Egypt Media Roundup – Aug 18, 2014

08/18/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

A group of leftist and liberal  political parties in Egypt have formed the first parliamentary alliance, the Egyptian Front Coalition. The Coalition announced in a statement its intention to protect “the values of freedom, social justice and equality between citizens.” The statement also outlined the Coalition’s agenda, which begins with the intention to stand “against plots that aim to divide and destroy the nation.” The Egyptian Front Coalition strongly supports the Sisi administration, and intends to form a “strong civil bloc against the Muslim Brotherhood.” [Daily News Egypt, Ahram OnlineRead More…

Economy

According to Jeffrey Frankel at the World Economic Forum, President Sisi has “cut longstanding fuel subsidies and allowed prices to rise by 41-78%”  a necessary move towards food subsidy reform. Frankel also calls Sisi’s 13% cuts to bread subsidies “progress” in decreasing Egypt’s 10% budget deficit. Frankel argues that despite the stated intention of subsidies to aid the poor, “less than 20% of Egyptian food subsidies benefit poor people.” [World Economic ForumRead More…

Gender & Sexuality

Amr Khalifa wrote a piece discussing the various aspects of women involvement and empowerment in Egypt, and the changing perceptions and realities of Egyptian women since the revolution. According to Khalifa, “no country can rise to the upper rungs of the developed world without its women.” The revolution allowed women to connect repression seen in the Mubarak regime to the lack of institutionalized women rights in the country and to fight against traditional gender-based expectations and an oppressive regime simultaneously. Though the high level of women’s involvement in the revolution improved the international community’s perception of Egyptian women, reports of sexual harassment and assaults have been on the rise since January 25 revolution. This has led to Adly Mansour’s anti-sexual harassment law, and a more vocalized concern about the low ratio of women to men presiding in political institutions, particularly parliament. Khalifa asks the important questions of how it is possible to “help a society re-conceptualize its views on women” and “convince men that the notion of power sharing with women will result in a society that has more wealth for all?” [Muftah]

Rights & Freedoms

A CPJ report denounced attacks on reporters in Egypt who were covering the first anniversary of the Rabaa sit-in dispersal. CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator Sherif Mansour announced that the various factions in Egypt must “stop attacking and detaining journalists and allow them to cover the news.” CPJ worked with the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) to detail the attacks by police, protesters, and locals on journalists on the anniversary of the “deadliest day for journalists in Egypt.” ANHRI has called upon the Egyptian government to hold accountable those who carried out assaults on journalists for conducting reports of the first anniversary of the Raba’a al-Adaweya protests. [CPJ, Ahram Online, Daily News EgyptRead More…

Security Sector

Early on Monday, August 18 a group of armed men attacked a security checkpoint in the governorate of Gharbiya. A low-ranking police officer was killed in the attack and another officer was injured. Authorities closed off the area and began a search for the assailants. [Mada Masr , Ahram Online, Aswat MasriyaRead More…

Foreign Relations

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s met in Cairo on Sunday, August 17, 2014 with Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-R) to discuss “regional developments,” the Israel-Gaza conflict, and looming terrorist threats in the region. Congressman Issa assured President Sisi that the U.S. finds Egypt’s growing relations with Russia acceptable and will continue to improve relations between the U.S. and Egypt and help to promote democracy in the region. Despite the $3 billion weapons deal that manifested between Egypt and Russia recently, Congressman Issa has said that he will “look into” increasing U.S. aid at nearly $1.5 billion to Egypt “in light of the  ‘the terrorism threat.’”[Daily News Egypt, SISRead More…

 

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 Minister of Education announces plan to reform education system in Egypt 

Ahram Online: Egypt embarks on long-term education reform programme

Cairo Scene: Ministry plans to fix Egypt’s public schools

In this article: Minister of Education Mahmoud Abou Nasr announced a long term government initiative to address issues in the “deteriorating” public education system in Egypt that will uncover its preliminary stages between 2014 and 2017, and continue until the year of 2030. Components of the plan include efforts to address illiteracy, high levels of drop-outs among children, and the implementation of a nutrition program and free extra classes. The plan also looks to change school curriculum, improve teacher training, technology, and infrastructure, and expand classroom size. The 2014/15 education budget has increased since last year and is currently at around LE94.4 billion.

 Raba’a and Nahda protests proclaimed “eternal anniversary of police martyrs” 

Ahram Online: Egyptian Interior Minister says Raba’a will be remembered for police martyrs

In this article: Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim announced on Sunday, August 17, 2014, that Raba’a al- Adaweya and Nahda Camp sit-in dispersals, which amounted to the deaths of hundreds last year in August, would be recognized as “an eternal anniversary of police martyrs” in Egypt. Human Rights Watch has severely criticized police for its brutality during the incident, and compared the dispersal to the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of protesters in China.

 Trial of 119 Muslim Brotherhood members adjourned to September 6th 

Daily News Egypt: 119 Muslim Brotherhood Members to be tried on 6 September

In this article: Minya Court adjourned the court date of 119 Muslim Brotherhood members to September 6, 2014 for inciting violence at the Raba’a al-Adaweya sit-in dispersals. The Muslim Brotherhood has denied allegations of violence. An additional 11 Muslim Brotherhood members were acquitted on August 18, 2014, for their alleged involvement in the Raba’a al-Adaweya sit-in protests.

 Media gag order lifted on Morsi espionage trial, trial adjourned to September 14 

Ahram Online: Morsi espionage case adjourned, media gag order lifted

In this article: Cairo Criminal Court adjourned former President Muhammad Morsi’s espionage trial to September 14, 2014.  Morsi and 35 other Muslim Brotherhood members are accused of “revealing defense secrets to a foreign country, funding terrorists and organizing militant training.” During this time, the court also lifted the media ban which was instilled in November 2013.

 Tourism minister denies sale of Egyptian citizenship 

Daily News Egypt: Tourism minister denies offering Egyptian citizenship for sale to foreign investors

In this article: Minister of Tourism Hisham Zazou denied allegations of selling Egyptian citizenship to foreign investors to increase the prospect of foreign investment  in Egypt. Zazou has, however, stated that he “received the project from an applicant” but that the idea should of course first be presented to the “security, judicial, and economic authorities,” whereby the project proposal could be sent to the cabinet for approval. Foreign investment projects have fallen significantly since the January 25, 2011 revolution in Egypt.

Rights & Freedoms

 Protests demand full investigations of Mubarak crimes 

Daily News Egypt: Kefaya to organize protest in front of High Court

In this article: The Kefaya movement, National Association for Change, and the Egyptian National Council have called for a protest in front of the prosecutor general’s office on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 to demand a full investigation of reprehensible acts carried out by Hosni Mubarak and his cronies throughout his 30-year rule. The protest was a direct reaction to Mubarak’s previous testimony where he “denied issuing orders to kill protesters during the 2011 revolution.” The initiative is considered part of a greater ongoing campaign titled, “Try Them.”

 Amnesty International calls for release of “prisoner of conscience” 

BBC: Ibrahim Halawa on hunger strike in Egyptian jail

Amnesty International Ireland: Egypt mass trial of hundreds of Morsi supporters is a ‘pantomime’–Irish teenager and prisoner of conscience Ibrahim Halawa must be released

Belfast Telegraph: Tony Blair urged to intervene in case of Irish teen on Egypt’s death row

Irish Independent: Irish teen imprisoned in Egypt goes on hunger strike

In this article: Amnesty International (AI) announced that Ibrahim Halawa an Irish-Egyptian and one of the 494 defendants in the mass trial of Morsi supporters, is a prisoner of conscience who was detained for “peacefully exercising his right to freedom of expression.” The teenager was arrested following protests which took place in August 2013, during which he was shot in the hand by security forces and detained without just cause. AI is calling for Halawa to be released, and for an end to the injustice being meted out by the Egyptian judicial system. Halawa has reportedly gone on hunger strike to protest the rescheduling of his trial, which has further extended his detainment without an opportunity to testify in his own defense.

Economy

 12-hour long electricity cuts cripple town in Menoufiya governorate 

Ahram Online: Lengthy power outages see life grind to a halt

In this article: The small town of Kafr Hilal in the Menoufiya governorate “expressed their discontent” with recent electricity cuts for up to 12-hours a day. The town has about 25 textile factories which cannot operate efficiently without electricity. Store owners and citizens complain that food has gone bad due to lack of refrigeration and that the heat is unbearable. Egypt is dealing with a power crisis caused by several factors including poor maintenance of power stations, natural gas shortages, and terrorism which has damaged electricity pylons and cut access to electricity across the country.

Security Sector

 17 Palestinians arrested illegally entering Egypt 

Ahram Online: Egypt arrests 17 Palestinians fleeing Gaza War

In this article: Authorities arrested 17 Palestinians who were attempting to enter Egypt illegally in an effort to escape the violence in Gaza. The Palestinians were arrested after they reached Al-Arish in North Sinai via underground tunnels from Gaza, intending to make it to Alexandria and then travel to Europe.

 Defense Minister reaffirms importance of border security 

Daily News Egypt: Border security is a ‘sacred mission’: Defence minister

In this article: A man accused of involvement in attacks on security forces was arrested upon returning from Gaza through underground tunnels. Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi stressed on Sunday, August 17 the importance of border security, saying that “securing Egypt’s borders and protecting its national security is a sacred mission.”

Foreign Relations

 Egypt and Norway plan to co-host conference for Gaza reconstruction 

Ahram Online: Egypt, Norway eye Gaza donor conference

Daily News Egypt: Egypt, Norway to co-host Gaza conference

In this articles: Egypt and Norway plan to co-host a conference in Cairo that will focus on reconstruction efforts in Gaza. The conference will be held once a sustainable ceasefire agreement has been reached.

 Libyan guards kill Egyptian trying to from Libya to Tunisia 

Ahram Online: Egyptian killed on Libya-Tunisia border

In this article: Libyan guards shot and killed an Egyptian man on Friday, August 15, 2014, while attempting to cross at Ras Jdeir from Libya into Tunisia. The man was accompanied with over 1,000 other “compatriots” and the crossing was an illegal attempt to flee escalating violence in Libya. Tunisia has staunchly prohibited entrance to undocumented travelers escaping Libya, unless they could somehow prove their intentions to leave Tunisia immediately upon entrance. Meanwhile, Egypt has concluded its flights transporting Egyptian refugees from Tunisia to Egypt.

 Egyptian authorities arrested Palestinians escaping into North Sinai 

Ahram Online: Egypt arrests 17 Palestinians fleeing Gaza war

In this article: 17 Palestinians were arrested while illegally attempting to enter Egypt from Gaza. The Palestinians were arrested in Al-Arish, a North Sinai border town, after using underground tunnels to flee Gaza. The Palestinians were reportedly heading to Alexandria, after which they planned to illegally cross into Europe.