Egypt Media Roundup – Aug 5, 2014

08/05/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Amr Moussa, Former Foreign Minister and Chairman of Committee tasked with drafting Egypt’s constitution in January announced his withdrawal from the Alliance of the Egyptian Nation. Moussa announced that he will no longer attend meetings hosted for the alliance as a result of what he has perceived to be ineffective membership. Moussa’s spokesman Ahmed Kamal stated that “a number of difficulties, sensitivities, narrow-minded maneuvers and attempts to exclude other factions are still there [and] preventing the reaching of a final decision on the Alliance.” Kamal added that internal disagreements within the alliance have distracted it from pushing for the very crucial implementation of article 5 of the constitution which guarantees, “a peaceful rotation of power and a multi-party system.” [Ahram OnlineRead More…

Economy

On Tuesday, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced a new project that plans to dig a 72 km canal next to the original Suez Canal, to be completed in a year and cost approximately EGP 50 billion. Originally a 3 years project, Sisi called for its completion in one year given “‘the deteriorating security’ which could threaten the project.” The President also called upon Egyptians to help fund the project by contributing EGP 100 to a stock market IPO. The project will be completed entirely through financing by Egyptian banks, investors, and companies and is expected to increase the canal revenues by 259%. The announcement of the Suez Canal industrial hub mega project has a positive influence on Egyptian stocks. [Daily News Egypt, Ahram Online, Reuters Africa , Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Ahram OnlineRead More…

Marginalized Groups

The prosecutor general has ordered the immediate arrest of Osama Mohamed Uthman, Manager of the Mecca al-Mukarama Orphanage, for a video provided by his wife Ilham that reveals Uthman beating and torturing children at the orphanage. Uthman was referred to the Cairo Criminal Court and could face up to three years in prison. Governor of Giza, Ali AbdelRahman, has eliminated the current Board of Directors for the Mecca al-Mukarama Orphanage and replaced it with a temporary board that will manage the orphanage during investigations and for the following three months until the creation of a more stable solution. [Daily News Egypt]

Security Sector

Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry refuted the “rumors” during his press conference in Tunisia of an Egyptian military intervention in Libya. As  the security situation in Libya deteriorates and clashes between Islamist militias and supporting forces of Khalifa Haftar continue, news of a possible Egyptian intervention in Libya sprouted. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and head of the constitutional committee a Amr Moussa recently stated that “Egypt might have to resort to self-defense measures in light of the often fatal attacks on Egyptians in Libya.” In addition to refuting the rumors, Foreign Affairs Minister Shoukry added that “the Egyptian army is only tasked with protecting the borders of the Egyptian state.” [Mada Masr, Ahram OnlineRead More…

Foreign Relations

According to Al Monitor, Cairo recently signed a $3 million per annum contract with a lobbying group to “convince lawmakers and the media that Egypt is on a path to democracy.”  The lobbying group Grover Park won the contract with the Egyptian government, with a mission to convince Congress and the Obama administration that “Egypt is implementing a ‘road map’ for an ‘inclusive democratic state through parliamentary and presidential elections’.” The U.S. Senate appropriations committee has supported the cutting of foreign aid to Egypt, while the U.S. House of Representatives has voted to continue military aid to Egypt. Defenders of President Al-Sisi in the House of Representatives recently formed a Congressional Egypt Caucus to ensure continued aid to Egypt, while the Obama administration has yet to make a clear statement on the future of foreign aid to Egypt.

[Al-MonitorRead More…

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 16 defendants sentenced to 10 years for an attempt to storm police station last year 

Daily News Egypt: 16 defendants sentenced to 10 years prison

In this article: Cairo Criminal Court sentenced 16 alleged Muslim Brotherhood supporters today to ten years in prison and five additional years  “under police supervision upon the end of their sentence.” The defendants were charged with “inciting violence, assaulting security officers and belonging to an illegal, unconstitutional group” when they allegedly planned and executed an attack on the Waily police station in downtown Cairo in September 2013. One defendant died before the verdict was issued and nine defendants were tried in absentia.

 Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Leader Badie and co-defendants trial to resume August 16 

Daily News Egypt: Brotherhood leaders’ trial postponed again

In this article: The trial of Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Leader Mohamed Badie and 17 additional members including Khairat el-Shater, Mohamed Bayoumi, and General Secretary of the Freedom and Justice Party Mohamed al-Beltagy was postponed until Tuesday, August 16, 2014. The defendants are charged with “inciting the killing of protesters, premeditated murder and possession of firearms” as well as other crimes during the protests on June 30, 2013 following the ouster of former president Muhammad Morsi. Muslim Brotherhood leaders and several other supporters face various charges in multiple coinciding trials.

 Trial of Muslim Brotherhood leaders Al-Beltagy and Hegazy postponed 

Daily News Egypt: Al-Betagy, Hegazy torture trial postponed

In this article: The trial of Muslim Brotherhood leaders Secretary General Mohamed al-Beltagy and preacher Safwat Hegazy, as well as two doctors “from the field hospital at the sit-in at Rabaa al-Adaweya” was postponed until Monday, August 10, 2014. The Muslim Brotherhood members were accused of an attempted murder and kidnapping of police officer Mohamed Farouk and policeman Hani Eid, belonging to the Heliopolis police force. The prosecution claims to have evidence that the defendants kidnapped and physically attacked two policeman present at the Rabaa al-Adaweya march, which the defendants’ lawyer, Ysser Shaarawy, has denied. Shaarawy also stated that the police had previously fired shots at the crowd of protesters.

Economy

 Egyptian Central bank issues extra bonds to compensate for fighting yields 

Reuters Africa: Egyptian Central bank issues extra bonds on strong demand

In this article: The Egyptian central bank issued approximately twice the number of 3 and 7 year treasury bonds at the Monday auction. The auction results demonstrated that the Egyptian government was “trying to compensate for the amounts they didn’t raise because they’re fighting yields.” Bids worth 3.67 billion Egyptian pounds for the 3 year bonds, and bids worth 919 million Egyptian pounds for the 7 year bonds were accepted by Egypt. According to Reuters, the “bid-to-offer ratio for the three-year and seven-year bonds was 2.97 and 4.61.” A Cairo-based fixed income trader stated that it isn’t clear “how long the government could maintain” its current yields. The trader told Reuters that the Egyptian government’s current economic strategy is “not usually sustainable.”

 Non-oil private sector business activity experiences contraction 

Reuters Africa: Egypt business activity shrinks in July after subsidy cuts- PMI

In this article: According to a survey, business activity in Egypt decreased in July 2014, demonstrating that the “economy remains fragile after cuts to energy subsidies last month led to lower demand and higher prices.” The non-oil private sector dropped from a “six-month high of 51.5” down to 49.0 points in July 2014, demonstrating a contraction, according to the HSBC Egypt Purchasing Managers Index (PMI).

Security Sector

 US soldier with the MFO mission in Sinai shot in a “militant attack” 

Ahram Online: US peacekeeping soldier shot in Egypt’s Sinai

The Daily Star: American MFO soldier shot in Sinai

In this article: The Multinational Force and Observers camp in the Sinai Peninsula was attacked by gunmen late on Monday, wounding a US soldier with a peacekeeping mission. The soldier was hit in either the shoulder or the arm, and was subsequently treated by medics “at a camp near the northern Sinai village of El-Joura.” According to Egyptian security forces, the attack was perpetrated by Islamist militants.

Foreign Relations

 Egypt FM calls for UN to force Israel to accept a truce in Gaza 

Ahram Online: Egypt’s foreign minister asks UN chief to push Israel towards truce

In this article: An “Egyptian negotiator” reported on Monday that Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry spoke to UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon regarding the ongoing offensive on Gaza. Shoukry reportedly requested that the UN pressure Israel into seeking a “three-day humanitarian truce” that could develop into a “solid ceasefire.” The UN Secretary General claimed that the UN has offered clear communication with Israeli officials in order to encourage them to end the war war and to realize the severity of the situation. Negotiators remain skeptical about the possibility of a ceasefire, and do not predict its inception in the following 48 hours.

 Egyptian journalists protest over Israeli attacks on journalists in Gaza 

Ahram Online: In Pictures: Egyptian, Arab journalists protest to condemn Israeli targeting of journalists in Gaza

In this article: Egyptian and Arab journalists gathered this week in front of the Journalist’s Syndicate to protest Israeli treatment of journalists and to denounce the indiscriminate killing in Gaza. The event was organized by the Arab Journalists’ Coalition, whose General Secretary Hatem Zakaria called the offensive on Gaza “genocide” and claimed that it “should be stopped along with the destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure.” General Secretary of the general syndicate for Palestinian journalists Youseef el-Ostaz also announced that the coalition plans to send a delegation of journalists to Gaza in the near future, and that “Israel doesn’t distinguish between civilians and members of Hamas” which has resulted in the killing of over 12 journalists and photojournalists.

 Secretary of State met with Egypt PM for summit talks 

Ahram Online: Secretary Kerry visits Egypt’s PM at Washington hotel for summit talks

In this article: US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb on Monday evening, August 4, 2014 following U.S.-African Summit conferences held at the U.S. Department of State. The two representatives discussed recent events in Gaza, ongoing violence in Syria, and the worsening situation in Libya. Egypt received an invitation for the Summit following the removal of its suspension from the African Union this past June.