Egypt Media Roundup – Feb24 , 2014

02/24/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Egypt’s interim prime minister announced Monday the resignation of his Cabinet, a surprise move that could be designed in part to pave the way for the nation’s military chief to leave his defense minister’s post to run for president. Hazem el-Beblawi’s military-backed government was sworn in on July 16, less than two weeks after Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the defense minister, ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi after a year in office. Its ministers will remain in their posts in a caretaker capacity until the president picks a prime minister to form a new Cabinet. [Ahram, Mada Masr, [AR] Al Masry Al Youm , Al Jazeera, AP, NYT, Reuters, USA Today, BBC, Euronews, Youtube-video, Foreign Policy, Washington Post, Daily News Egypt, Global PostRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

A document recently drafted by women’s rights groups, regional governments and the UN aims to deliver sustainable development and gender empowerment, according to UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri during a trip to Cairo.

The Arab League hosted a series of meetings for civil society groups and stakeholders with the UN Women agency to work out gender-related recommendations for “The Post-2015 Development Agenda,” a UN-mandated goal to lay down a global development framework for 2015 to 2030. [Ahram

Security Sector

The Court for Urgent Matters has upheld the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. The interim government declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group in December but the decision had not been approved of by a court until now. [AhramRead More..

Marginalized Groups

Egypt’s military claims its engineers have made an “unprecedented” scientific breakthrough by developing a device that can detect AIDs and hepatitis C infections without the need to take blood samples. [Egypt IndependentRead More..

Rights & Freedoms

Strong Egypt Party, April 6 Youth Movement, Revolutionary Socialists and a number of other groups have signed a statement calling for the protest on 6 October Bridge at 6pm. [AhramRead More..

Economy

Egypt, the world’s top wheat importer, has sacked the head of its silos and storage holding company and referred an official at the main wheat importing body to prosecutors on suspicion of corruption. Supplies Minister Mohamed Abu Shadi referred the head of the central import administration at the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) to prosecutors for suspected corrupt dealings with traders. [Aawsat, Chicago TribuneRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

Minister for Foreign Affairs Nabil Fahmy, has requested the government of Tanzania to assist in asking the African Union(AU) to re-admit his country’s membership.[Tanzania Daily NewsRead More..

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Legal & Political Institutions

First female, and Coptic, head of Egyptian Political Party elected. Hala Shukrallah to lead the Dostour Party

Ahram: Hala Shukrallah: ‘Something has changed’

JPost: Egypt elects first woman to head political party

Daily News Egypt: Movements welcome Shukrallah’s election as Al-Dostour Party Chairwoman 

Al Arabiya: Meet Egypt’s first female political party leader

Summary: Various political and rights movements have praised the election of Hala Shukrallah as chairman of Al-Dostour Party, making her the first elected Coptic woman to lead an Egyptian political party.

During its first general assembly held on Friday, Al-Dostour Party elected political education officer Shukrallah as its new head.

Both Al-Tayar Al-Shaaby (Popular Current) movement and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party congratulated Al-Dostour Party on the success of their internal elections and the victory of Shukrallah. In a statement released on Saturday, Al-Tayar Al-Shaaby described Al-Dostour Party as “one of the most effective actors in political life”, hoping that cooperation between the party and other movements which support the revolution would create a line of defence to safeguard “revolutionary gains”.

“The party members’ trust in Shukrallah … confirms the Egyptian woman’s ability to play leading roles in building this nation’s future,” the movement’s statement read, pointing out that women were at the “revolutionary frontlines”.

Morsi in court to his supporters: “The revolution of the people won’t stop – continue your peaceful revolution”

Al Jazeera: Morsi urges revolution from court

Ahram: Morsi ‘jailbreak’ trial suspended after defence recusal motion

Summary: Egypt’s deposed president Mohamed Morsi called on his followers Saturday to continue their “peaceful revolution”, during his trial on charges related to jailbreaks and attacks on police. Morsi appeared in court on Saturday in a case that charges him and 130 others over prison breaks that freed some 20,000 inmates during the 18-day revolt in 2011 that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. “The revolution of the people won’t stop – continue your peaceful revolution,” Morsi said from the dock on Saturday.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood still stages diminishing weekly protests despite a crackdown that has killed more than 1,400 people since the military overthrew him in July.

The court adjourned the trial, one of four for Morsi, until February 24.

Sisi to remain as defense minister until new cabinet assembled

El Watan: [AR] URGENT | military source: Sisi presidential nomination is subject to the approval of the presidential election law

Summary: A military source has stated that Sisi will remain in his post as Defense minister until the new cabinet is assembled. It was also stated that Sisi will not announce his bid for presidency until the new election law has been adopted.

Seven members of ‘Judges for Egypt’ movement ‘sent to retirement’ for Muslim Brotherhood affiliation

Mada Masr: 7 judges sent to retirement for MB affiliation]

Summary: Seven members of the ‘Judges for Egypt’ movement were sent to retirement on Monday for belonging to the deposed Muslim Brotherhood group, violating judicial traditions, and involvement in politics, state-owned EgyNews website reported.

The retired judges were also accused of declaring the same results as the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party following the June 2012 presidential elections, before the official declaration of the Supreme Electoral Commission had been made.

Security Sector

Military continues crackdown in Sinai–14 suspected militants killed between February 21-23

Mada Masr: 14 killed in Sinai security operation

Ahram: Egyptian military offensive kills suspected Sinai militants

Summary: The military stated that it killed 14 extremists between February 21-23 in a new security operation, according to a statement on the Armed Forces spokesperson’s official Facebook page.

The statement revealed that the Armed Forces targeted “terrorist strongholds” in North Sinai, also arresting 23 others currently under inspection.

Twenty four huts allegedly used by “terrorist elements as a launching pad for their attacks on the police and army” were also burnt, along with 11 storage spaces used to smuggle goods to Gaza.

The Armed Forces also said it destroyed 15 unlicensed cars and three motorbikes allegedly used by “terrorist elements to target the police and army,” according to the statement.

Morsi accused of sharing state secrets with Iranian Revolutionary Guards

SMH: Mohamed Mursi accused of leaking Egypt secrets

NPR: Egypt’s Morsi Accused Of Aiding Iran’s Revolutionary Guards

Summary: Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been accused of passing state secrets to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard at a hearing at the jailed leader’s trial in Cairo.

A prosecutor at the hearing said Morsi, who stands accused of numerous charges, was involved along with 35 others in a plot to destabilize Egypt.

Specifically, Morsi is accused of delivering national defense secrets and “providing the Iranian Revolutionary Guards with security reports” in an effort to destabilize Egypt.

He is also charged with “conspiring to destabilize the country and cooperating with foreign militant groups – including Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah,” The Associated Press reports.

Egyptian army destroyed eight more Gaza tunnels

Ahram: Egypt continues to destroy Gaza tunnels: Army

Summary: The Egyptian army has destroyed eight more tunnels used for smuggling along the border with the Palestinian Gaza Strip, an army spokesman said on Sunday.

Almost 1,300 tunnels have been destroyed since January 2011.

The army seized weapons including five remote detonators, a defensive grenade F1 and a machinegun, army spokesman Ahmed Ali added.

Few of the hundreds of tunnels running under the border, which the authorities say are used by militants in Egypt and the Palestinian enclave to smuggle weapons and insurgents, are still open.

The demolition campaign has sparked alarm in the Gaza Strip which heavily relies on the underground tunnel network to smuggle goods, including building material and fuel, into the area which has been blockaded by Israel since 2006.

Egyptian court rules re-allowing police officers on school campuses

Ahram: Egypt court approves return of police officers on campuses

Summary: The Court for Urgent Matters has ruled that police officers can be redeployed permanently on university campuses.

Police officers were banned from campuses by a High Administrative Court ruling in 2010.

The ban was challenged by supporters of the interim government amid widespread protests, mainly by Islamists, on campuses following the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In response, the cabinet allowed police to enter campuses to quell the protests.

Police have frequently stormed campuses to break up protests, leaving a number of students dead and dozens arrested.

Monday’s court ruling comes after the government postponed the beginning of the new semester until 8 March for security reasons.

Marginalized Groups

Seven Egyptian Christians found by Libyan police– executed on Libyan beach

Reuters: Seven Egyptian Christians found shot execution-style on Libyan beach

Summary: Seven Egyptian Christians were found dead on a beach in Benghazi, Libya from execution-style gunshot wounds. This is the second-such killing since the start of 2014. “They were killed by headshots in execution style,” a police officer said. “We don’t know who killed them.” Islamist militant assassinations, car bombings, and kidnappings are common in this part of Benghazi.

Rights & Freedoms

Two Journalists referred to military court for leaking statements by Sisi

Egypt Independent: Rassd News journalists referred to military court for leaking Sisi statements

ANHRI: Egypt: Abuse of Journalists reaches military trials

Summary: According to the Turkish Anadolu News, two journalists of Rassd News, a network loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood, were referred to North Cairo military court on Sunday on charges of leaking statements by Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in an attempt to tarnish the armed forces. Amr Salama al-Kazaz, cofounder of the network, and Islam al-Homsi, director of the social media department, were charged with publishing on a weekly basis leaks that the armed forces did not comment on.

Economy

Egypt’s draft investment law protects government-investor relations to attract more foreign investors

Reuters: UPDATE 2-Egypt draft law bars third-party challenges to contracts -source

Trade Arabia: Egypt bars 3rd party challenge to contracts

Straits Times: Egypt investment law bars 3rd party challenge to contracts: Source

Summary: Egypt’s draft investment law contains provisions to prevent third parties from challenging contracts made between the government and an investor, a cabinet source said on Monday, a move designed to attract badly needed investment.

The clauses are intended to reassure investors unnerved by previous legal challenges to such deals, some of which have left companies sold by the government in legal limbo.

Since the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Egyptian courts have issued at least 11 rulings ordering the state to reverse deals signed by the former president’s administration.

The lawsuits have been brought by activists and lawyers who allege that companies were sold off too cheaply in deals that were representative of corrupt business practices during the Mubarak era.

Many companies bought from the Egyptian government by Gulf Arab investors are at risk of renationalisation. Gulf Arab businessmen have repeatedly cited a lack of guarantees that their money will be safe in Egypt as a reason for holding back investment.

Saudi to build fruit-juice factory in Egypt to serve as major company hub in North Africa

Reuters: Saudi Aujan Coca-Cola plans $100 mln fruit-juice factory in Egypt

Arabian Business: Saudi’s Aujan plans $100m fruit juice factory in Egypt

Summary: Saudi Arabia’s Aujan Coca-Cola Beverages Company plans to spend $100 million building a fruit-juice factory in Egypt over the next few years, a senior executive said on Monday, despite the challenges facing there after three years of political turmoil.

Meshal Alkadeeb, vice president of strategy and business development, said the money would cover buying the land and setting up the factory in Egypt, which Aujun sees as a North Africa hub, mainly for Algeria and Libya.

“The plant will be commissioned between 2016 and 2017. We just started working on it,” Alkadeeb said.

Egypt Minister of Energy announces six countries intent to apply for Egypt’s first nuclear plant tender–unclear which countries

Egypt SIS: Egypt: Minister – Six Countries to Apply for Egypt’s First Nuclear Plant Tender

Summary: Minister of Electricity and Energy Eng. Ahmad Emam said that he met with experts from six nuclear countries which announced intention to apply for an international tender of the country’s first nuclear plant in Al-Dabaa.

Minister Emam noted that these countries expressed desire to join the international tender in accordance with the terms set by Egypt, which includes providing 85% of the actual cost of plant establishment to be paid in installments after operation.

Speaking at the Egyptian energy forum, Emam said the tender will follow the convocation of the Supreme Council for the Peaceful Use of Nuclear Energy, adding that a political decision should be also issued in this regard.

Resignation of government may have had effect on rising stocks in Egypt

Ahram: Egypt’s stock investors welcome cabinet resignation, stocks continue rally

Summary: Traders on Egypt’s stock exchange responded to the announcement of the government’s resignation on Monday with a series of buys to push up the market, only hours after cashing in on profits from the previous session.

The main index EGX30 rose 0.4 percent, reaching 8,045 points in a session that saw 51 securities up out of the 185 listed.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi announced on State TV Monday by noon that his cabinet submitted its resignation to Interim President Adly Mansour.

He stated “reform cannot take place through the government alone,” adding that all Egyptians should strive to achieve change.

“I think investors welcomed the leave of El-Beblawi’s government probably due to the media’s criticism of it,” said Eissa Fathy, the vice head of the securities division at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce.