Egypt Media Roundup – Feb 27, 2014

02/27/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

At least 16 ministers from the cabinet of outgoing prime minister Hazem El-Beblawi will retain their positions in the new cabinet. Nine new ministers have already been selected. Five positions are still vacant in the ministries of health, finance, culture, justice, and transportation. All ministers in the new cabinet are expected to be sworn in within a few days. Ahram details the ministers and their cabinet positions.[News24Read More..

Gender & Sexuality

An Egyptian female student who has recently been released from prison said she was subjected to sexual harassment at the hands of the security personnel. On the day of her arrest, Hamada was dragged to a security vehicle. “Security personnel held me from all parts [of my body],” she said. [Middle East MonitorRead More..

Security Sector

Fatma Emam Sokry writes, “My fear of the police was groomed by the image of a person being cuffed and dragged to the police station, while being beaten and insulted by the officers in front of their family and the whole street.” [Mada Masr

Marginalized Groups

Striking doctors, pharmacists and dentists syndicates threatened Wednesday the upcoming government with escalation if their demands were not met by 8 March. Wednesday witnessed the first joint action effort between the three health worker sectors by going on partial strike at the same time, which they deem “the first step towards escalation.” [AhramRead More..

Rights & Freedoms

Al Jazeera has called for protests outside Egyptian embassies across the world on Thursday to demand the release of four of its journalists detained in Egypt, some of whom are accused of terror-related charges. [City News, Mada Masr, Ahram, Al Jazeera America, Columbia School of JournalismRead More..

Economy

Minister of Trade and Industry Munir Fakhry Abdel Nour said on Tuesday 25/2/2014 that the economic situation in Egypt is showing marked progress day after day.

During his meeting with a delegation of the International Finance Corporation, now visiting Cairo , the minister added that the government is committed to providing guarantees for local and foreign investments. [Egypt State Information Service, AhramRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

Germany’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it strongly advised against travel to all regions of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Previously the ministry had made a warning against travel in the north of the Sinai peninsula and the Egyptian-Israeli border area as well as the resort of Taba. [Ahram

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Legal & Political Institutions

Delayed presidential election law to be issued March 1

Ahram: Egypt’s new presidential election law to be issued 1 March

Summary: A new law aimed at regulating Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections is expected to be issued 1 March, a week earlier than expected.

A judicial council should likely finish revising the law in the next few days and then submit it to interim President Adly Mansour, who is expected to officially endorse and issue the law on 8 March, said Magdy El-Agaty, deputy chairman of the State Council and its affiliated Fatwa and Legislation Department.

The 59-article law was passed to the council on 17 January to be revised in legal and constitutional terms. The council has since held two meetings which were attended by Ali Awad, Mansour’s legal and constitutional affairs advisor, in a bid to reach agreement on several controversial articles.

Mansour was expected to issue the law on 18 February.

Dr Ibrahim Saleh highlights the consequences of Egypt’s “fragility of citizenship” on political stability

Jurist:   The Deception of “Arab Spring”: Legal Dilemmas in Egypt 

Summary: The fear and mistrust that result from violence and crisis limit people’s perception of their political community and contribute to a “fragility of citizenship” on various levels. Such “fragility of citizenship” has had direct consequences for the quality of democratic governance that Egypt has experienced over the last few decades. Specifically, since December 2010, a new kind of cultural resistance was introduced emphasizing “street republics” over the formal institutions of states. Additionally, the relations between the media and military affairs, and the media and the security field, have been dramatically altered as a result of the increasing socio-political and economic pressures that have redefined the social contract in many of the other Middle East and North African nations.

Egyptian court rejects lawsuit to suspend National Alliance to Support Legitimacy

Ahram: Cairo court rejects suspension of pro-Morsi alliance

Summary: A Cairo court has rejected a lawsuit demanding the suspension of all activities for the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL), a coalition of Islamic groups including the Muslim Brotherhood which has been rallying for months in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

Many are attributing recent “AIDS cure” in Egypt as just another news absurdity

France24: Egyptian ‘miracle cure for HIV’ met with scepticism

BBC: Egyptian public skeptical about military’s HIV ‘breakthrough’

NYT: Disbelief After Egypt Announces Cures for AIDS and Hepatitis C

Summary: At a news conference late last week, an Egyptian Army doctor confidently announced that the country’s military had developed a cure for the virus that causes AIDS, as well as hepatitis C, one of Egypt’s gravest public health threats. Independent experts were skeptical about the inventions and treatments. In recent days, as news of the discovery spread, it seemed easy to dismiss as the latest embarrassment imposed on Egyptians by their leadership, like the episode a few months ago, when the authorities opened an investigation into a puppet accused of aiding terrorists.

Morsi’s lawyers demanding new judges in espionage case

AFP: Egypt Morsi spy case on hold, lawyers want new judges

Naharnet: Egypt Morsi Spy Case on Hold, Lawyers Want New Judges

Andalou Agency: Judges suspend Morsi spying trial to hear request for new judges

Ahram: Cairo criminal court suspends Morsi’s ‘espionage trial’

Summary: A court in Egypt on Thursday suspended the espionage trial of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi after defence lawyers requested that the judges in the case withdraw. The case, one of three already opened against Morsi, comes amid a relentless government crackdown targeting him and his Muslim Brotherhood movement since the army removed him last July. Prosecutors accuse Morsi and 35 others, including Brotherhood leaders, of conspiring with foreign powers, Palestinian militant movement Hamas and Shiite Iran to destabilise Egypt. “The court decided to stop looking into the case until a decision is taken on the recuse request” filed by defence lawyers, presiding judge Shaaban el-Shamy said before ending Thursday’s brief hearing.

First order of business for new cabinet: resolution to multi-industry labor crisis

Al Monitor: Egypt’s new prime minister faces labor crisis, strikes  

Summary: Mehleb must negotiate a way out of the burgeoning labor unrest that has workers armed with a range of demands, including the 1,200 Egyptian pound ($172) public sector minimum monthly wage originally promised by the government by the end of January. As noted by Al-Monitor’s Bassem Sabry, some have pointed to this wave of strikes as a contributing factor in the Cabinet resignation, of which some ministers were not even aware before Monday’s announcement.

Khaled Ali alleges Mubarak network back in place–particularly concerning the economy

CairoPost: Mubarak’s network of relations back in place: Khaled Ali

Summary: Former presidential candidate Khaled Ali told ONTV satellite channel on Wednesday that the network of relations of former President Hosni Mubarak is back in place.

The privatization process that occurred during Mubarak’s era has wasted thousands of workers’ rights, he added.

Ali further said that the workers’ attempts to save public money really angered governmental officials, referring that the government has not implemented some verdicts issued against privatized factories and companies yet.

The new amendments of the investment law consider litigation a crime, he mentioned.

Gender & Sexuality

Women human rights defenders speak out on how (and why) sexual violence has been used during protests in Egypt.

Front Line defenders: [VIDEO]Egypt: Sexual harassment on the Front Lines

Marginalized Groups

Youth Commission in Egypt: just an attempt to distract youth from their exclusion from state institutions?

Al Monitor: ‘Youth commission’ sparks controversy in Egypt

Summary: The issue of establishing a youth commission by the office of the president in Egypt, to enable young people to participate in decision-making within state institutions, sparked a controversy between the youth affiliated with various political movements in the Egyptian street. While some believed it a good opportunity to integrate youth into the political process, others considered it an attempt to distract the youth via a parallel entity, without including them in a clear way in state institutions. The latter group thought that this commission came within the context of other promises made to the youth by the office of the president that have not been carried out. Thus, it is important to determine the views of the various youth forces and consider the importance of the commission in empowering youths in political life.

Public transit workers demand minimum wage, new policies not just new officials

Ahram: VIDEO: Public transport workers demand ‘serious talk’ from new PM

Summary: Public transport workers, who temporarily suspended their strike on Thursday, say they want new policies, not just new officials

On Thursday, public transport workers temporarily suspended their strike which began on 22 February. During that time the government has resigned and a new interim Prime Minister, Ibrahim Mehleb, has been appointed.  But the workers say their problems persist despite the cabinet changes, and called on Mehleb to come and talk to them and resolve their dispute.

The workers are demanding to be including in the state’s minimum wage scheme, and want the question of which government body they officially belong to to be resolved.

Rights & Freedoms

Journalist Ursula Lindsey: “The authorities lament the international media’s bias, but can’t seem to stop arresting journalists and photographers, and fomenting public opinion against them”

Arabist: On Being A Journalist in Egypt

Summary: Ursula Lindsey: “Egyptian media is largely not on the same page as the rest of the world. Foreign correspondents (and a few intrepid local bloggers and reporters) who can’t be blandished or coerced into adopting the local narrative are a source of perpetual rage. The authorities lament the international media’s bias, but can’t seem to stop arresting journalists and photographers, and fomenting public opinion against them — outsourcing censorship to angry mobs — and therefore inevitably adding to the country’s “image” problem.”

Economy

16+ million Egyptians lack adequate housing: Egypt to ease access to home loans

Daily News Egypt: Egypt to lift home ownership rates

Summary: With up to as many as 16m Egyptians estimated to lack adequate housing, the government in Egypt has taken steps to ease access to home loans for low-income groups, while at the same time looking at options for spurring private sector developers to build low-cost residential units.

In late December, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority (EFSA) presented its recommended amendments to the Mortgage Finance Law of 2001 to the minister of investment, Osama Saleh. The EFSA regulates all non-banking financial activities, including mortgage finance companies.

According to a statement by the EFSA, the authority has proposed raising the limit on the mortgage-to-income ratio for low-income individuals, allowing more people to benefit from the state’s Mortgage Finance Fund.