Weekly Roundup – Feb 28, 2014

02/28/2014 . By TIMEP

TOP STORIES

Legal & Political Institutions

Egypt’s interim prime minister announced Monday the resignation of his Cabinet, a surprise move that could be designed in part to pave the way for the nation’s military chief to leave his defense minister’s post to run for president. Hazem el-Beblawi’s military-backed government was sworn in on July 16, less than two weeks after Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the defense minister, ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi after a year in office. Its ministers will remain in their posts in a caretaker capacity until the president picks a prime minister to form a new Cabinet. [AhramMada Masr, [AR] Al Masry Al Youm , Al JazeeraAP,NYTReutersUSA TodayBBCEuronewsYoutube-video, Foreign Policy,Washington PostDaily News EgyptGlobal Post]

Egypt’s military claims its engineers have made an “unprecedented” scientific breakthrough by developing a device that can detect AIDs and hepatitis C infections without the need to take blood samples. [Egypt Independent]

Egypt’s interim president reshuffled the country’s top military council on Thursday and installed the nation’s military chief as its leader for the first time, part of a series of decrees that experts say gives the military more independence as its current leader is widely expected to run for president. Adly Mansour’s decree is part of series of declarations related to rearranging the country’s sprawling security and military establishment nearly two months before presidential elections. The decrees come amidst Prime Minister delegate’s cabinet appointments. [Gulf NewsNews24XinhuanetDaily Star lebanonAhramMada Masr]

Gender & Sexuality

Executive director of UN Women, John Hendra, states: “We’ve seen a rollback of women’s rights in Arab Spring countries like Egypt, where women have been at the heart of the civil society movement pressing for the rights of all Egyptians from the beginning of the transition process.” [National Geographic]

Women are the main breadwinners in as many as 30 percent of Egyptian households, a role frowned on by conservative Egyptian society but increasingly important in a country plunged into dire economic straits by the turbulent politics of the post-Mubarak era. Many of them are poor, illiterate and lacking experience of formal employment, and are forced into menial work in the informal economy, doing poorly paid jobs with no insurance or pension and involving exposure to the public gaze that attracts the disapproval of neighbours. [Egyptian Streets]

Security Sector

The Court for Urgent Matters has upheld the designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. The interim government declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group in December but the decision had not been approved of by a court until now. [Ahram]

An Egyptian court convicted 26 people Wednesday of forming a terrorist group to launch an attack on the country’s vital Suez Canal waterway, with almost all receiving death sentences in absentia. [Washington PostFrance 24Jeune Afrique-fr, AhramAl JazeeraAPAswat Masriya]

Marginalized Groups

Egypt expects a speedy investigation from Libyan authorities after seven Egyptian Christians were found shot dead on a beach in eastern in eastern Libya, a foreign ministry spokesman said Monday. [AhramAl Arabiya]

Striking doctors, pharmacists and dentists syndicates threatened Wednesday the upcoming government with escalation if their demands were not met by 8 March. Wednesday witnessed the first joint action effort between the three health worker sectors by going on partial strike at the same time, which they deem “the first step towards escalation.” [Ahram]

This week, a transportation strike led the military to man public buses to preventCairo from grinding to a standstill. Khaki-clad soldiers were drafted in to drive the white vehicles, in what the army’s spokesman described as an attempt to “decrease the suffering of the citizens.” [CS MonitorThe Guardian]

Rights & Freedoms

A Cairo misdemeanour court sentenced in absentia on Tuesday three Strong Egypt Party members to three years in prison and an LE500 fine for hanging posters calling for a ‘No’ vote on the now-passed 2012 amended constitution. Charged with disturbing public peace and distributing flyers, the party members were arrested early January while handing out leaflets calling for a ‘No’ vote ahead of the constitution referendum held on 14-15 January. [AhramShorouk News-ar]

Egypt’s armed forces must end the military trial of two journalists, release them immediately and unconditionally, and drop all charges against them, Amnesty International said. [Amnesty]

Al Jazeera has called for protests outside Egyptian embassies across the world on Thursday to demand the release of four of its journalists detained in Egypt, some of whom are accused of terror-related charges. [City NewsMada Masr,AhramAl Jazeera AmericaColumbia School of Journalism]

Economy

Egypt, the world’s top wheat importer, has sacked the head of its silos and storage holding company and referred an official at the main wheat importing body to prosecutors on suspicion of corruption. Supplies Minister Mohamed Abu Shadi referred the head of the central import administration at the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) to prosecutors for suspected corrupt dealings with traders. [AawsatChicago Tribune]

In order to cut down on Egypt’s increasingly congested bread lines, the development ministry plans to introduce a ‘smart card’ to try to manage the corrupt and wasteful bread supply chain that has been untouchable for decades. [Reuters]

Foreign Relations

US Chargé d’Affaires in Egypt Marc Sievers said on that there is no US plot against Egypt, stressing that the US administration and the Congress appreciate Egypt’s regional and international role. [Egypt SIS]

Germany’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it strongly advised against travel to all regions of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Previously the ministry had made a warning against travel in the north of the Sinai peninsula and the Egyptian-Israeli border area as well as the resort of Taba. [Ahram]