Censors have forced a regime-friendly Egyptian newspaper to rewrite its front page after it claimed on Wednesday key state institutions owe billions of Egyptian pounds in taxes. Al-Watan tried to publish documents that alleged the Egyptian presidency, army, police, and intelligence agencies had collectively avoided tax worth 7.9 billion Egyptian pounds. 


Transitional justice minister examines three options to restructure districts
Transitional Justice Minister and head of the Electoral Law Amendments Committee Ibrahim al-Heneidy said that his committee is examining three options to divide electoral districts for the individual system to make representation more proportional. Options include increasing the number of total parliamentary members or enlarging some districts without increasing the number of representatives. The committee has been divided into three subcommittees; each assigned to draft a specific option in a bid to achieve fair representation. Al-Heneidy said that the amendments will only affect the individual list system, not the party lists, adding that the committee is discussing the elimination of Nubia and new urban communities as additional districts. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 3/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt takes leading role in fight on terrorism | SIS


Mubarak sons attend first trial session since release
Gamal and Alaa Mubarak, sons of former president Hosni Mubarak, on Thursday attended their first trial session since being released from prison in January. The trial, in which they face accusations of manipulating the stock market, was adjourned by acting judge Hassan Abu Raya to April 16. Judge Abdel Aziz Abu Ayana, Head of the Giza Criminal Court was not able attend the court session on Thursday due to health reasons. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 3/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Trial of seventy-three over torching Kerdasa church adjourned to March 18 | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Defendants jailed for notorious dog killing incident appeal their sentences | Aswat Masriya


Egypt gears up for Economic Development Conference as attendance levels signal investment interest
As Egypt gears up for the Economic Development Conference (EDC) due to start Friday, attendance figures from around the world are set to exceed expectations, signalling interest in the country’s investment opportunities. A total of 112 countries will be represented in the conference in Sharm al-Sheikh, of which thirty heads of state are expected. Some 2,000 delegates, including state officials and executives of multinational companies and economists, have registered to attend. High-level delegations from the Gulf began arriving in Sharm al-Sheikh for the conference on Thursday. Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Muqrin bin Abdel-Aziz, Emirati Foreign Minister Abdullah al-Nahyyan, Kuwait’s Emir Sabah al-Jaber al-Sabah and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa are heading their respective country’s delegation, according to official sources. Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab also arrived in Sharm al-Sheikh on Wednesday, with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arriving on Thursday. Speaking to the press before her departure for the conference, IMF chief Christine Lagardesaid Egypt is on the right track after the government set a plan to meet the country’s economic needs. EDC coordinator, First Assistant Investment Minister Yasser al-Naggarsaid the conference drives home a message to the world about Egypt’s safety and stability.  The pro-Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, however, said in a statement that going forward with the conference is “an attempt to beautify and falsify the reality,” adding that the country is on the verge of going “bankrupt.” [Ahram Online, AFP, 3/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Tobacco firms expect sales spike during Egyptian election campaign | Ahram Online
  • Minister predicts $32 billion financing gap in Egypt by 2020 | Egypt Independent
  • Protest, investment, and BP: Egypt is open for business but not for accountability | DNE
  • Egypt’s investments threatened by security situation, say security experts | DNE
  • European ports set to lose LNG supply to Egypt this summer | Reuters
  • E-commerce to reach $6 billion by 2017 in Egypt | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s dollar shortage squeezes private wheat importers | Reuters
  • Egypt’s trade deficit rises to 21.88 billion pounds in December 2014 | Aswat Masriya
  • Orascom Construction launches dual listing on EGX, Nasdaq Dubai | Mada Masr
  • Egypt’s workers fear repeat of past woes in investment drive |AP
  • Egypt Economy: Finally on the right track? |DNE
  • Petroleum ministry pumps 43,000 tonnes of diesel oil to overcome fuel shortage | Aswat Masriya


Egyptian newspaper censored over report state institutions fail to pay tax
Censors have forced a regime-friendly Egyptian newspaper to rewrite its front page after it claimed on Wednesday key state institutions owe billions of Egyptian pounds in taxes. Al-Watan tried to publish documents that alleged the Egyptian presidency, army, police, and intelligence agencies had collectively avoided tax worth 7.9 billion Egyptian pounds. After censors pulled the piece, al-Watan’s editors replaced it with an article about Egypt’s upcoming Economic Development Conference. According to sources inside the newspaper, the first edition was confiscated while it was being printed at Ahram Print Press. HRDO Center, an Egypt-based NGO advocating media freedom and human rights said the measure violates Egypt’s constitution and called on authorities to investigate the newspaper’s claims and to hold the alleged tax evaders accountable. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, The Guardian, 3/11/2015]

Nadeem Center reports eighty-two torture cases in February
The Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence released its February report, recording at least eighty-two cases of torture and ill-treatment of detainees throughout the month across Egypt’s governorates. The report states that ten torture cases occurred on just the first day of the month. In Mansoura, four minors were arrested and brutally tortured, coercing them to plead guilty to a bombing. Other incidents were recorded in Rod al-Farag, Kafr al-Dawar, Minya, as well as testimony given from inside Tora Prison. Meanwhile, violations and “severe infringements” on the rights of prisoners at the Borg al-Arab prison in Alexandria have increased over the past week under the supervision of a National Security officer, according to the Freedom for the Brave movement. The prison “is highly inflamed” and has undergone a tightening of security measures by the ministry of interior after the execution of Mahmoud Ramadan, according to the initiative. [Egypt Independent, DNE, 3/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • NCCM: Children most abused on street, at schools in February | Egypt Independent
  • Sharm al-Sheikh: Back in the spotlight | Ahram Online
  • Suez Cement Company workers resume strike | Egypt Independent
  • Fate of impoverished uncertain under Egypt’s neo-liberal aspirations | DNE
  • Pope repudiates controversial monastery after priests, police standoff | Egypt Independent
  • Child killed in building collapse in Cairo’s Abbassiya | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Negligence killed GUC’s Yara Tarek: Students | DNE


Explosions hit Mansoura, Sharqeya, and Luxor

On Wednesday, three policemen were injured in a minor bombing in Mansoura, north of Cairo. Unknown assailants placed a bomb under a police vehicle targeting a nearby police station. Unknown assailants in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura placed a bomb under a police vehicle targeting a police station in the vicinity. The vehicle and another private car were damaged and shop fronts smashed in the blast, provincial security chief Said Shalaby said. Another improvised bomb was found meters away from the blast and later defused. In Cairo, a senior security official said a crude bomb near the cabinet building in downtown was also defused. Meanwhile, four electricity pylons collapsed following several blasts in Sharqiya governorate, north east of Cairo on Thursday. No casualties were reported, but power outages hit some areas supplied by these units. Two people were also injured by an improvised explosive device near the court complex in Luxor on Thursday. [Ahram Online, 3/12/2015]

Egypt arrests seventy-five, including ‘Revolutionary Punishment’ social media manager

The ministry of interior said in a statement Thursday on its Facebook page that it arrested seventy-five suspects, including forty-three wanted in violence-related cases. According to the statement, the ministry conducted “several lawful preemptive security strikes” on March 11, targeting mid-ranking leaders of the banned Muslim Brotherhood and loyalist groups. The interior ministry also said it arrested Abd al-Rahman al-Zelbany from his home in Alexandria. The ministry alleges that al-Zelbany manages the “Revolutionary Punishment” (Al-‘iqab Al-Thawri) pages on Facebook and Twitter. The social media accounts recently garnered attention after publishing photos of bomb attacks against police and government sites and personnel nationwide, either praising the attacks, or claiming responsibility. The ministry said al-Zelbany admitted that he manages these pages. It also said he allegedly co-administers ten other pages that “incite violence against state institutions,” in addition to belonging to thirty similar Facebook groups. Police are currently questioning al-Zelbany. [Ahram Online, 3/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Security sources say eleven suspected militants killed in aerial raids in Sinai | Aswat Masriya
  • Interior minister says “Islamic State” dangers multiplied after Ansar’s pledge to group | Aswat Masriya
  • Explosive messages: Egyptian economy becomes new target of terrorism | Ahram Online
  • Interior minister arrives in Sharm al-Sheikh to monitor conference security preparations | EGYNews (Arabic)


Le Figaro reports Egypt to receive three Rafale jets in summer
The French daily newspaper Le Figaro reported that Egypt will receive the first three Rafale jet fighters from France this summer. The Rafale deal with Egypt entered into force after the company received the first check at the beginning of this week, said ÉricTrappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of the Rafale jets, during a speech about the company’s achievements in 2014, as reported by Le Figaro website on Wednesday. Trappier mentioned that the three jets will take part in the inauguration of the Suez Canal project on August 5. In total, the company will dispatch twenty-four Rafale jets to Cairo; one plane per month in accordance with the agreement concluded between the two countries. [Egypt Independent, 3/12/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Russia allocates eighty-eight scholarships to Egyptian students | Egypt Independent
  • Al-Azhar condemns Shiite militia ’crimes’ in Iraq | SIS