Egypt Media Roundup – Mar 20, 2014

03/20/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Five Egyptian political parties–Egyptian Popular Current, the liberal Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Nasserist Al-Karama Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party ­– asked Mansour to amend article 7 of an elections law he issued earlier this month so that presidential candidates will be allowed to appeal the results of the polls. [AhramRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

Egyptian activists created a hashtag on Twitter called “The first time I was harassed” (#اول_محاولة_تحرش_كان_عمري) two days ago, inspiring hundreds to tweet their first experience of being sexually harassed in Egypt. As such, many of the activists, who were themselves victims of this widespread phenomenon, surfaced on the media platforms, stating that they are subjected to sexual harassment simply upon leaving their homes. [Cairo Post

Security Sector

Amidst a crackdown that has killed over 1,000 Morsi supporters, Muslim Brothers aren’t turning the other cheek. Armed with improvised weapons such as flaming aerosol cans and Molotov cocktails, they are directing a campaign of lower-profile violence against various governmental and civilian targets, aiming to stir chaos and thereby weaken the post-Morsi regime. Muslim Brothers appeal to their supporters through social media, establishing violent Facebook groups that have attracted thousands of “likes.” For example, the “Execution Movement” Facebook page, which was founded in early September to call for the deaths of Egypt’s top security officials, urges its roughly 3,000 followers to burn police cars. [New RepublicRead More..

Marginalized Groups

Many Egyptians living with Hepatitis C, HIV, and AIDS are taking heavy financial risks to invest in the army’s ‘miracle cure’. While the miracle cure has now become the punchline of countless jokes, many in Egypt continue to believe in it. Egypt’s health ministry has announced that it will reproduce the device and begin offering treatments, and reports have surfaced of Egyptians trying to offer bribes to senior military and health officials who they believe can get them the miracle cure. [BuzzfeedRead More..

Rights & Freedoms

Sixteen minors have been referred to court on charges of rioting and attending unauthorised pro-Mohamed Morsi protests. They were arrested at various demonstrations in December and January, according to defence lawyer Hussein Farouk. Their ages range from 15 to 17 years old. Four were arrested in the Azbakiya district of Cairo, 12 others in Qasr El-Nil. The trials will take place in a juvenile court. [AhramRead More..

Economy

With blackouts, energy shortages and oil debts making headlines, a new report from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) looks back at how past energy deals have contributed to Egypt’s current financial woes. According to the report, poor negotiation and corruption cost Egypt US$10 billion in lost revenue between 2005 and 2011. [Mada Masr, JadaliyyaRead More.. 

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Legal & Political Institutions

Financial donations being illegally collected under the guise of Sisi’s presidential campaign

Mada Masr: Military warns of illegal scams in Sisi’s name

In this article: “Egypt’s military spokesperson said on Wednesday that individuals in Gharbiya and Beni Suef governorates have been illegally collecting financial donations to back Sisi’s presidential campaign, which has not officially commenced.

A statement released on the spokesperson’s official Facebook page described the reports as “exploitation of the name of the Armed Forces to commit illegal acts” and threatened legal action in response.”

Investigations commence into the 8 deaths in Arab Sharkas village during military raid

Mada Masr: Prosecution begins enquiry into deaths during Qalyubiya raid

In this article: “Public prosecution began an investigation Thursday into eight deaths in Arab Sharkas village in Qalyubiya province which occurred during a raid on Wednesday, including two military officers and six civilians the Armed Forces referred to as “terrorists,” the official Middle East News Agency reported.

Prosecution collected the fingerprints of the accused deceased, as well as investigating a “secretive” weapons store inside the home where they were allegedly hiding. According to security sources, the weapons found included around three tones of explosives — homemade bombs and explosive belts. Security sources said that the “terrorist cell” was raided in a joint operation between police and military in Qalyubiya in the Nile Delta, and is thought to be affiliated with Sinai-based jihadist group Ansar Beit Al-Maqdes.

Investigations allegedly showed that the cell was planning to carry out two operations in Greater Cairo in the coming few days, including attacks on security directorates and other state institutions. The cell was reportedly involved in the Musturud drive by shooting, and the bombing of Cairo Security Directorate, among other operations.”

Security Sector

Alleged Hamas assassination plot uncovered by Egyptian forces

WND: EGYPT ACCUSES HAMAS OF ASSASSINATION PLOT

In this article: “Egyptian forces caught a Hamas cell plotting to assassinate Egyptian leaders, including the chief of the country’s military, according to an Egyptian security official speaking to WND

The claim demonstrates the continued deterioration in relations between Egypt’s secular military rulers and the Islamic radical Hamas group in neighboring Gaza. The Egyptian security official said the Hamas cell admitted upon interrogation to a plan to assassinate the army chief, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who recently indicated he will run for president in upcoming elections. The cell mentioned other secular Egyptian leaders as potential targets, the official said.”

Marginalized Groups

Cairo University students strike demanding end to violence and better security

Mada Masr: Cairo University students strike over ongoing campus violence

In this article: “Cairo University’s faculty of engineering student union commenced a strike on Thursday, demanding security and stability for the rest of the school year until investigations into the clashes and deaths of fellow students are completed, state-owned daily newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

The students held banners saying, “I have the right to learn safely,” and, “No to the injury of students inside classes.” They also demanded the immediate release of their colleague Ahmed Salah Nabih, arrested on March 4, and all students in prison, asking others to join them in the strike until they achieve their demands.”

Rights & Freedoms

Pro-Morsi supporters rallied across the country–clashes erupted, resulting in violence

Ahram: Morsi supporters organise fresh rallies across Egypt’s governorates

In this article: “Several governorates and cities across Egypt witnessed rallies of pro-Morsi supporters Wednesday as part of the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy’s call for protests marking the 19 March anniversary of the referendum on constitutional amendments in 2011.

Earlier Wednesday, a 14-year-old student was killed in clashes between pro-Morsi supporters and security forces in the city of Beni Suef in Upper Egypt. Dozens were injured as security forces moved to forcibly disperse protesters.

The clashes erupted when pro-Morsi students moved their protest from Beni Suef University campus to the streets surrounding the university.

At Mansoura University in Daqhalia governorate, the “Students Against Coup” group and pro-Morsi supporters boycotted lectures and protested on campus demanding the release of detained colleagues.

The pro-Morsi students also organised rallies to reject the death sentence given to Ibrahim Azab, a Faculty of Pharmacy student. Azab was sentenced to death in relation to a terrorist cell case in Cairo.

The students also carried banners calling for the release of detainee, including slogans “Your prison frees the country,” “We have not forgotten,” “We are students not terrorists,” and “Release the detainees.”

National Alliance to Support Legitimacy questions information in Rabea Report–President Mansour sent report to National Council for Human Rights to investigate

Mada Masr: Anti-Coup Alliance slams Rabea report in Istanbul presser

Ahram: Brotherhood alliance says 1,182 killed in Rabaa dispersal

Ahram: Egypt interim president requests investigation of police violations in Rabaa dispersal

In this article: “The Muslim Brotherhood-led National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) announced on Wednesday that it had documented 1,182 deaths in last August’s violent dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya protest camp in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. The pro-Morsi alliance announced its reported death toll at a press conference in Istanbul, Turkey, adding that another 500 were injured during the dispersal, with 350 reported missing.

Interim President Adly Mansour has sent a report of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) to the minister of justice, asking him to investigate police violations during the forcible dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in last August, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported.

Spokesperson of the presidency Ihab Badawi said Wednesday that Mansour requested that a judge be assigned to investigate in all allegations against security forces contained in the NCHR in the report.”

Two killed in clashes between police and protesters

Global Post: Two killed as Egypt police, students clash

In this article: “Two people were killed Wednesday in clashes between Egyptian police and student supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi, the health ministry said, as protests resumed on campuses nationwide.

The 13-year-old son of a Muslim Brotherhood leader was shot dead outside Beni Suef University south of Cairo, the official MENA news agency reported.

Another person was killed in Cairo, and 30 were wounded nationwide, the health ministry said.

At Cairo University, police fired tear gas at almost 2,000 protesters who threw stones and launched fireworks, an AFP correspondent said.”

Mahmoud Salem breaks down the nuances of religion in the context of the state in Egypt

Al Monitor: Freedom of religion in Egypt no better under military rule  

In this article: “While the continued use of such charges and practices has shocked the Egyptian intellectual elite and proponents of secularism and anti-Islamist beliefs, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. The Egyptian military is a religiously conservative institution that insisted upon the inclusion of the Salafist Nour Party in the July 3 ruling coalition, despite objections from a majority of June 30 participants, who view the party as worse than the Muslim Brotherhood. Their inclusion of conservative religious ideology in the ruling of a population that has become outspokenly anti-Islamist only mirrors the Muslim Brotherhood’s own insistence on defending the military-security apparatus in 2011 and 2012, when antagonism against it was at its height. Though security and religious authorities might seem to be at odds — or even at war — they view one another as indispensable partners in ruling Egypt. They come to the other’s aid when one is getting rightfully attacked by human rights-oriented citizens. In Egypt, the reign of the Islamists may be over, but the age of secularism is nowhere in sight.”

Economy

Investors are optimistic that Sisi’s presidency will promote stability, and therefore safe investment

Business Day:NEWS ANALYSIS: Egypt investors believe Sisi presidency will bring stability

In this article: “Field Marshal Sisi — whose smiling face, framed in sunglasses and capped by a beret, appears across Egypt on posters, T-shirts and even chocolates — inspires fear in his opponents that the country will soon have a military man as its president once again.

But to investors, and many Egyptians, he offers the hope of relief from three years of political turmoil that began with the Arab Spring uprising, even though he was the man who toppled Egypt’s first freely elected president, Islamist Mohamed Mursi.

“I think most investors would say it doesn’t appear all that democratic, but it’s more stable, so my investment will be safer,” said Gabriel Sterne of Exotix, a frontier market bank in London that handles investments in Egypt.”

Central Bank: country’s foreign reserves projected to grow

Reuters: Egypt central bank governor says foreign reserves to continue to rise

In this article: “Egypt’s Central Bank governor Hisham Ramez said on Wednesday he expects the country’s foreign currency reserves to continue growing despite continued political and economic turmoil.

The reserves, which plummeted after a 2011 uprising that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, have picked up since last July when Gulf Arab states extended billions of dollars to Egyptafter the army took over from elected Islamist President Mohamed Mursi.

“The reserves will continue going up,” Ramez told reporters without providing details.

Reserves rose to $17.307 billion in February from $17.105 billion in January but are still nearly half the level seen before Mubarak’s departure as political turmoil has hit tourism and foreign investment and the central bank has had to use up reserves to defend the Egyptian pound.”

Egypt’s debt could hinder economic recovery–no sign of debt decreasing

North Africa Post: Egypt : Economy and Security Are Still at Crossroads

Reuters: MIDEAST DEBT-Debt casts deepening shadow over Egypt’s economic recovery

In this article: “After Egypt’s new finance minister took office last month, one of his first acts was to downgrade the government’s assessment of its finances. Hany Kadry Dimian said this year’s budget gap would be about a third bigger than his predecessor estimated.

He was acknowledging what may become the biggest threat to Egypt’s economic recovery after years of political turmoil: a rising public debt burden. Egypt’s state finances are still getting worse, and a Reuters analysis suggests they will continue deteriorating into the second half of the decade, at the very least. In that time, the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product may rise above 100 percent, a level viewed as potentially dangerous by many economists.

In the worst case, the debt could become so large that servicing it eats up an ever-increasing share of government spending, creating a vicious circle. At a minimum, the debt could crowd out spending by the private sector, adding to Egypt’s political tensions by slowing job creation.”