Egypt Media Roundup – Aug 21, 2014

08/21/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi ratified amendments to a property tax law that will retroactively go into effect from July 2013. The amendments address the maximum limit in raising a property’s valuation, exemptions and forming assessing committees. Under the new amendments, military property including clubs, hotels, hospitals and armory warehouses will be exempt from property tax. Private accommodations with an annual rent value of LE24,000 and under will also be exempt. [Ahram OnlineRead More…

Economy

Egyptian military spokesman Mohamed Samir announced that 43 companies have begun work on the new $4 billion Suez Canal expansion project. A total of 48 companies have been assigned to working on the project thus far. The five additional companies are awaiting the arrival of necessary equipment to start work. According to Samir, 13.6 million cubic meters have already been drilled. [Ahram OnlineRead More…

Rights & Freedoms

Activists Ahmed Douma, Mohamed Adel, Wael Metwally and Mohamed Abdel Rahman announced Tuesday, August 19,2014 that they have begun a hunger-strike  in solidarity with fellow detainee, and activist Alaa Abd El Fattah.  Abd El Fattah who began his hunger-strike on Monday August 18, 2014, did so following an authorized visit to his ailing father Ahmed Seif-Islam who is in critical condition post heart surgery.  Additionally, activists Ahmed Maher, Mohamed Adel, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Abdel Moneim, have launched a campaign against their detention under the slogan “We are fed up.” The campaign calls on detainees arrested on protest-related charges to join them in their hunger-strike and on supporters outside of prison to do so as well. [Mada Masr, Ahram Online

Marginalized Groups

Blogger and activist Mina Fayek highlights the lack of progress by the Egyptian military to fulfill its vow of restoring damaged churches post the escalated sectarian attacks against the institutions following President Morsi’s ousting. Fayek quotes ONA news agency on the progress of the restorations, finding that only “10% of coptic churches looted and damaged nation wise have been restored.” The lack of progress is despite churches following necessary procedures and submitting the required paperwork for the restorations. Fayek adds that similar to churches, Christian owned properties also targeted during that period were promised compensation however, are yet to receive any. Fayek points to this slow progress as another component to the history of “unequal treatment” of the Coptic community in Egypt.   [Muftah]

Security Sector

Six security personnel were injured when an explosive device detonated inside the bus they were travelling in along the freeway between Al Arish and Rafah in North Sinai. The bomb was remotely detonated. Security forces began combing the area in search of the perpetrators. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram OnlineRead More…

Foreign Relations

Egypt and Israel are in the process of negotiating deals that could lead to a $60 billion sale of Israeli natural gas to liquefaction plants in Egypt. Noble Energy Inc. and units of Israel’s Delek Group Ltd. could deliver as much as 6.25 trillion cubic feet of gas from the Tamar and Leviathan offshore fields to the liquified natural gas (LNG) facilities in the port of Damietta and the coastal town of Idku. Israel is seeking a means of exporting its excess natural gas, and selling to Egypt is fast than building more LNG facilities. The Israeli natural gas will help Egypt meet its growing energy demands. [Bloomberg BusinessweekRead More…

 

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 “June 30 fact-finding committee” collects evidence from Ministry of the Interior 

Mada Masr: Interior Ministry presents evidence of Rabea dispersal to June 30 fact-finding committee

In this article: The Ministry of the Interior submitted the plans for the Rabaa and Nahda dispersals to the “June 30 fact-finding committee,” including documents, pictures and CDs as evidence of legal government involvement. The Ministry and the head of the fact-finding committee argued that this documentation proves that the dispersals “were conducted to the law and international standards.” According to Fouad Abdel Moniem Riyad, the head of the fact-finding committee, they received all the documents used by Human Rights Watch (HRW) in developing the Rabaa dispersal report. Riyad stated that HRW “presented the narrative of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Interior Ministry’s latest evidence will give some balance to the committee’s work.” Riyad also argued that the committee will hear the story from every side, and it hopes for cooperation from all groups in its continued investigation.

 Ministry of Social Solidarity assures NGO law compliance with constitution 

Daily News Egypt: NGO law will comply with constitution and international standards: Ministry of Social Solidarity

In this article: The Ministry of Social Solidarity requested human rights and civil society groups to respect the “democratic consultative process” to develop the NGO draft law. The Ministry stated that it is committed to the Egyptian constitution, as well as its “full commitment to the international treaties endorsed by the Egyptian government.” The Ministry emphasized the importance of the law’s approval by the upcoming parliament, which it says will represent the people.

 Prosecutor orders investigation into Facebook page 

Ahram Online: Egypt’s top prosecutor orders probe into facebook page for ‘inciting violence’

In this article: Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat ordered an investigation into a Facebook page called “Popular Resistance Movement” on allegations that it incites violence against state institutions and calls for assaults on military and police. Police say they arrested the page administrator and his brother and confiscated both of their laptops.

Economy

 Long Live Egypt Fund may provoke tensions between Sisi and businessmen 

Al-Monitor: Tensions rise between Sisi and business sector

In this article: Although the relationship between President Sisi and the business community has yet to be defined, it is possible that tensions could develop between the two after Sisi called on business people to donate to the Long Live Egypt Fund. Some news sources say the fund has received 9 billion pounds so far, far from reaching Sisi’s target of 100 billion pounds. Shamsuddin Noureddin, a member of the Businessmen’s Association said that Egypt’s economic crisis also hit businessmen and that “Businessmen are ready to provide support for the state’s economy, but they also need the state to redraft investment laws and provide facilities to investors to alleviate the losses they have suffered during the past three years.”

Security Sector

 Four suspected militants killed, two arrested in North Sinai operation 

Ahram Online: 4 militants killed as Egypt’s troops press on with daily offensives in Sinai

In this article: Egyptian armed forces killed four suspected militants and arrested two during a security in the North Sinai towns of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah. Thirty-one buildings alleged to be used as bases for attacks were also destroyed, in addition to a number of vehicles and motorcycles.

 Police arrest 13 alleged members of new armed group, Helwan Brigades 

Ahram Online: Egypt police say they arrested 13 of a new alleged Cairo militant group

In this article: Security officials said they have arrested 13 alleged members of the new armed group called “Kataeb Helwan” or “Helwan Brigades.” The group proclaimed themselves a militant group and threatened police and military forces in a video that circulated on social media.

Foreign Relations

 Egypt deeply regrets failure of Gaza truce, promises to continue as peace broker 

Egypt SIS: Egypt regrets breach of truce, new shelling between Israel, Hamas

In this article: The Egyptian government released a statement on Wednesday announcing its “deep regret” over the broken truce in Gaza and the continuation of violence. The Foreign Ministry announced that Egypt will resume contact with both sides, to “urge them to commit to the ceasefire and to positively engage in the negotiations” to develop a lasting peace. The Foreign Ministry also expressed its intention to encourage a lasting peace which will “achieve the interests of the Palestinian people.”