Egypt Media Roundup – Jul 31, 2014

07/31/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of Interior approved a “reshuffle” inside the ministry that will involve the Central Security and the National Security forces. General Abdel-Fattah Osman, the ministry’s spokesman divulged from the 3553 police officers involved in the restructure “4 police women were promoted to generals”. He added that 518 police generals, brigadier generals, and police colonels have been “forced into retirement.”   [Ahram Online, Shorouk NewsRead More…

Rights & Freedoms

Al Jazeera English journalist Mohamed Fahmy released a letter to the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) discussing personal hesitation to appeal “his guilty verdict to the same corrupt judiciary that unjustly convicted him in the first place.” Fahmy elaborates that his conviction is different from Mohamed and Greste as he is “convicted of master-minding the ‘terror operation’” due to his role as Bureau Chief of Al Jazeera. He added that materials used by officials against him were not presented or viewed by his defense. Fahmy is sentenced to seven years in prison along with colleagues Baher Mohamed and Peter Greste, both of whom have announced their intention to appeal the verdict.  [CJFE]

Economy

According to MENA Local Development Minister Adel Labib, The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has allocated 150 million Egyptian pounds for the construction of government schools throughout Egypt. Following news of the offer, Egypt designed a plan to construct 100 new schools, 22 in villages and 78 in other governorates within a budget of 550 million Egyptian pounds. After the overthrow of Muhammed Morsi, Egypt has received approximately $12 million in aid from the gulf countries. [AswatMasriya] Read More…

Gender & Sexuality

Despite Interim President Adly Mansour’s amendment of the Egyptian Penal Code to address sexual harassment, there has been a noticeable increase of sexual assault cases during Eid festivities in the past few years. After three days of “working on the ground” Shoft Taharosh (I Saw Harassment) indicated that volunteers “had intervened in 35 incidents of sexual harassment, preventing them or rescuing the victim.” Volunteers were present for three days in Downtown Cairo and Kafr el Sheikh Governorate in order to raise awareness and intervene when appropriate. [Mada Masr, Daily News Egypt,  Mada Masr]

Security Sector

Egyptian authorities arrested nine alleged militants in the Sinai Peninsula during Egypt’s offensive campaign on terror group activity in the Sinai, the Rafah border crossing, and the underground network of tunnels that connect the Sinai Peninsula to the Gaza strip. In addition, forty-three terrorist bases in Rafah and two underground passages were also obliterated, raising the number of of connecting dysfunctional tunnels to approximately 1,641.[Ahram Online, Shorouk NewsRead More…

Foreign Relations

Iran criticized Egypt for its “refusal” to allow expedited humanitarian aid into Gaza as the casualties mount. According to the Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, “100 tonnes of humanitarian aid [has] been” awaiting approval to be sent to Gaza.  Iran also requested that 57 “severely wounded Palestinian women and children” be brought to Iran for medical treatment.  Egypt still has not provided the necessary permits for Iranian aid to be sent into Gaza, a delay deemed “unacceptable” by Iran. Any aid sent from Iran to Gaza requires approval from Egypt to be delivered via the Rafah border crossing. [Reuters, Al Arabiya] Read More…

MORE STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

 290 Egyptian nationals fleeing from Libya arrested, to be investigated by military prosecutors 

Ahram Online: Egypt arrests nearly 300 nationals fleeing Libya unrest

In this article: 290 Egyptian nationals were arrested by Egyptian authorities while attempting to flee political turmoil in Libya. The Egyptian nationals crossed through the border between Egypt and Libya into the city of Salloum. They reportedly did not have the necessary documentation or passports. According to sources, the nationals “were also accused of being present in a military zone off-limits to civilians and were to be investigated by military prosecutors.”

Economy

 Maximum wage law conversation sharply divides Egyptians 

Mada Masr: Hitting the salary ceiling

In this article: The new wage law sets “the maximum wage at 35 times the minimum received by public sector employees.” The successful passage of the new maximum wage law comes after nearly seven years of demands from labor activists for the development minimum wage and maximum wage. Some see the law as a step forward to social justice, while others argue that the new maximum wage is excessive and will not solve the problem of economic inequality. According to Mada Masr, the law does not “clarify the extent to which the committees tasked with monitoring enforcement” and the method of oversight is unclear.

 Much-needed subsidy reform may turn into a “war on the poor” 

Irish Times: Concern that Egypt’s ‘war on subsidies’ could turn into a war on the poor

In this article: Michael Jansen delves into the issue of the Egyptian “war on subsidies,” questioning if the much needed subsidy reform will ultimately damage the well-being of the country’s poor, which make up approximately 40% of the population. Although Egypt’s subsidy cuts  have been applauded by economists as necessary to improve the country’s economic situation, many in Egypt point to a potential “war on the poor” arising from the cuts.

Security Sector

 Militants killed in Giza car bombs were targeting electricity pylons 

Ahram Online: Giza car bombs were targeting electricity pylons: Police

Ahram: Before carrying out their sabotage operation: 3 terrorists killed by the explosion of explosive device on their way  to target electricity pylons

In this article: Two car bombs were detonated by alleged militants in an attempt to target “high pressure towers linking the electricity production unit to the Al-Saf district.” The first bomb exploded in the car prior to the plan’s execution, killing two supposed militants on the spot and wounding the third who later died in the hospital, while the second car bomb was recognized by officials before it exploded. Such activity is not uncommon and has led to many power outages in several parts of the country and an energy crisis in Egypt.

Foreign Relations

 Talks on the planned Grand Renaissance Dam will resume on August 26 

Ahram Online: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan resume dam talks on 26 August

In this article: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan will reconvene on August 26 in Khartoum, Sudan to resume the “tripartite Nile talks.” The scheduled talks are perceived as a “sign of progress” as discussions have reached a stalemate since last year surrounding the proposed $4.2billion hydroelectric Grand Renaissance Dam. Egypt has expressed continued concern over the project’s effect on the nation’s portable water supply. It’s expected that the August meeting will upon discussions Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemairam Desalegn discussed in a prior meeting.

 Egypt’s stance against Hamas is further eroding the opportunity for peace in Gaza 

The Guardian: Egypt’s decision to side with Israel has cost Gaza dear

In this article: Writing for the Guardian, Patrick Kingsley outlines that despite the fact that Egypt has officially condemned Israel for its ongoing offensive against Gaza and has called for an immediate ceasefire by all parties involved. Kingsley adds that Egypt is known for bolstering Israeli initiatives in the past and denying legitimate humanitarian aid access into Gaza via the Rafah border crossing. Last week Egyptian security officials restricted entrance to a medical convoy attempting to deliver medical supplies to injured Palestinians. Egypt has also destroyed over 1,600 tunnels between Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula that are known to carry both supplies and weapons into Gaza in the past year, and has only allowed a small number of severely wounded Palestinians access to Egypt. The government’s behavior toward the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has been widely attributed by the international community to Hamas’ and the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in the region.