Egypt Media Roundup – Mar 14, 2014

03/14/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

“Interim president Adly Mansour said Egypt will have an “elected” leader in two and a half months, in an interview published Friday by the state-owned Al-Ahram daily.” [Yahoo NewsRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

Co-Founder of the movement Imprint which “work[s] to make Egypt’s public spaces safer for women,” is “reclaiming public spaces for all women in Egypt.” [Community Times]

Security Sector

Egypt’s Military stated that “it has destroyed 1,270 smuggling tunnels under its border with the Gaza Stript.” The move comes following “sour” relations between Cairo and Hamas. In addition to the destroyed tunnels, the military has also increased the number of troops in the Sinai Peninsula to “counter militancy that has grown since July.”  [The NationalRead More..

Marginalized Groups

“Tens of workers at Egypt’s state-run Modern Fashion Company (Ben-Zaion, Ades, Rivoli) protested on Wednesday at the interim government’s headquarters to demand withheld back pay and the removal of the company’s chairman and board of directors.”  The chairman of the company, Nour Bakr challenged the worker’s claims stating in an interview with Ahram Online, that the claims “don’t make sense being that the company is one of the “very few companies in the public business sector to record profits.” [Ahram Online]

Rights & Freedoms

A Fourth detainee died at Dar al-Salam police station. The“prosecution Chief Hazem Lame’y ordered the the body of the victim to be transferred to Zeinhom morgue to investigate the reasons behind his death and delegated a doctor of forensic medicine to investigate the detention cell as well as another doctor to check if there was an epidemic inside the cell. He also ordered samples be taken from other detainees. [Egypt IndependentRead More..

Economy

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) released a report  which alleges that “Egypt lost $10 billion in gas revenues from 2005-2011.” EIPR’s report attributes the loss to corrupt gas contracts signed under the Mubarak era, highlighting the “failures in Egyptian oil and gas contracts regarding sovereignty, resource conservation and the environment,” and makes reform suggests to prevent further corruption, “energy failures and mismanagement of natural resources.” Read More.. 

Foreign Relations

Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy “stressed that post-revolution Egypt is determined to regain its major role in the African continent regardless of the African Union’s decision to suspend Egypt’s Activities at the time being.” [SISRead More..

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Legal & Political Institutions

Foreign Ministry, “summons” European envoys over joint UNHRC statement

Ahram Online: Egypt summons European envoys over human rights statement

MEI: Egypt Summons European envoys over crackdown concerns

In this article: Egypt’s foreign ministry “summoned the envoys of European countries that sent a joint statement to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday condemning Egypt’s recent crackdown on demonstrators and political dissent.” Assistant foreign minister for European affairs Hatem Seif El-Nasr stated that the “summoned ambassadors will be presented with a strongly worded objection for signing the statement, which he said contained many errors and ignored the progress Egypt has made in its democratic transition” to Al-Ahram Arabic news website. [ Ahram Online, MEI ]

Shafiq goes back on statements criticizing Sisi

Ahram Online: Shafiq backtracks from leaked criticisms of El-Sisi Candidacy

New York Times: Former General Calls Promise of Free Elections a “Farce”

Al Jazeera: Egypt ex-PM: Presidential poll will be fixed

In this article: [Ahram Online]“Ahmed Shafiq has responded to an audio leak in which he criticised an anticipated presidential bid by army chief Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. He said his comments had been taken out of context and he had been speaking when speculation first emerged about an El-Sisi candidacy. He did not say when or where the comments were made. In the recording, Shafiq described the military’s backing for an El-Sisi candidacy as ignorant and amateurish, and criticised El-Sisi for saying he would stand if the people and the army demanded it.”

[NYT]: “Ahmed Shafik  a former general and prime minister and the runner-up in the last presidential election, has called it a “farce.” Mr. Shafik had not planned on making his opinion quite so public. But these days in Egypt, conversations are often not as private as they seem. “I know very well they will fix all the ballot boxes,” Mr. Shafik said in a leaked recording of a private conversation that he authenticated Thursday.”

Hamdeen Sabbahi will remain in the presidential race

Ahram Online: Sabbahi will run despite ‘unconstitutional’ ban on appeals

In this article: “Hamdeen Sabbahi will contest the upcoming presidential elections despite criticising a new law that rules out appeals on poll results.The campaign said that while preparing for the elections, the campaign would also fight “politically and judicially” against an “unconstitutional” article in the newly issued law aimed at regulating presidential elections”

Egypt’s courtrooms, reminiscent of “McCarthy period” in the United States

NPR: In Egypt, A New Courtroom Drama Every Day

In this article: “Not one but two ousted presidents are on trial. In cages. As are a group of journalists from the Al Jazeera satellite channel. Then there are the countless activists facing charges that are widely seen as politically motivated.

If you like courtroom dramas, Egypt is the place to be these days. And while there’s no shortage of high-profile trials, analysts say one thing hasn’t changed in the three tumultuous years since the overthrow of the autocratic Hosni Mubarak: There’s still no guarantee of a fair trial for the accused.

Nathan Brown, an Egypt expert at George Washington University, says the courts are overburdened and the cases being tried reflect the widespread demonization of the Muslim Brotherhood… “ I think any judiciary in any country would have trouble functioning in the kind of political atmosphere that exists in Egypt right now,” Brown says. “It’s really kind of a panicked atmosphere, so I would compare it say to the McCarthy period here in the United States. You don’t expect courts to really always be able to stand up against a public wave — in a sense what they’re doing is joining that wave.””

Security Sector

70 Egyptians were abducted in Libya

Al Arabiya: Gunmen abduct 70 Egyptians in Libya

In this article: “Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday that 70 Egyptians were abducted in different areas of the Libyan capital Tripoli by armed men dressed in military uniform.

The Egyptians were kidnapped in an-Zarah, Salah al-Din and Friday market areas in Tripoli, and were taken to the anti-crime center in al-Hadhabeh, the ministry said.

The ministry did not explain why or when they were kidnaped but said efforts are currently underway to release the abductees and guarantee their safety.”

Hellyer: Egypt’s security issues “have to be addressed effectively”

The National: Egypt is at risk if its security issues are left to fester [Op-ed]

In this article: Hisham Hellyer writes, “Egypt faces a low-level insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula and militant attacks elsewhere – as witnessed by the Cairo bus attack – from the likes of radical extremist groups such as Ansar Bayt Al Maqdis. Beyond that, it faces violence from a variety of small dissident groups, most of whom, but not all, are supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Those three different security challenges – the Sinai insurgency, militant attacks in urban areas, and anarchic protest violence – have to be addressed effectively, without increasing the propensity for violence, or indirectly encouraging a situation where recruitment for such violent actions is easier. Without such a response, insecurity in Egypt is likely to continue for a long period, and that in itself will have far-reaching consequences.”

“Hard at work, repairing” the tunnels

Panorama: Rebuilding the tunnels

In this article: A photos essay by photographer Ahmed Deeb. The photos explore the rebuilding of the tunnels destroyed by the Egyptian Armed Forces.

Rights & Freedoms

Al Aswany: “Satire,” Egypt’s “strongest weapon”

New York Times: Egypt’s Ancient Snark [Op-ed]

In this article: Alaa Al Aswany writes, “Egyptians had discovered that their strongest weapon was satire.

But Egyptians’ political jokes do not come without a price: Through the years, hundreds of artists and writers have paid heavily, with fines, imprisonment and worse, for their courageous irreverence and wit.

But humor is not always impotent or apolitical. The revolution of 2011, which toppled President Hosni Mubarak, brought satire out into the open. Mr. Mubarak was mercilessly mocked for his limited horizon, his lack of intelligence and his corruption. In particular, the networks of social media have come to be seen as a zone of satirical expression beyond the reach of the censors and bureaucratic joke collectors.”

Art: “An Essential component in the lives of Egyptians,” President Mansour

AllAfrica: Egypt: President Asserts Freedom of Expression in Art

In this article: “Egypt’s President, Adly Mansour, has said that freedom of opinion and expression is guaranteed in all forms of art.

Art will remain an essential component in the lives of Egyptians, Mansour said during a speech to celebrate Egypt’s Art Day.

The president urged artists to not leave the Egyptian art scene prey to tamper with the general Egyptian taste.”

Economy

Green tourism, the road to reviving Egypt’s tourism

Mada Masr: Can a flailing tourism industry lure green travelers?

In this article: “In March 2013, Tourism Minister Hisham Zaazou announced plans to take the Green Star Hotel program, a certification scheme for hotels, to a national level by the end of 2013. In January, the government signed a global ethical tourism agreement, affirming, among other things, that tourism should safeguard the national environment, and that the state should prioritize green projects.

According to some estimates, green tourism is growing three to four times faster than conventional travel. Studies show that more than a third of travelers prefer to go environmentally-friendly and are willing to pay a premium of 25-40 percent to visit green destinations.“This is the name of the game,” Elhamy ElZayat, head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, says of green tourism, adding that it’s what “more and more tourists are looking for.””

Egypt’s Army and its expanding business

Bloomberg Businessweek: In Egypt, the Military means (Big) Business

In this article: The army may have saved Egypt’s business owners, but it has little interest in re-creating Mubarak’s Egypt. “It’s not only a different game than before Mubarak. It’s a game without rules,” says Tamer Wageeh, director of the economic and social justice unit at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. “The new thing is that the army is getting stronger and … is dictating more and more its will, even in business.”

The army has been expanding its businesses since the 1970s. Today it develops real estate and operates hotels, cleaning services, and gas stations; it sells pasta, mineral water, and olive oil; it makes refrigerators and washing machines. Now it is filling a vacuum created by the end of the Mubarak era, when Hosni and his son Gamal controlled the fates of many tycoons. The Mubaraks’ influence has vanished, and companies run by their supporters, which before 2011 would have won bids, are not assured of success now.”

Egypt’s Stocks, highest in 3 years

Ahram Online: Egypt’s stocks close week with highest turnover in 3 years

In this article: “ Egypt’s stock market closed the week on Thursday with a three-year high as daily turnover of listed securities hit LE1.4 billion ($201 million).

“Liquid stocks with large volumes and small prices led the market to its highest turnover in years,” Ashraf Abdel-Aziz, head of institutional sales at the Cairo-based Arabia Online Securities, told Ahram Online.”

Egypt to receive petroleum products as aid from Arab countries

Reuters: Update 1- Arab countries to send oil product aid to Egypt to Sept-finmin

In this article: “Arab countries will extend aid to Egypt in the form of petroleum products until at least September, Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian said on Thursday, a move that will help avert an energy crunch expected in the summer when consumption soars.

Last month, Egypt’s oil minister said the country would need to import $1 billion worth of petroleum products to meet energy needs for the summer.”

Foreign Relations

Egypt’s Chief of staff and US Air Force Commander meet, discuss issues of  military cooperation

Ahram Online: Egypt’s army chief-of-staff meets with US Air Force Commander

In this article: “The Egyptian army’s chief of staff Lieutenant General Sedki Sobhi met on Thursday with Lieutenant General John Hesterman, US Air Forces Central Commander for Southwest Asia, along with his accompanying delegation.

Sobhi and Hesterman discussed a number of issues concerning military cooperation between Egypt and the US, according to the Facebook page of Egypt’s army spokesman Ahmed Ali.”