Tuesday 26 September 2017
(Financial Times 05/13/13)
A battle between rival religious power centres over Egypt’s institutions and the nature of its Muslim identity threatens economic and political stability in the Arab world’s most populous country. While Egypt observers have fixated on the battle between secularists and Islamists as the defining fact of political life since the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi won the presidency last year, some analysts say there is an equally intense contest between competing religious groups. Read the story at: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/39c4cb7a-b725-11e2-841e-00144feabdc0.html...
(Ahram Online 05/13/13)
Ibrahim Al-Manei, a Sinai tribal leader, decries the state's heavy-handedness against Bedouin locals, and argues that police forces will 'never' return as before to the troubled region. The security problems in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula since the January 2011 revolution have become a topic of concern for many; but the inhabitants of the region also complain about a chronic lack of development, which is contributing to the other problems. In tones of despondency, head of the Sinai Tribes Union Sheikh Ibrahim El-Manei gave Ahram Online his own account of the Bedouins' struggle at his estate in the Mahdiya region, near Egypt's eastern border. With the only paved road in North Sinai clogged with desert sands swept by adverse winds, getting to...
(Ahram Online 05/13/13)
7 days in office, Culture Minister Abdel-Aziz sacks Egypt's book organisation director Ahmed Megahed; Intellectuals resign from their posts and egg his car, decrying it as Brotherhood move to kill cultural life. Egypt’s new Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz sacked the head of the General Egyptian Book Organisation (GEBO) Ahmed Megahed on Sunday without explanation, outraging intellectuals and writers. GEBO members already resist the new minister – appointed in a presidential cabinet reshuffle on 7 May – since they consider him the Muslim Brotherhood’s Trojan horse inside the ministry. Ahmed Megahed details to Ahram Online that he went to his office on Sunday morning as usual and found the decision on his desk, so he left. "Neither the minister nor his...
(Copts United 05/13/13)
Egypt's 6 April Youth Group has joined the recently launched 'Rebel Movement' campaign, which aims to collect citizens' signatures for a petition calling for a vote of no-confidence in the administration of President Mohamed Morsi. Khaled El-Masry, 6 April spokesman, stated on Sunday that the new signature drive represented a "peaceful, forward-thinking and democratic means by which to oppose the current regime and reveal the extent of its [declining] popularity among the Egyptian public." According to organisers, the campaign is currently active in 19 out of Egypt's 27 governorates and in nine foreign countries. The signature drive brings together several ideological currents, "except those seen as remnants of the former regime," explained Eslam Hammam, head of the campaign's central committee...
( 05/13/13)
Last month cabinet members presented the new proposed state budget for legislators in the Shura Council to approve. The LE 692.4 billion 2013/14 budget sets out to raise the country’s GDP more than 1% to 3.8% versus this year’s current estimate of 2.5%. The goal over the medium term is to reach annual GDP growth of 4.4% or 4.5%. According to Finance Minister Al-Morsy Hegazy, officials have included several measures to reform energy subsidies, already being slashed in some areas, and higher taxes as the government seeks higher revenue streams in the wake of poorer than expected economic conditions following the revolution. Reforms could also been seen in public wages, health insurance and laws governing public-private partnerships. The budget allocates...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/10/13)
Africa's economic development is being held back by a "hemorrhage" of illicit financial flows, which may be getting worse, the African Development Bank said on Friday, calling for reforms to stem the losses. A draft report to be presented at the AfDB's annual meeting in Morocco later this month shows net resource outflows from Africa totaling up to $1.4 trillion over the 30-year period to 2009, far exceeding inflows to the continent. Illicit financial flows were "the main driving force" behind $1.2-1.3 trillion of the three-decade net drain, it said. This is about four times Africa's current external debt and almost equivalent to its current GDP. "The trend is continuing, it could even be increasing," AfDB Chief Economist Mthuli Ncube...
(AL Jazeera 05/08/13)
Court of cassation rejects prosecutors' appeal in trial which acquitted 24 Hosni Mubarak loyalists over symbolic attack. Egypt's court of cassation has refused an appeal by prosecutors over the "Camel Battle" trial. In October, a court acquitted 24 loyalists of deposed president Hosni Mubarak who had been accused of organising an attack in which assailants on horses and camels charged into crowds of anti-regime protesters on February 2, 2011. The 24 were found innocent on charges of manslaughter and attempted murder. The court did not immediatly release its reasoning for the appeal refusal. The mounted attack, which included whip-wielding riders, became a symbol of the revolution and led to street clashes. "The court has made this final decision on the...
(The Associated Press 05/08/13)
GENEVA -- The U.N.'s top human rights official is urging Egypt's government to make sure that a draft law on civil groups doesn't allow a security crackdown on them. Navi Pillay, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, says the draft law "risks placing civil society under the thumb of security ministries, which have a history of abusing human rights and an interest in minimizing scrutiny." She said Wednesday that a controversial constitutional referendum in December backed by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi also may give his government "excessive power over the judiciary" by letting him directly appoint the nation's highest judges. Pillay also says Egyptian prosecutors are not properly investigating serious human rights abuses such as slayings, torture, rape and...
(The Atlantic 05/08/13)
On January 25, during protests commemorating the two-year anniversary of the revolution that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, human rights organizations received 19 reports of violent sexual assault. Attackers used blades to cut victims in at least two of these attacks, including on or near their genitals.Although these attacks were unusually severe, a vast majority of Egyptian women face other forms of sexual harassment every day. A report published in April by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality shows that 99 percent of Egyptian women have experienced some form of sexual harassment. The most common manifestation of harassment came in the form of touching, with 96 percent of women saying they've experienced it. These figures have risen since 2008,...
(The Associated Press 05/07/13)
CAIRO (AP) -- Nine new Egyptian ministers took oath of office on Tuesday before President Mohammed Morsi, bringing two new members of his Muslim Brotherhood into top economic posts in a limited Cabinet shuffle officials said was aimed at the country's financial woes and securing a much-needed international loan. But despite statements from Morsi's allies that claimed he wished to reach out to the other political blocs, the shuffle is unlikely to reduce Egypt's political polarization. The opposition said they were not consulted on the appointments that they say merely further the "Brotherhoodization" of Morsi's government. The shuffle, the second since Morsi took office in June last year, includes the finance, oil, planning and investment portfolios. It does not touch...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/07/13)
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi increased the influence of his Muslim Brotherhood over government in a reshuffle that replaced two ministers involved in crucial talks with the International Monetary Fund over a $4.8 billion loan. The changes fell well short of the opposition's demand for a complete overhaul of Prime Minister Hisham Kandil's administration and the installation of a neutral cabinet to oversee parliamentary elections later this year. It looked unlikely to help build the political consensus the IMF is seeking for reforms needed to secure a loan seen as vital to easing Egypt's deep economic crisis. The government is struggling to seal a deal that will bring austerity measures. Kandil, a technocrat appointed premier last year, named nine new ministers...
(The Economist 05/03/13)
President Muhammad Morsi’s efforts to befriend Iran upset his other allies. EVEN within his ruling circle, Muhammad Morsi, Egypt’s president, has looked increasingly embattled and isolated since his slim electoral victory last June. More than half of his score of official advisers have abandoned him, along with his vice-president, his minister of justice and numerous sundry bureaucrats. On April 23rd Fuad Gadallah, his most senior legal adviser, angrily resigned, issuing a public letter that cited a lack of vision; failure to achieve revolutionary goals or to empower the Egyptian youth; failure to accommodate or even consult political opponents; and the overweening influence of Mr Morsi’s fellow Muslim Brothers in devising policy. Read the story on: http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21577117-president-...
(The New York Times 05/03/13)
CAIRO — More than two years after the Egyptian uprising, the country’s new Islamist government has struggled to confront a drop in tourism and the faltering economy. But the leadership has remained silent about another crucial indicator that has surged to a 20-year high: the country’s birthrate. In fact, officials have avoided public discussion about population and dropped the awareness campaigns of the past, in an early indication of how the Islamist leadership is approaching social policy in the most populous Arab state. Read the story on: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/03/world/middleeast/as-egypt-birthrate-ri...
(AL Jazeera 04/30/13)
Egypt has walked out of a round of global nuclear talks in protest at what it called the failure to implement a 1995 resolution for a Middle East as a zone free of nuclear weapons. A statement from Egypt's foreign ministry on Monday said the nation ended its participation in two weeks of Geneva talks out of frustration that the zone has yet to be created. The talks run through this week. "We can't wait forever for the implementation of this decision," said the ministry's statement on Monday night, explaining that Egypt's walkout was meant to send a message to the world that it can no longer accept what it considers to be a lack of seriousness on the issue...
(BBC News Africa 04/30/13)
Under the Mubarak regime, the state closely monitored all forms of political and religious expression in Egypt. Now all that has changed and millions are watching a proliferation of satellite TV channels. Shaimaa Khalil reports on the new voices in the second part of her series Egypt's Challenge. Talat Harb street is in the heart of central Cairo. It is just three minutes away from Tahrir Square where the Egyptian revolution erupted two years ago and it is where you will find one of Cairo's historic landmarks, the Cinema Radio building. Abandoned for years, the classic building has been refurbished and is the venue for the TV show of Egypt's most famous political satirist, Bassem Youssef. A heart surgeon by...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/30/13)
Economic development researchers on Monday unveiled a database of China's aid to Africa in an effort to work around Beijing's secrecy about the numbers, as a debate rages over the intentions and impact of Chinese assistance. The study and database by the Washington-based Center for Global Development and AidData, a research project, includes 1,673 Chinese development finance projects worth $75 billion in 50 African countries from the years 2000-2011. The Chinese figures, using standard measures of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and Other Official Finance (OOF), are roughly on par with U.S. aid to Africa during the same period, the Center for Global Development said. While official ODA from Western countries and some major developing countries is openly reported and easily...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/29/13)
Egypt's ruling Muslim Brotherhood is trying to exact revenge on the judiciary for years of imprisonment and political exclusion, but is attacking the wrong target, opposition leader Amr Moussa said on Monday. The elder statesman told Reuters that Egypt faced an exceptional "to-be-or-not-to-be crisis" worse than after its 1967 defeat by Israel, and Islamist President Mohamed Mursi would do better to pursue national unity rather than division. Mursi appeared to back down when he agreed with senior judges on Sunday to seek a compromise on judicial reform instead of acting on proposals by his Islamist supporters to force more than 3,000 judges into retirement. Moussa, 76, a former Arab League secretary-general and Egyptian foreign minister, said the assault on judicial...
(Reuters (Eng) 04/26/13)
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's Christians feel sidelined, ignored and neglected by Muslim Brotherhood-led authorities, who proffer assurances but have taken little or no action to protect them from violence, Coptic Pope Tawadros II said. In his first interview since emerging from seclusion after eight people were killed in sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians this month, the pope called official accounts of clashes at Cairo's Coptic cathedral on April 7 "a pack of lies". He also voiced dismay at attempts by President Mohamed Mursi's Islamist allies to purge thousands of judges appointed under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, saying the judiciary was a pillar of Egyptian society and should not be touched. "There is a sense of marginalization and rejection, which...
(AFP 04/25/13)
CAIRO: U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel urged Egypt’s Islamist-led government Wednesday to press ahead with reforms in a visit to Cairo designed to bolster America’s alliances in a region swept by upheaval. Hagel, who arrived in Cairo following a visit to Saudi Arabia, met with his Egyptian counterpart, Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi, and President Mohammad Mursi. Egypt has been a cornerstone of regional U.S. influence since its 1979 peace treaty with Israel, but Washington has contended with a more head-strong government in Cairo after the 2011 overthrow of veteran president Hosni Mubarak. In his meeting with Sissi, Hagel “expressed U.S. support for political and democratic reforms in Egypt,” a senior U.S. defense official told reporters traveling with the secretary. Hagel “encouraged...
(Los Angeles Times 04/25/13)
President Mohamed Morsi has warned of conspiracies within his government. But some say he wants to simply replace the power structure with one loyal to him. President Mohamed Morsi casts himself as a leader navigating a landscape bristling with conspiracies by corrupt businessmen and shadowy figures plotting from inside a vast bureaucracy his Islamist inner circle has been unable to tame. While protesters march, workers strike, students rally and the economy is in a scary tailspin, the president's more serious nemesis may lie behind the scenes in what is known as the "deep state." The courts, police, army and intelligence agencies were shaped over decades by the secular rule of deposed autocrat Hosni Mubarak. Many police and intelligence officials in...

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