seven governorates. Amidst the protests, various small explosions were reported across the country. In Helwan, a private car was blown up, and a 12-year-old was injured by a homemade bomb in Fayoum. In another incident, a bomb blew up an electricity box in 10th of Ramadan City, while several other bombs were found and defused in Cairo, Luxor, Giza, Dakahleya, and Alexandria.[Ahram Online, Mada Masr, Ahram Online, Daily News Egypt, Egypt IndependentRead More…

Foreign Relations

In response to President Sisi’s visit to Russia and meetings with President Putin, the US Department of State deputy spokesperson Marie Harf stated that “Egypt is free to have relationships with whoever it wants.” Harf added that US-Egyptian relations are “strong and strategic,” suggesting that improved Egyptian relations with Russia will not undermine the US-Egypt relationship. Harf did not address the meetings between Putin and Sisi, during which the two leaders discussed renewing projects and investment plans which were developed by the USSR. Harf stated that the US-Egypt relationship is founded on their “unique capabilities” to achieve economic reform and their commitment to security. The US resumed foreign aid funding to Egypt following Sisi’s election as president, providing approximately $1.5 billion in overall aid. During the briefing, Harf did not comment on reports that Russia and Egypt are in talks over a possible $3 billion weapons agreement. [Ahram OnlineRead More…

 

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 Member of NCHR Nasser Amin interviewed about human rights in Egypt 

Daily News Egypt: Egypt has considerable problems in its penal institutions: Nasser Amin

In this article: Nasser Amin, a member of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) and general director of the Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and Legal Profession, was interviewed by Daily News Egypt on “some of the main issues” regarding human rights in Egypt. On the dispersal of Raba’a Al-Adaweya and Al-Nahda squares in August 2013, Amin  expressed that excessive force was exhibited by police at the dispersal, but also there was a presence of dangerous protesters, some who carried weapons. He added that Human Rights Watch should have been allowed entry into the country to present the findings of their recent report. Amin expressed that systematic torture by security personnel is a regular practice in Egypt because of a lack of resources and modernization of police protocol. From Amin’s perspective, President Sisi currently has the difficult task of combating terrorism and ensuring state security, while providing more government transparency and abiding by international law to ensure that human rights are not violated in the process.

Rights & Freedoms

 Al-Azhar student arrested for inciting action against the state on Facebook 

Daily News Egypt: Police arrest Facebook page administrator for using ‘inciting language’

In this article: According to a statement released by the Ministry of Interior, a 23 year old college student at Al-Azhar University was arrested for using “inciting language” and “slogans belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood” on several Facebook as well as calling for protests against the current government. The student was arrested in the Beheira governorate on Thursday, August 14, 2014. He is part of a generation of university students that have incited some of the “deadliest student violence in recent Egyptian history” since the coup that ousted former President Muhammad Morsi from power.

Security Sector

 Rocket attack in North Sinai leaves one child dead and two others injured 

Reuters: One child killed and two wounded in Sinai rocket attack

In this article: A thirteen-year-old girl was killed while her brother and sister, ages eight and two, were severely wounded when a rocket landed on their home in the town of el-Mattallah, south of Rafah in North Sinai. The injured children were taken to the hospital for treatment.

 Gunmen kill police sergeant, injure civilian in Helwan 

Aswat Masriya: Police sergeant shot dead in Cairo’s Helwan, civilian injured

Ahram Online: Police sergeant shot dead near Cairo

In these articles: Unknown gunmen opened fired on a police sergeant who was in his private car with a relative in Cairo’s southern suburb of Helwan. The sergeant was killed in the attack, while his relative, a civilian, was injured. The perpetrators fled the scene and the motivation for the attack remains unconfirmed.

Foreign Relations

 Obama reaffirms support for Egypt’s Gaza mediation 

Ahram Online: Obama renews support for Egypt’s Gaza mediation in a phone call with Netanyahu

In this article: During his talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu late Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama expressed his continuing support for Egyptian efforts to negotiate a ceasefire between Palestinian and Israeli officials that address both Israel’s concern for its security, and ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. A ceasefire of five days was decided upon on Wednesday as well in order for Palestinian and Israeli delegations to continue talks that would ultimately lead to a permanent ceasefire.

 5-day ceasefire begins, followed by Israeli airstrikes and rocket fire from Gaza 

Daily News Egypt: Gaza ceasefire extended for five days

Ahram Online: Israel airstrikes hit Gaza despite new 5-day ceasefire

In these articles: The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement announcing that Israel and the Palestinian factions agreed to extend the Gaza ceasefire for another five days. According to the Ministry, the ceasefire extension is intended to give the “ongoing indirect negotiations taking place in Cairo” more time to achieve a “lasting and comprehensive peace agreement.” Ahram Online reported that despite these talks and the five day ceasefire agreement, Israel “launched airstrikes” into Gaza early Thursday. Rockets were also fired into Israel by Gaza from unknown sources, following the Israeli airstrikes. In response to the airstrikes, a Hamas spokesperson warned that such actions were “dangerous violations” and “unjustified.” The Palestinian delegation stated that it is “extremely critical” for the talks in Cairo to produce a ceasefire agreement.