Egypt Media Roundup – Feb 10, 2014

02/10/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt has been more open to ‘reconciliation’ with the old elite of the Mubarak era. The corrupt businessmen who funded Mubarak’s reign are now buying their way back into Egypt. Read More.. [Foreign Policy]

Gender & Sexuality

In a letter to President Mansour, a number of organizations representing Egyptian women demand that the election law includes fair and equal representation of women in Parliament. Read More..[El Watan -AR]

Security Sector

Egypt’s Interior Ministry has accused the ousted president’s Muslim Brotherhood group of forming a military wing to stage attacks on the security forces. Read More.. [AP, Ahram, TIME]

Marginalized Groups

Ministry of Religious Endowments introduced uniform prayer guidelines, while the ‘Imams without Restrictions’ movement pushes for independence from the MRE. Read More.. [Al Monitor]

Rights & Freedoms

Al Jazeera political analyst, Marwan Bishara writes: “We want our colleagues freed; we want Egypt free. No country can be free when journalists linger in its prisons.” Read More.. [NYTimes]

Economy

Egypt’s interim government unveiled its second stimulus package on Monday, which will inject 33.9 billion Egyptian pounds ($4.87 billion) into the economy, with most of that money coming from aid pledged by the United Arab Emirates. Read More.. [Reuters]

Foreign Relations

Egypt reportedly completed a $2 billion arms deal with Russia and financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. [JPost]

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Legal & Political Institutions

Former presidential hopeful chides Sisi’s candidacy; Analyst claims Sabbahi’s entry into race “legitimizes” Sisi

Reuters: Former presidential hopeful says Egypt is now ‘republic of fear’

Al Monitor: Egypt’s elections: the meaning of Sabahi’s entry and Abul-Fotouh’s exit  

VOA: Egypt: Presidential Candidate Will Legitimize General’s Bid – Analyst

Summary: A moderate Islamist who came fourth in Egypt’s 2012 presidential election won by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, accused the army-backed authorities on Sunday of creating a “republic of fear”.

Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh, 62, one of the few Islamists left in public life after a crackdown on the Brotherhood and its Islamist allies after Mursi was ousted by the army, said Egypt was not on a path to democracy as the government says.

“Our conscience does not let us participate in an operation to deceive the Egyptian people and act like there are elections when there are not,” Abol Fotouh said, confirming his decision not to run for president this year.

Although he has not yet confirmed he will run, army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to win after the army said it would back him. He has wide support among many Egyptians who were relieved to see an end to Mursi’s rule, but is reviled by Mursi sympathisers as the leader of a coup.

Hamdeen Sabbahi officially announces candidacy — Amr Moussa welcomes announcement

Al Jazeera: Left-wing outsider to run for Egypt president

Irish Times: Veteran leftwinger Sabbahi enters Egypt’s presidential race

USNews: Top Egyptian left-wing leader will contest presidential elections, heating up the vote

Daily News Egypt: Moussa welcomes Sabahy’s candidacy

Summary: Hamdeen Sabahi, a left-wing Egyptian politician, has announced that he will be running for president in the forthcoming election.

Field Marshal Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the army chief, is widely expected to contest and win the race, scheduled for mid-April, although he is yet to announce his candidacy.

Sabahi, 59, came third in the 2012 presidential election won by Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, who was deposed by the army in July following mass protests against his rule. “My personal decision as a citizen is to run for the coming presidential elections,” Sabahi said in a public address to supporters on Saturday.

“Hamdeen Sabahi’s battle is the battle of the revolution.”

Tamarod members split over presidential candidate loyalties

Mada Masr: Cyberwars continue within Tamarod

Summary: The power struggle among Tamarod members continued Monday online, after a statement was posted on the movement’s official Facebook page announcing a campaign to collect signatures for presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi.

On the page is a link to a Google document that Sabbahi supporters can sign, along with the brief statement maintaining that “we [at Tamarod] respect the other’s opinions.”

Tamarod had announced its support for Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi last December should he choose to nominate himself for president. On Saturday, it suspended three of its members for “violating the movement’s agreement” to endorse Sisi.

Hassan Shahin, Mohamed Abdel Aziz and Khaled al-Kady had chosen to back Sabbahi instead.

Moustafa al-Seweisy, member of Tamarod’s central committee, told Mada Masr in a previous interview that while the movement’s members are free to support whomever they see suitable to lead the country, the suspended members had agreed with the movement to endorse Sisi.

Gender & Sexuality

Muslim Sisterhood: Ostracized from the Brotherhood, and the government

Arabist: The life of a Muslim sister

Summary: In a blog Post about young Muslim ‘sisters’ facing persecution from both the Muslim Brotherhood and the government, a young girl named Nadia is highlighted. Although she frequently gets labelled a Muslim Sister (and suffers for it), Nadia was among those mostly young men and women who left/were kicked out of the Brotherhood shortly after the 2011 uprising for objecting to what they saw as the leadership’s deafness to criticism, political opportunism and betrayal of revolutionary goals in alliance with the SCAF.

That batch, she says, is now divided into two camps. The first camp, to which she belongs, that has seemingly and temporarily returned to the MB out of solidarity and sense of obligation. Others remain resolutely separate. Those who have returned are not always fully accepted and often face accusations of betrayal and abuse, especially if they voice any old or new criticism of the leadership’s actions and how they lead to the state the Brotherhood is currently in.

Women on the Walls graffiti movement in Cairo from Feb 8-13

Ahram: PROGRAMME: ‘Women on Walls’ takes to Cairo streets to tackle women’s issues through graffiti 

Summary: For six consecutive days between 8 and 13 February, the Women on Walls (WOW) project will take to the streets of Cairo to paint walls and talk about women’s issues and empowerment. As such, WOW aims at empowering artists, especially female graffiti artists. WOW’s initiative was born in spring 2013, when over 40 artists participated in the project and covered streets of four cities, Mansoura, Alexandria, Cairo and Luxor with art. The 2013 event saw artists transforming the walls of a downtown Cairo parking garage into a street art gallery.

Security Sector

One dead in Islamist clashes with police, 2 bombs in Giza

The Daily Star Lebanon: Egypt clash kills 1; bombs on Cairo bridge wound 6  

Summary: Clashes between Egyptian security forces and Islamist protesters left one person dead in a province southwest of Cairo on Friday while two home-made bombs targeting policemen wounded six people in a bridge in the capital, officials said. In the oasis town of Fayoum, 80 kilometers (50 miles) southwest of Cairo, clashes with security forces erupted during a rally Friday by supporters of the Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails.

Hospital officials said one person was shot in the back and died immediately. It was not clear whether he was a demonstrator or a resident of the area.

Earlier Friday, two homemade bombs targeted a police checkpoint on a bridge in the Cairo section of Giza, wounding six people.

The state news agency MENA quoted an Interior Ministry spokesman as saying the explosions hit a truck belonging to the Central Security forces that was stationed on the bridge leading into a major square. A security official said four of the wounded were members of the police.

Ajnad Masr claims Cairo bombs–conflicting reports with Walla3, which also took responsibility for the attack

Reuters: Egypt army hits Sinai militants; new group claims Cairo bomb

Summary: The Egyptian army said on Saturday it had killed 16 Islamists in Sinai, and a new group said it carried out a bomb attack on police in Cairo, underscoring the widening scope of militant violence since the army removed Mohamed Mursi from power.

The army said its aircraft hit radical Islamists near Sinai’s border with the Gaza Strip on Friday evening. A statement described them as belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, which denies government accusations it has turned to violence.

The army has been trying to wrestle control of North Sinai from armed Islamists who have turned their focus from Israel to the government since Mursi, a Brotherhood member, was deposed in July following mass protests against his rule.A statement issued by the new militant group – Ajnad Misr, or Soldiers of Egypt – claimed responsibility for two bombings in Cairo that targeted the Egyptian police on Friday and vowed to carry out more attacks against the security forces. 

Marginalized Groups

Swine Flu deaths in Egypt reach 38

CTV: Egypt’s swine flu death toll reaches 38

Ahram: Swine flu kills 38 in Egypt since December: Health ministry

Summary: Egypt’s Health Ministry says the number of people killed by swine flu in the country since December has reached 38. In a statement Sunday, the ministry said that more than 1,300 people have been hospitalized after being infected by the virus. On Tuesday, the government reported 24 deaths from the virus.

Rights & Freedoms

April 6 trials delayed once again, to March 10

Mada Masr: Maher, Adel and Douma trial adjourned to March 10

Ahram: Egypt court adjourns appeal by revolution activists

Summary: The appeal hearing of three prominent secular activists has been adjourned until 10 March, judicial sources said on Monday.

April 6 Youth Movement founder Ahmed Maher, leading member Mohamed Adel and longtime activist Ahmed Douma were sentenced in December to three years in jail and fined LE50,000 each for organising illegal protests and assaulting police officers in November.

They are leading symbols of the popular revolt that deposed president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Their appeal has been delayed several times over the past few months.

Their conviction fuelled fears among activists and human rights organisations of a broadening crackdown on dissent by the country’s interim authorities.

Among the thousand arrested on January 25, 2014–many are still detained and facing torture in detention

Daily News Egypt: Revolution anniversary detainees reportedly tortured

Summary: The North Cairo Prosecution extended on Sunday the detention of 79 detainees arrested during the third anniversary of the 2011 uprising, all of whom reported facing torture, according to their lawyer Mahmoud Belal.

Among the 1,079 the Ministry of Interior reported to have arrested on 25 January, at least 79 are being held at Abu Zaabal Prison, which Belal describes as “inhumane” and “notorious for torture”. Thirty-nine of the detained faced prosecution at the Azbakeya Court on Saturday, while the remaining 40 faced prosecution on Sunday.

The detainees include members of political parties such as Al-Dostour Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the Social Popular Alliance Party, said Al-Dostour Party spokesman Khaled Dawoud. They also include two prominent leftist youth activists, Khaled Al-Sayed and Nagi Kamel.

Hossam Menaei released from prison

Daily News Egypt: Egyptian filmmaker released from prison after 18 days

Summary: Hossam El-Meneai, an Egyptian filmmaker arrested 22 January along with American translator Jeremy Hodge from their Cairo apartment, was released from police custody Sunday night.

Drew Brammer, a friend of El-Meneai and reporter for Egypt Independent, said that although El-Meneai was released without bail, his charges of “spreading false news and endangering the stability of the nation were still pending”. Brammer said that police “still have his passport, laptop, camera,” and other belongings.

Brammer said that that El-Meneai suffered from harsh treatment while in prison, adding that he was left in a cell with dangerous criminals instead of political activists. “[The police] didn’t even want to talk to him,” Brammer said of El-Meneai’s 18 days in prison.

Economy

Ezz Steel sees decline in sales during Egypt’s state of emergency and military curfew in the fall of 2013

Ahram: Egypt’s top steel producer reveals Q3 net-loss due to curfew in low season

Summary: Egypt’s largest steelmaker Ezz Steel released data on Monday that show sales and profit margins took a hit in the quarter ending September 2013, when Egypt was under a state of emergency and subject to a military curfew.

Ezz Steel reported a consolidated net loss of LE84.1 million excluding minority interest in the third quarter of 2013, compared to a net-profit of LE99 million in the previous quarter. The curfew imposed since August 2013 exacerbated a slump in sales volumes, “coinciding with both the summer season and the Islamic month of Ramadan – periods historically characterized by slow construction activity and low steel demand,” Rita Guindy, industrials analyst at CI Capital, told Ahram Online.

Egypt: low on oil, again. Needs $1 Billion to meet energy needs for the summer

Ahram: Egypt to import additional $1billion worth of petroleum products to meet summer energy needs: oil minister

Mada Masr: BG’s force majeure highlights Egypt’s energy troubles

Summary: Egypt will need to import an additional $1 billion worth of petroleum products and secure significant natural gas supplies as it scrambles to meet energy needs for the summer, Oil Minister Sherif Ismail has told Reuters. One government after another has struggled to cope with energy crunches, and Ismail said this coming season would be no exception.

Failure to find a solution could frustrate Egyptians, who rioted in the past over long lines at gas pumps just before the army toppled Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

Domestic tourism has increased–while international arrivals still low

Daily News Egypt: Despite political unrest, domestic tourism in Egypt performed well in 2013: Research and Markets 

Summary: International market research firm Research and Markets said in its latest report that the government’s efforts to promote domestic tourism have resulted in an increase in the number of domestic trips to 15m trip in 2013, compared to 12.4 in 2009.

The report pointed out that the government has offered discounts to citizens to key destinations while hotels attempted to make up for the losses incurred from the absence of international tourists by providing additional discounts to Egyptians.

The losses witnessed by the hotel market continued however, as revenues plummeted from EGP 19.3m in 2009 to EGP 12.5m in 2013, an 11.87% drop in the Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR).