Egypt Media Roundup – Mar 7, 2014

03/07/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

“The law regulating the presidential election is expected to be issued next week after a lengthy process of amendment.” The following step involves the “meeting of the Presidential Election Commission (PEC) – the five-member judicial body tasked with supervising presidential polls – to prepare for the process which will see Egypt elect its second president in three years.” [Ahram OnlineRead More..

Gender & Sexuality

62 international peace activists on their way to the Gaza Strip for an International Women’s Day event were denied entry by Egyptian airport authorities. It’s been reported that some activists “have been deported, while others are still at Cairo Airport, staging a protest against the Egyptian authorities.”  Security sources commented that the activists were listed as “unwanted individuals” at Cairo Airport, and that they have to enter Gaza through Israeli borders if they wish.”  [Middle East MonitorRead More..

Security Sector

Two Police vehicles were torched by unknown assilants in the district of Haram in Giza on Friday. No reports of injuries. [Ahram Online]

Marginalized Groups

Mohamed Fayez Gebril, Libya’s Ambassador to Cairo “denounced [on] Thursday the targeted attacks on the country’s Coptic Christians.” In an interview with CBC Extra, the ambassador characterized the targeting of Copts in the Middle East as “terrorists attacks” and a “new phenomenon to destabilize the Arab World.” Gebril also affirmed that those responsible in the targeting  of Copts “would be arrested in days.”  [Cairo PostRead More..

Rights & Freedoms

Hafez Abu Saeda, a member of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) stated that “40 out of 119 prisoners interviewed by NCHR members at Abu Zaabal prison said they were tortured and beaten in police stations after being arrested.” Abu Saed added “Ï cannot deny there is torture in prisons; there are complaints now before prosecutors and they are looking at the matter.” [Ahram OnlineRead More..

Economy

Speaking on Egypt’s economic situation, Field Marshall al-Sisi stated on thursday that “our economic situation is very difficult,” going on to add that “the country will not develop by talk but by hard work and insistence.” [Al Arabiya, The Daily StarRead More.. 

Foreign Relations

A deal between the French Naval Defense Company (DCNS) and Egypt’s Navy will provide Egypt with four Gowind-class corvettes from France for $1.38billion (€1 billion). DCNS won the bid which will provide Egypt the warships over Meko A200 German shipyards from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). Additionally, it is reported that Egypt purchased “nine transport aircraft Airbus Group.” [Al Arabiya, Ahram OnlineRead More..

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Legal & Political Institutions

Ahram Online: Owner of Egyptian dairy giant Juhayna given Jail term

Summary: Safwan Thabet, the chairman and owner of the Egyptian dairy company Juhayna, was sentenced to one year in absentia, “for producing products that do not meet market standards.” Speaking with Ahram Online, Thabet said “I know nothing about the verdict or the cases. I am not even in Egypt.” A bail was set at L.E. 1,000 ($144) and a fine of LE 10,000 ($1,437). Last December Thabet had a travel ban imposed on him under charges of corruption. Juhayna is the largest dairy company in Egypt, with “209 different products on supermarket shelves.”

Mada Masr: National Salvation Front figures voting for Sisi

Summary: “Two prominent members of the National Salvation Front (NSF) have announced their support for Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as the future president of Egypt.” Amr Moussa stated to the Lebanese Al-Safir newspaper that “the right choice at this stage,” is Field Marshall Sisi. Additionally, NSF member Hamdi Qandeel, also stated in a televised interview on CBC that “he would vote for Sisi in the upcoming presidential elections due to his popularity among Egyptians.”

SIS: Presidential decree mandates PM with more powers

Summary: Interim President Adly Mansour “issued a decree to assign the prime minister with some of the president’s authorities under the amended constitution.” President Mansour has given “Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb the authority to manage state-owned lands, withdraw property for public benefit and protect antiquities.”

Gender & Sexuality

Ahram Online: The brave women of Egypt: A history in pictures

Summary: In honor of International Women’s Day Ahram Online takes a look back at “how our grandmas broke the mould to pave the way for the modern lives of Egyptian women today.”

Marginalized Groups

Cairo Post: Families of MB leaders call for their unconditional release

Summary: Families of Muslim Brotherhood leaders “who have been imprisoned pending investigations, threatened to organize a number of stands and protests against the regime on Thursday.” A conference was held by the families of the imprisoned leaders at the headquarters of the Independence Party. The main request by the group is “that authorities release the MB members in police custody immediately, and without conditions, adding that they would step up the issue and request the intervention of international courts, alleging that the charges against the leaders are fabricated and that they are being abducted in prisons and deprived of their basic rights, as reported by their families.”

Rights & Freedoms

International Service for Human Rights: [Update] Silence is not an option: Civil society calls for Human Rights Council to act on Egypt

Summary: “A cross-regional group of 27 States responded to the NGO call below by delivering a joint statement to the Human Rights Council on the situation in Egypt today.” The statement expressed concern over the “restrictions on the rights to peaceful assembly, expression and association, and about the disproportionate use of lethal force by security forces against demonstrators which resulted in large numbers of deaths and injuries.” The statement also recognizes “that ‘human rights defenders and civil society as a whole have an important and legitimate role in the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law’ and ‘urges the Egyptian government to end ongoing harassment and threats against those who express dissent and release those arrested for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, of expression and of association.’”

The Conversation: Opinions are dangerous as Egypt cracks down on dissent [Op-ed]

Summary: Emad Shahin writes, “Taking advantage of the absence of an elected legislative body, the coup regime has used with full impunity draconian laws and repressive measures against journalists, academics and peaceful protesters.” Shahin calls on democratic nations to “take a strong and unequivocal stand against the behind the scenes military rule, the return of the police state and the gross human rights violations in Egypt.”

CNN: Egypt’s trial for Al Jeezra journalists adjourned till March 24

Summary: “Prosecutors presented evidence at a hearing this week for three Al Jazeera English journalists accused of terrorist activity in Egypt, but they did little to explain why everyday broadcast equipment and the defendants’ personal belongings would implicate them in any crime.” Adel Fahmy, the brother of Mohamed Fahmy stated that “what we saw in court today was ridiculous, it showed that the government has no case and these journalists are innocent.” The trial was adjourned until March 24.

HRW: UN Human Rights Council: HRW Statement on Egypt and South Sudan

Summary: In the Human Rights Watch Statement on Egypt the council stated that, “the situation has grown increasingly dire over the past eight months, as security forces continue to use excessive lethal force against protesters. Authorities arrest or harass persons solely for exercising the rights to free expression and peaceful assembly, as well as solely for membership in the Muslim Brotherhood. Arrests of peaceful protesters and journalists have not been matched by any efforts to hold accountable security officials responsible for ordering or carrying out attacks that have killed well over a thousand persons since July 3, 2013.” The Council added that “the Fact-Finding Commission appointed to investigate these incidents of mass killings does not appear to have the authority to compel officials or government bodies to provide evidence, and its terms of reference do not include the important step of making its findings and recommendations public.”

Economy

Cairo Post: EgyptAir wins prize of fastest-growing Airlines in Africa

Summary: At an annual workshop organized by Athens International Airport “to honor aviation companies that record the highest growth rates,” EgyptAir Company “won the prize for the fastest-growing airlines in Africa.”

AP: Entrepreneurship grows in Egypt’s flailing economy [Op-ed]

Summary: Maggie Hyde writes, “With youth unemployment upward of 30 percent and its economy only now back to levels seen before its 2011 uprising, Egypt’s salvation may lie in the small, informal businesses run by those scraping out a living in the Arab world’s most populous country.” A program called “The Project” “highlights entrepreneurship and small business acumen – something experts say is more crucial than ever as Egypt tries to claw its way out of tough economic times.” Hyde adds that, “outside of government-owned companies and large multinational corporations, there are thousands of small, largely informal businesses…[and] experts believe that gray economy truly powers Egypt.”

SIS: World Bank launches consultations with Egypt for new Strategy

Summary: World Bank Country Director Hartwig Schafer stated on thursday that the World Bank “launched the preparations for a new partnership strategy with Egypt, which will guide the Group’s engagement in the Country for the next five years.” “The Strategy aims at supporting Egypt’s development priorities in the new economic and political context consistent with the regional strategy of the World Bank Group in the Middle East and North Africa and the WBG overarching goal of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.”

Ahram Online: Egypt stocks end week down on profit-taking

Summary: “Egypt’s indices were down on Thursday as purchases from foreign investors failed to prop up the market against profit-taking by domestic sellers. The main EGX30 index fell 0.94 percent to close the session at 7,950 points while the broader EGX70 dropped 0.59 percent as daily turnover reached LE869 million.” A rise in the market did take place by “over 2 percent” when Field Marshall Sisi “hinted he intended to run for president.” “Egyptian investors were the only net-sellers, to the tune of LE30.6 million, driving the majority of EGX30 shares down.”

International Business Times UK: Egypt faces political crisis as severe energy issues can’t be blamed on Muslim Brotherhood

Summary: “Egypt is looking at a 7000 megawatt (MW) shortfall in electricity supply this summer,” according to Egypt’s electricity ministry. The shortage of natural gas, and the low prices of electricity which start at 5 piastres per kilowatt encourage wastage and therefore are the cause of the shortage. A meeting between the Minister of Petroleum Resources Sherif Ismail, the new Minister of Electricity and Energy Mohamed Shaker and Egyptian General Petroleum Company (EGPC) chairman Tarek el-Molla planned for March 9 is believed to produce “a plan to prevent this shortage from becoming a full blow political crisis.”

Foreign Relations

SIS: New Agreements to be signed between Egypt, China

Summary: Egypt and China are set to sign “new agreements for commercial, economic and technological cooperation between the two countries, in addition to activation of bilateral agreements” on Sunday announced the State Information Service. China’s investment will bring an expected EGP 2.1 billion which will sponsor four new projects in Egypt.

Al Monitor: Egypt seeks Saudi help on Ethiopia water dispute  

Summary: Egypt may make a “formal request for Gulf mediation under the leadership of Saudi Arabia, in order to back Cairo’s stance vis-à-vis the ongoing conflict with Ethiopia about theRenaissance Dam.” A government official stated that the “detailed report is currently being prepared to examine and explain Egyptian concerns relations to the building of the dam in the absence of a clear agreement with Ethiopia about it.” The official also added that “Egypt will ask Ethiopia, through mediation, to sign a binding agreement with Egypt stating the dam’s operational specifications, its stored water capacity, and the amount of water that will be regularly released in a manner that does not negatively affect Egypt’s share of that water.”

Foreign Policy: Troubled Waters: Egypt and Ethiopia are at loggerheads over a plan to damn the Nile [Op-ed]

Summary: Keith Johnson summarizes that, “Cairo worries that the megaproject … could choke the downstream flow of the Nile River right at a time when it expects its needs for fresh water to increase.” And, Ethiopia, sees the damn as a “key spur to maintaining Africa’s highest economic growth rate and for growth in energy-starved neighbors.” Yet Johnson finds the “spat [between the two countries] threaten[ing] to poison relations between two of Africa’s biggest countries.”