Egypt Media Roundup – Jul 21, 2014

07/21/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

A court in Minya acquitted 91 Muslim Brotherhood supporters arrested last August in demonstrations protesting the violent dispersal of Rabaa Al-Adaweya encampment. The defendants have faced charges of “attacking police forces, protesting without a permit, and inviting violence in the Village of Delga, Minya.”   [Daily News Egypt, Cairo Post]

Security Sector

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi released a presidential decree on Saturday of a national period of mourning until Tuesday for the deaths of 22 Egyptian military officials. The officials were attacked by alleged Ansar Beit al Maqdis members waving Al-Qaeda flags near the Al-Farafra Oasis on the Egyptian-Libyan border. The National Defense Council deems the attack an act of terrorism. Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi has expressed his support for increased security initiatives by the Egyptian state along the Egyptian-Libyan border to combat terrorism. [AP, Al Arabiya, Daily News Egypt, Reuters, ABC News, LA TimesRead More…

Rights & Freedoms

An appellate court in Alexandria reduced the sentence of prominent activists and lawyer Maheinour El-Massry. El-Massry was originally sentenced to two years in prison for violating the protest law, and for committing violence against police officers at a solidarity protest during the retrial of the murder case of Khaled Said in December 2013. She now faces a reduced sentence of six months in jail and a fine of LE50,000 ($7,000 USD). El-Massry, along with 12 co-defendants, also stood trial in a separate case where she is accused of breaking in to El-Raml Police station in March 2013. That case has been postponed until October 13 to allow time for the defence and prosecution to summon witnesses. [Ahram Online, El Watan, ANHRI, Daily News Egypt]

Economy

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) condemned the Egyptian government over the “social cost of reducing the budget,” adding that the new Egyptian budget “lack[s] economic vision…[and] reflects a government bias toward the rich.”  In its study on the budget, EIPR finds that “LE48 billion” was saved; however only “LE5.7billion” was allocated to social security initiatives. EIPR expressed concern over the “structures for increasing revenue through capital gains taxation,” and removing energy subsidies that directly affect the poor. [Mada MasrRead More…

Foreign Relations

Egypt has called upon the Turkish charge d’affaires to Cairo on Sunday in response to comments made by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. According to media reports, Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan recently declared President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi an “illegitimate tyrant” and expressed serious doubt about his strategies to end the offensive against Gaza. Prime Minister Erdogan has criticized Egypt’s efforts to produce a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, as well as Egyptian security forces’ refusal on Saturday to provide access to medical aid attempting to cross the Rafah border into Gaza. [Reuters, Ahram Online, Daily News EgyptRead More…

MORE STORIES

Security Sector

 National Defense Council convenes to discuss security and anti-terrorism efforts 

State Information Service: National Defense Council reviews anti-terrorism efforts

In this article: According to the State Information Service, the National Defense Council convened to “review anti-terrorism efforts after the terrorist attack in Farafra.” The Egyptian government released a statement following the meeting in which it said that “the blood of the martyrs will be avenged,” demonstrating the government’s progressively hard-line stance against militancy. During the meeting, the council members discussed Egypt’s national security and threats thereto, and how to guarantee the country’s security while also safeguarding the rights of the Egyptian people. Additionally, council members expressed their intent to have complete “control over the security situation nationwide.”

 A Palestinian rocket lands in Sinai, injures 2 soldiers 

El Watan: Two Egyptian soldiers injured in Rafah crossing by Hamas rocket

In this article: A rocket landed on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, critically wounding one of two soldiers. Security sources said that an investigation and inspection of the rocket revealed that it was fired in error from southern Palestine landing in Egyptian territory.  The two soldiers are being treated at the military hospital in Arish.

 An attack on a gasline in Sinai 

Ahram: Gas Line…and anger prevails in Sinai

ElBadil: North Sinai raises security alert after the bombing of the gas pipeline and the fall of rocket-propelled grenade at the Rafah crossing

XinHua Net: Militants Blow up gas pipeline in Egypt’s Sinai

In this article: An improvised explosive device planted by unknown assailants exploded near a gas pipeline southeast of the city of Arish in the province of North Sinai. A section of the pipeline wasdestroyed, but there were no deaths or injuries. The linefueled a local cement factory and military-owned factories, beforecontinuing on to Jordan. A security sourceblamed supporters of ousted President Muhammad Morsi, but could offer no proof to substantiate the accusation.

Economy

 Vodafone Egypt plans to expand services with new investment 

Reuters: Vodafone Egypt to invest $1.3 bln over three years on network

In this article: The new chief executive of Vodafone Egypt plans to invest $1.3 billion over the upcoming three years to improve the mobile network. Vodafone Egypt serves the largest number of customers in Egypt, making it the “leading communications player.” Vodafone Egypt is currently developing the final details on a new, unified licence, which would allow communication businesses to offer landline and mobile telecommunication services.  According to Reuters, Telecom Egypt will have one year to sell its full share in Vodafone Egypt to customers once the unified licence is activated.

Foreign Relations

 Saudi Arabia’s King discusses foreign relations, economic aid to Egypt 

Daily News Egypt: Saudi King, Al-Sisi discuss economic support to Egypt

In this article: The Saudi Arabian King, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, met with President Al Sisi last Friday to discuss bilateral ties between the two nations. King Abdullah stopped briefly in Egypt on his way from Morocco, where he met with President Al Sisi to discuss economic aid to Egypt, the future of Egyptian-Saudi relations, and “Egypt’s role in the Arabic and Islamic world.” The two leaders talked about the “Friends of Egypt” conference, which is intended to provide financial support to the Egyptian economy. The two leaders also discussed the importance of Egypt developing its role in the “Arab and Islamic world” with the help of its fellow Arab nations. King Abdullah and Al Sisi agreed on the importance of spreading moderate Islam and rooting out terrorism to change the world’s perspective of Islam.

 Egyptian Foreign Minister speaks with Moroccan counterpart 

Daily News Egypt: Egyptian FM calls Moroccan counterpart after prostitution comment

In this article: Sameh Shoukry, the Egyptian Foreign Minister, reached out to his Moroccan counterpart to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries in an attempt to exercise damage control following the recent public relations debacle involving an Egyptian anchorwoman. During a live broadcast, the television host had stated that Morocco’s economy was built on prostitution, and that King Mohamed VI of Morocco had made a deal with Islamic extremists at the beginning of the 2011 Arab Spring. The phone call between Shoukry and Salaheddine Mezouar discussed Moroccan-Egyptian relations, which according to the Egyptian foreign ministry, “cannot be compromised as they are rooted in history.”

 Sisi to Miss African Leaders Summit in Washington, PM to head Egyptian Delegation 

Youm7: Sisi apologizes…will not attend Washington African Leaders Summit…PM Mahlab to attend instead

In this article: Egypt’s presidential spokesman, ambassador Ihab Badawi has confirmed that President Abdel Fattah Sisi will not be attending the African Leaders Summit scheduled to take place this August in Washington D.C. Attending on behalf of President Sisi, and heading the Egyptian delegation at the conference, will be Egypt’s Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. Egypt received an invitation to the summit from the United States following Egypt’s readmission to the African Union mid July.