Egypt Media Roundup – Jul 18, 2014

07/18/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

According to government sources, there has been an agreement reached to introduce three new provinces in Egypt: Central Sinai, Bahariya, and El-Alamein. Currently the Minister of Local development is overseeing the creation of the final concepts for the provinces which will then be added to Egypt’s administrative structure. Commenting on the project, the Minister of Housing ensured that there will be new housing developments underway for the new provinces.  [Shorouk] Read More…

Gender & Sexuality

Writing for the Middle East Institute, Yasmine El-Rifae closely examines Egypt’s sexual harassment law, noting that the recent harsh sentences passed earlier this week though “unprecedented” in Egypt,  the law itself is an “insufficient measure to end sexual violence.” El-Rifae raises concerns with regards to the law’s “narrow”definitions and motives, elevating concerns of civil organizations, that Egypt’s sexual harassment law “does not address many of their concerns.”  [MEI

Rights & Freedoms

Rena Netjes, the Dutch journalist sentenced in absentia to ten years in prison in Egypt alongside the Al Jazeera journalists stated that she would not “rest before [the Al Jazeera journalists] are free.” In her capacity, Netjes has been working to raise the profile of “issues of human rights and press freedom violations in Egypt in the Netherlands and abroad.” Speaking with Index, Netjes stated that her colleagues jailed in Egypt currently depend on “international pressures” and “awareness raised by colleagues around the world.” [Index

Marginalized Groups

The Egyptian government has seized the funds of 66 companies affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, a decision by the committee tasked with appraising and freezing the banned organization’s funds. The committee plans to inventory assets belonging to:  Al-Farida, Sirar, Istikbal, AL-Ezz for trade and Malek companies. [Al Masry Al Youm,  Ahram Online] Read More…

Economy

In an attempt to prevent further inflation following the government’s drastic cuts to energy subsidies, Egypt’s central bank has raised interest rates. The central bank’s spokesman stated that “a preemptive rate hike is warranted to anchor inflation expectations and hence limit a generalized price increase, which is detrimental to the economy over the medium term.” According to Egypt’s central bank, the overnight lending rate and overnight deposit rate were raised by 1 percent each. [Reuters] Read More…

Foreign Relations

Egypt’s Foreign Minister is accusing Qatar, Turkey and Hamas of “conspiring to undermine Cairo’s efforts” to broker a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. Egypt’s state owned news agency MENA, quoted the Foreign Minister as stating, “had Hamas accepted the Egyptian initiative, at least 40 Palestinian souls would have been saved.” Cairo has been the site for the ongoing cease-fire discussions of the now 11-day conflict.   [Reuters, CNN] Read More…

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 National Defense Council to be formed 

Ahram Online: El-Sisi orders formation of defence council general secretariat

In this article: President Sisi has ordered the formation of  “the general secretariat of the National Defence Council (NDC).” The council, was reconstituted last February in a decree by interim president Adly Mansour. Heading the secretariat will be a “general secretary” recommended by the defence minister and appointed by the president.  The secretariat will not have a vote in the NDC meetings, though will be tasked with developing the agenda and conducting research. The Council will constitute: “the prime minister, head of the parliament, minister of defence, foreign affairs, finance and interior [and], head of intelligence, military chief of shaff and the head of [both] the navy and air force.

Marginalized Groups

 Ousted President’s Morsi’s son arrested 

Yahoo News: Morsi’s fugitive son arrested at Egypt train station

In this article: Abdullah Morsi, the son of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was arrested while attempting to board a train for Upper Egypt friday at a station south of cairo.

Morsi, 19, was sentenced earlier this month alongside a friend to a year in prison for “possession and use of hashish,” and a fined 10,000L.E. (~$1400).  Commenting on the case against Abdullah, Mohamed Abu Leila his lawyer, stated that the the case is “fabricated,” while Osama Morsi, Abdullah’s brother added that this case is “an attempt to defame his family.”

Economy

 Egypt “targeting new markets” to revive its tourism industry 

Ahram Online: Egypt tourist numbers decline 20.5 pct in June year-on-year

In this article: According to a report by the Ministry of Tourism, the number of tourists visiting egypt in June has declined “20.5 percent compared to the same period the year prior.” “4.4 million tourists” visited egypt in the first half of 2014, representing a 25% drop from last year’s records of the same period. Egypt’s tourism center which accounts for 9% of the GDP post the 2011 revolution. In attempts to revive the sector, and alleviate the pressure on existing businesses  the Ministry of tourism has “postponed” till 2015 the electric bills of touristic establishments. Additionally, the Ministry is “targeting new markets with high purchasing power, particularly India and Egypt.” In attempt to aid these efforts, EgyptAir has announced earlier this week that it will be providing “direct flight line between Cairo and New Delhi” as well as adding “three lines to the existing four lines between Egypt and India,” as Egypt is “currently targeting one million tourists from India by 2017.”

Foreign Relations

 Kuwaiti Emir expresses nations gratitude to Egypt’s concern with Gulf security 

Ahram Online: Kuwaiti emir thanks El-Sisi for making Gulf security an Egyptian concern

In this article: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi and the Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah of Kuwait exchanged messages relating to their countries’ relationship through members of a visiting Kuwaiti delegation. The head of the Kuwaiti National Assembly, Marzouk Al Ghanem, met with Al Sisi during a recent diplomatic visit. During his visit, Al Ghanem thanked Al Sisi “for considering the Gulf region’s security as part of Egypt’s own interests” while asserting his well wishes for Egypt’s success “in its upcoming parliamentary elections.” Presidential spokesman Ehab Bedawy reported that Al Sisi appreciated Kuwaiti support for Egypt’s “quest to restore its role as the region’s leader.” Adding that Al Sisi communicated to the Emir that “the future efforts of both countries should focus on national security as well as defending Islam” and its international image against being equated with terrorism. Kuwait, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia have recently pledged to provide $12 billion to Egypt in aid.

 Egypt FM: Egyptian-American improved post June 30 

Ahram Online: Egypt-US relations better since 30 June: FM Shoukry

In this article: Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated that relations between Egypt and the US have improved since June 30, and that Egypt must use “its relationship with the US as a giant economic partner because relationships between countries are built on mutual benefit and respect.” Shoukry added that he had a 40-minute phone call with John Kerry, US Secretary of State, which leads  him to believe that “Egypt-US relations witnessed a great improvement as a result of the 30 June ‘revolution’.” Shoukry argued that the US is the leading western power, but is not infallible, adding that he considers the US tendency to deal “with other countries according to short term interests instead of thinking of the longer term” to be a flaw in US foreign policy.