Egypt Media Roundup – Aug 4, 2014

08/04/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Hosni Mubarak, his sons, and co-defendants will return to trial this week with the next scheduled three court hearings dedicated to the defense statements. The Mubaraks, Habib El-Adly, Egypt’s former Minister of Interior and six former security deputies face charges of contributing to the deaths of protesters during the 2011 revolution. Hosni Mubarak has been under house arrest at the Maadi Hospital in Cairo during the course of his trial. [Egypt Independent, Ahram OnlineRead More…

Economy

In hopes to develop the area area around the Suez Canal to increase revenue, Egypt invited 14 associations of financial institutions to bid on the project. Two army sources confirmed to Reuters that the Saudi branch of Dar Al Handasah a global engineering firm, in cooperation with the Egyptian Army, have been awarded the contract and will be developing an “international industrial and logistics hub in the Suez Canal area.” Further details are expected by Dar Al Handasah and the Egyptian military following the official announcement of the development project. [ReutersRead More…

Marginalized Groups

A video showing children being beaten by a man, later identified as the manager of Makka El-Mokrama orphanage in Giza, instigated social media users to call the prosecutor-general and the government to “investigate and arrest the orphanage’s owner.” The orphanage owner Elham Eid Awad told Al Ahram Arabic that she had uploaded the video from two months ago in order to expose her husband, the man in the video, for his violent abuse of the orphans under their care. Minister for Social Solidarity Ghada Wali has ordered the removal of the children to another orphanage, and an investigation into the incident. The man has since been arrested with an investigation pending. [Ahram Online, Egyptian Streets]

Rights & Freedoms

Security forces prohibited organizers of the Al Fan Midan festival (Art is Square)  from setting up in Abdeen Square, despite the government’s recently acquired clearance for the event. Al Fan Midan, has been shut down three times since 2011. According to the organizers of the event, they received government permission ten days prior to the showcase. The organizers claim that the presidency “cancelled the event because one of the event speakers “insulted” the military and the police forces” during a previous event. Al Fan Midan issued yet another appeal to the Ministry of Culture, and has reportedly obtained permission to hold the street festival next Saturday, August 9th. [ANHRI, Daily News EgyptRead More…

Security Sector

Egypt’s former foreign minister and former secretary general to the Arab League declared Egyptian military intervention in Libya as a necessary means to combat ongoing civil unrest. Amr Moussa stated that current tensions in Libya have “major implications for Egyptian national security,” and that military action should be seriously considered. Moussa called for further discussion about a military option among Egyptians officials, as it crucial for Egypt to “build the necessary support in case” the country is put  in a compromising position that requires an exercise to its “right to self-defence.” [The GuardianRead More…

Foreign Relations

Marie Harf, the US State Department deputy spokeswoman, stated during a press briefing last Thursday that the Egyptian military uses US military aid against its own people, unlike Israel, “which uses the aid ‘to fight a terrorist organization.’” In response to this statement, Egypt filed a complaint to the US. In the complaint, Egypt demanded that the State Department show evidence of a single incident of Egypt utilizing military aid to suppress protesters. Badr Abdel Atti, the foreign affairs ministry spokesman, said the State Department statements were lacking in both “credibility and objectivity.” [abc News, All Africa, Ahram OnlineRead More…

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 New council members appointed to the Supreme Council for Culture 

Ahram English: Egypt’s Supreme Council for Culture members appointed

In this article: The Egyptian Prime Minister appointed new members to the Supreme Council for Culture, including a number of highly respected cultural figures. Prime Minister Mahlab appointed new members and renewed the appointments of current members. The Supreme Council is responsible for “creating and monitoring cultural policy in Egypt.”

 President Al Sisi sends food supplies to Egyptians on Libyan-Tunisian border 

Ahram Online: El-Sisi sends food to Egyptians stuck on Libya-Tunisian Border

In this article: President Abdel Fattah El Sisi sent five thousand tonnes of food supplies to Egyptians “stranded on the Tunisian-Libyan border after two Egyptians were killed Thursday when Libyan guards opened fire on hundreds of Egyptians” attempting to cross the border. Supplies were transported via airplanes also used to evacuate Egyptians.

 Ex-Ahram director to be detained over charges of corruption 

Ahram Online: Ex-Ahram head under Morsi ordered detained over corruption charges

In this article: On August 3, 2014, prosecutors ordered the arrest of the “head of Egypt’s oldest news organization Al Ahram,” Mamdouh el-Wali, on the basis of corruption allegations. El-Wali was accused of having relations with the Muslim Brotherhood, and “was ordered to be detained for 15 days on charges including squandering public funds and facilitating their seizure by giving up [approximately $13 million] of Al Ahram’s money to businessmen.” According to Egyptian authorities, investigations indicate that the “financial irregularities at the organization” amount to “hundreds of millions of pounds.”

 Freedom and Justice Party will not contest the upcoming parliamentary elections 

Al Shorouk: Freedom and Justice Party refuses to participate in the parliamentary elections

In this article: A spokesman for the Freedom and Justice Party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, told al-Shorouk that they would not contest upcoming parliamentary elections. The spokesman, Ahmed Ramy, said the elections would negate the gains of 2011-2013.

Rights & Freedoms

 Political activist and blogger will be postponed 

Daily News Egypt: Douma trial postponed

Daily News Egypt: Cabinet clashes trial adjourned until 13 August

In these articles: The trial of political activist and popular blogger Ahmed Douma and 269 other defendants scheduled for today at the Cairo Criminal Court was postponed until August 13. Douma has been sentenced and released on previous accounts of alleged violence, and was recently “accused of attacking the cabinet building and security personnel as well as burning the Scientific Institute in Cairo in 2011” along with 269 others. According to state-run Al Ahram news, the trial has already “faced repeated delays” in order for “experts to examine media evidence.”

Economy

 Egypt seeking loans from local and international banks to pay oil debts 

Reuters: Egypt seeking $1.5bln loan to repay oil debts – Oil Minister

Asharq Al-Awsat: Egypt seeking $1.5 bn loan to repay oil debts: Oil Minister

In these articles: According to Oil Minister Sherif Ismail, the state of Egypt is looking for local and international banks that would be willing to lend the country $1.5 billion US dollars. The loan is intended to aid Egypt in repaying a portion of its $5.9 billion debt to foreign oil companies that operate within the country. Repaying a portion of the debt, aims to restore faith to foreign investors in the Egyptian economy, and to attract future investors to Egypt. Egypt plans to import natural gas supplies to meet demands as it continues to face the “worst energy crisis in decade” due to declined production.

 Egypt to expand sugar production in hopes of fulfilling international demand 

Ahram Online: Egypt government to raise sugar production

In this article: According to Khaled Hanafy, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, the Egyptian state plans to purchase new machinery and to expand its production lines “to the Egyptian Sugar and Integrated Industries Company (ESIIC) at a cost of 400 million LE.” With an implemented food subsidy, the government currently provides approximately 1.5 million tonnes of sugar per year. An additional 350,000 tonnes of raw sugar are imported from Brazil to fulfill market demand. Critics have found a variety of flaws with the food subsidy program offered by the government, mainly that the amount of land and machinery needed for increased cultivation, and the product’s low profitability rate.

Security Sector

 Militants killed by security forces in Sinai, child killed in bombing by militants 

Ahram Online: Egypt says 11 militant fighters killed in Sinai

Ahram Online: Child dies, 4 severely injured  as mortar shell hits North Sinai home

In these articles: Direct contact between Egyptian troops and alleged militants in the Sinai peninsula on Sunday, August 3, 2014 resulted in the death of 11 militants. During the confrontation, bombs aimed at Egyptian security officials resulted in the death of a six-year old child and four other wounded individuals in the northern Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid. Attacks by militants are not uncommon in this region and are believed to be connected to the countless underground tunnels that thrive between the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip, and currently being targeted by the Egyptian and Israeli states.

 Two torched police cars and attack on Alexandria police station 

Ahram Online: Unknown assailants attack police station in Alexandria

In this article: On August 4, 2014, “unknown masked assailants” attacked a police station in Alexandria using Molotov cocktails. The unknown assailants torched two police cars in front of the police station and fled the scene on their motorcycle.

Foreign Relations

 Egypt mediators hold truce talks between Palestinian factions in Cairo 

Reuters: Egypt holds Gaza truce talks with Palestinian factions

Ahram Online: Hamas leaders in Cairo for peace talks

In these articles: Palestinian factions including Hamas and the Islamic Jihad met in Cairo with Egyptian mediators to negotiate a ceasefire between the groups and Israel. An Israeli official stated that Israel would not participate in the talks as a response to Hamas breaking the previously agreed upon 72-hour ceasefire. Palestinian factions presented a list of demands at the meeting including “a ceasefire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the lifting of a blockade, the release of prisoners and the start of a reconstruction process.” An Egyptian diplomatic source said that Egypt would discuss Palestinian demands with the United States and Israel. The source also suggested that although there is potential for Egypt to loosen the Rafah border crossing and allow for a greater flow of people and products between Egypt and Gaza, there is little chance that a “normal flow of trade” would subsist. Azzam al-Ahmed, representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Palestinian intelligence chief Maged Farag were also present at the talks.

 EGAS: Egypt will no longer be supplying gas to Jordan 

Daily News Egypt: Egypt Ceases supplying gas to Jordan indefinitely: EGAS

In this article: Due to “multiple explosions along the pipeline” and a “decrease in Egyptian gas production,” Egyptian gas company EGAS has indefinitely shut down natural gas production for the state of Jordan. The cut of natural gas supplies to Jordan began in April, despite Egypt and Jordan’s contract of a daily natural gas supply from Egypt to Jordan of 255m cubic meters. A senior official at the company mentioned that Syria and Lebanon still hold contracts with Egypt regarding natural gas supplies, however, that supplies have been suspended for the time being and that Syria continues to run a large debt to Egypt for past supplies.

 Egyptian press syndicate calls for Gaza solidarity protest 

Ahram Online: Egypt’s press syndicate calls for Gaza solidarity demo

In this article: Al Ahram newspaper released the Egyptian press syndicate’s announcement to hold a protest in front of its headquarters at noon on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 in solidarity with Gaza. The protest will be simultaneously held “with journalists in other Arab countries against the Zionist attack on Gaza.”

 Egypt participates in the US-Africa Leaders Summit 

Daily News Egypt: Egypt participates in US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, DC
Daily News Egypt: Tense Egyptian-US relations evident in Africa summit

In these articles: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb and Ministers of Investment, Trade and Industry, and Finance will represent the Egyptian delegation this week at the U.S.-Africa Leader’s Summit held in Washington DC. Discussions will center on various possible approaches to improve the countries’ respective economies, “ways to promote and expand trade and investment opportunities, and how to support sustainable development in Africa.” According to Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour, “political matters will not be discussed” during the summit so as not to deter from economy related, trade, and investment talks. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) plan to hold a donor conference with various international institutions including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in order for countries to present their ideas on economic improvement and scope out potential donors for financial needs. Egypt will also discuss the possibility of Egyptian agricultural exports, particularly citrus fruits, of entering the U.S. market.

  Egyptian foreign minister visits Tunisia to discuss the situation in Libya  

Ahram Online: Egypt FM Visits Tunisia to check on Egyptians fleeing Libya

In this article: Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry left for Tunis today to meet with Tunisian PM Mahdy Gomaa to discuss the recent events of fleeing Egyptians from Libya into Tunisia, and the measures taken by the Egyptian government to mediate the situation. After the conference, Shoukry visit the Ras Jedir border crossing between Tunisia and Libya asses the situation, and check on Egyptians seeking refuge there. Egypt has designated airplanes to pick up Egyptians and transport them back to Egypt with plans of an additional five flights operating on Sunday,  August 10, 2014 from Tunisia to Egypt in order to rescue civilians.