Top News: Alexandria Flash Floods Lead to Governor’s Resignation

Torrential rains lashed Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria Sunday, killing five people, including two children and the captain of a ship who was trapped in his car by floodwaters, officials said. A man and two children were electrocuted to death when a cable from a tramway fell into a street flooded with water, the health ministry said in a statement. The captain of the ship drowned as he was unable to get out of his car which filled with floodwaters. A 25-year-old man was also electrocuted after he fell into a pit full of electric cables. According to other reports, a sixth victim was killed, also the result of electrocution. In response, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered the cabinet to take control of the situation with the help of state institutions and the Armed Forces, and to provide compensation to those affected by the flooding and to the families of the victims. The Ministry of Social Solidarity has said it will give 10,000 Egyptian pounds to the families of each of those killed in the floods. Prime Minister Sherif Ismail also announced on Sunday the appropriation of 75 million Egyptian pounds ($9.7 million) to repair the ailing rain drainage system in Alexandria. Administrative Prosecutors opened an investigation to determine whether public officials in Alexandria were guilty of neglect and endangerment of residents’ welfare. Alexandria Governor Hani al-Messiri resigned over the poor response to the flooding. Nadia Abdo, an engineer who headed a drinking water company in Alexandria for twelve years, is reportedly a favorite to replace him. [Ahram Online, DNE, AFP, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 10/26/2015]


Runoffs begin abroad as Call of Egypt withdraws from elections
Egyptian embassies and consulates in 139 countries opened their doors on Monday allowing expats to cast their ballots in the runoffs of the first phase of the parliamentary elections. Domestic runoffs will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. As many as fifty independent candidates hailing from different political camps will be competing for twenty-five individual seats in the governorate of Alexandria alone. In Minya, for the first time in Egypt’s history, two Coptic candidates will be contesting a seat in the runoff election in the constituency of Mallawy. Spokesman for the High Elections Committee (HEC) Omar Marwan, meanwhile, announced the decision to suspend the runoff in four constituencies–Damanhur, al-Wasata, al-Raml, and Beni Suef. A date will be set for a revote in the constituencies. The Call of Egypt electoral list said Saturday that it will withdraw from the elections and will challenge the results of the election’s first phase in front of the Supreme Administrative Court. “The electoral process did not meet the degree of integrity desired, especially since the For the Love of Egypt list presented itself, with the help of the media, as the only national list,” a candidate on the Call of Egypt list, Amr Abdel-Hakim, said in a conference in Cairo Saturday. Members of the coalition said the withdrawal was in response to what they described as an “electoral farce.”  [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, SIS, AMAY, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 10/26/2015]

Nour Party parliamentary candidate in North Sinai shot dead
A parliamentary candidate of the Salafist Nour Party was shot dead Saturday by suspected militants while leaving his house in North Sinai’s al-Arish, security sources said. Mostafa Abdel Rahman, a pharmacist and the general secretary of the party in North Sinai, was the only candidate running for Nour Party in the governorate. Eyewitnesses told security sources that two unknown assailants riding a motorcycle opened fire at Abdel Rahman. No group has claimed responsibility for his assassination, and the party has demanded an official investigation into his killing. Following Abdel Rahman’s assassination, five parliamentary candidates, among them the head of the pharmacists syndicate in North Sinai Hossam Refai, withdrew from the elections in the governorate. Prior to the incident, the Nour Party had filed a number of complaints with the prosecution and police stations on the violations committed by a number of candidates during the first phase of elections, Assistant Secretary General Shaaban Abdel Aleem said. In a statement, Abdel Aleem said the complaints included a demand for prompt investigation into the vote count. He accused the For the Love of Egypt list of committing violations at polling stations, including using political funds, electoral bribes, and forging ballots. The Nour Party also reportedly urged preachers from the Salafi Call to lobby party supporters during runoffs. Meanwhile, Mahmoud Maatouk, a leading member of the Nour Party and candidate for the elections in Qena, announced his resignation after losing the seat. He added in his statements that he regretted joining the party. [Ahram Online, DNE, AFP, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, 10/26/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Imbaba’s missing ballot box in Egyptian parliamentary elections found | Ahram Online
  • Are parliamentary elections transparent despite violations? | DNE
  • Sisi discusses development plans with Health and Transportation ministers | DNE


Witnesses in activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh’s murder acquitted
An appeals court acquitted seventeen Socialist Popular Alliance Party members on Saturday, accused of violating the protest law and threatening national security, according to the party’s Facebook page. The seventeen defendants in the case had been acquitted and underwent a second trial following an appeal by the prosecution in May. Thirteen of the defendants attended the court session and were taken into custody before the court announced their acquittal. The seventeen individuals witnessed Shaimaa al-Sabbagh’s killing in January during a violent dispersal of a small January 25 commemoration march by the party. They came forward to testify in investigations of Sabbagh’s killing, but were later charged by the general prosecution. [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, 10/24/2015]

Egypt’s former agriculture minister referred to criminal court on corruption charges
Egypt’s former agriculture minister Salah Helal was referred on Saturday to criminal court on corruption charges along with a number of other defendants. Helal was arrested in September, on the same day he handed in his resignation as minister. According to a prosecution statement in September, Helal is accused of taking bribes from Ayman Mohamed, one of the defendants, in return for facilitating licenses for 2,500 acres of state land. The suspected bribes, which amount to 8 million Egyptian pounds, include a luxury home, membership of an exclusive sports club, clothing from high-end fashion stores, and mobile phones, the Prosecutor general said in September. The court received the files of the case Sunday, and is expected to announce the date of the first court session in the next few days. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Mada Masr, 10/25/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s prosecution orders fifteen day detention for Brotherhood businessman Hassan Malek | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Journalist and Mada founder accused of ‘harming national security,’ says lawyer | Aswat Masriya, DNE
  • Morsi’s ‘Qatar espionage’ trial postponed | DNE, Cairo Post
  • Giza court postpones retrial of killing of police officer in Kerdasa | DNE
  • Justice Ministry to establish special courts for human traffickers and smugglers | Mada Masr, DNE


Egypt plans to rent third regasification unit by early 2017
Egypt is looking to rent a third floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) late next year or early in 2017 as it works to plug acute energy shortages, EGAS head Khaled Abdel Badie said Saturday. The FSRUs allow Egypt to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) and convert it to natural gas to feed its power grid, which is often affected by blackouts. More recently, the gas shortfall has led to rationing among energy-intensive industries, sometimes halting output. Badie said the third FSRU will be used to meet the natural gas needs of industry and boost electricity generation. Egypt received its first FSRU from Norway’s Hoegh in April and its second FSRU from Singapore-based Norwegian group BW Gas in September. Petroleum Minister Tarek al-Molla said that British Petroleum will begin production at its north Alexandria concession in early 2017 rather than mid-2017. He said that output could reach 1.2 billion cubic feet per day by the end of 2019. [Reuters, 10/24/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian pound steady at dollar sale, stronger in parallel market | Ahram Online
  • Orascom Telecom, ACT Financial submit offer to acquire Beltone Financial | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Suez Canal revenue falls to $449 million in September | Reuters, Egypt Independent
  • CBE says Egyptian banks achieve profit of EGP 20.89 billion in June | DNE
  • Loan from AfDB to finance Egypt’s share in joint Egyptian-Emirati company | DNE
  • New CBE governor must balance between inflation, exchange rate, interest rates says Expert | DNE
  • Imports indicative list will increase monopoly, raise prices says Sheha | DNE
  • Sisi, Siemens CEO discuss progress in power plants implementation | Cairo Post, SIS


Prime Minister freezes new secondary school grading system after student protests
Prime Minister Sherif Ismail decided on Saturday to freeze the decision allocating 10 percent of high school thanaweya amma grades to attendance and behavior, state-owned Al-Ahram reported. The new grading policy, which would affect the scores that determine student university placement, was announced in October and was quickly met with protests by students across the country. The Education Ministry announced that a central electronic system would be put in place to receive attendance information from schools nationwide on a daily basis. Prior to the announcement, dozens of students had continued to protest Saturday in front of downtown Cairo’s Education Ministry. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 10/24/2015]

Also of Interest

  • NASA scientist lecture cancelled, university denies ‘security concerns’ | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Egyptian teacher questioned for punishing primary school student with forty lashes | Ahram Online
  • Egypt closes four seaports, two major roads due to dust storm | Ahram Online
  • Health Ministry aims to prevent dengue fever spread in Assiut | DNE
  • Borg al-Arab detainee ‘slowly dying’ amid reluctance to provide medical treatment | DNE
  • Kafr al-Dawwar joins Mahalla textile workers on fifth day of strike | Mada Masr


Counterterrorism operations in Ismailia and North Sinai
A gunfire exchange in Ismailia on Sunday left three suspected militants dead and three security personnel injured including two police officers and one soldier, according to official sources. The incident took a place on farmland in Ismailia province, north-east of the country, where members of what the Interior Ministry described as a “terrorist” group were based, the ministry said in a statement. Based on intelligence gathered by the ministry, the group was planning a “series of hostilities” during the parliamentary elections. Meanwhile, the armed forces said in a statement Sunday that a total of twenty-five militants were killed in exchanges of fire with security forces over the past two days. The army statement said they arrested fifteen suspects and dismantled thirty-nine explosive devices. [Aswat Masriya, DNE, 10/25/2015]

Four killed, thirteen injured in attacks in Giza, Sinai, Sharqeya, and Beni Suef
Among a series of attacks in Egypt over the weekend, three security personnel were killed in North Sinai and two policemen were injured by an IED in Giza. The two policemen, as well as two civilians, were injured on Friday during an attempt to defuse an explosive device in al-Remaia Square near the Pyramids in Giza. The Ministry of Interior said in a statement that the explosion occurred as a bomb squad attempted to use a water cannon to disarm the explosive device, which also caused damage to nearby buildings. The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) later claimed responsibility for the blast. In North Sinai, a low ranking police officer and two conscripts were killed and eight others wounded following the explosion of a roadside bomb targeting an armored police vehicle in city of al-Arish, a security source told state-owned MENA news agency Saturday. Elsewhere, a low-ranking police officer in Beni-Suef was shot dead on Saturday by two men on a motorcycle, and an officer in Sharqiya was wounded on Sunday by unknown assailants on his way home from work. [Ahram Online, AFP, DNE,  AMAY,  Egypt Independent,  Aswat Masriya, 10/26/2015]

Also of Interest:

  • Egyptian police conscript commits suicide after killing colleague | Ahram Online


Egypt will be at forefront of international meetings on Syria says Russia’s Foreign Minister
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told to his Egyptian counterpart, Sameh Shoukry, that Egypt will be at the forefront of international meetings over the Syrian crisis, state owned MENA news agency reported Saturday. Lavrov informed Shoukry in a phone call Saturday of the outcome of a quadrilateral meeting that took place Friday in Vienna between the foreign ministers of the United States, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Russia to discuss the Syrian crisis. Lavrov had also said Friday during the meeting that he wanted Iran and Egypt to take part in any future talks on Syria. Meanwhile, Shoukry reaffirmed the compatibility between Egyptian and Saudi visions concerning both Syria and Yemen during a visit by Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir to Cairo. Also during the visit, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called for a boost in cooperation between the two countries in overcoming regional threats and planned to begin quarterly consultations between the two countries to discuss ongoing regional issues. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 10/26/2015]

Egypt, United States celebrate resumption of joint military tank production
The United States embassy in Egypt celebrated Sunday the resumption of US-Egypt joint production of M1A1 tanks in the Egyptian Tank Plant 200, a military factory located in Helwan’s industrial zone south of Cairo. The US embassy’s statement about the event said, “The manufacturing of M1A1s in Egypt is a key part of ongoing US support for Egypt’s crucial role as a factor of security and stability in the region.” Egypt’s official Military Spokesman said in a statement that not only does this event clearly reflect the strong partnership between Egypt and the United States, it is of great importance to more than 9,000 engineers and technical workers who can now return to work at the plant. [Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post, 10/25/2015]

Also of Interest

  • UN special envoy to Libya in Cairo for two-day visit | Ahram Online
  • Number of Egyptian deaths in hajj stampede reaches 190 | Ahram Online, MENA
  • Sisi to visit UAE, Bahrain, India | AMAY
  • Egypt naval forces foil illegal immigration of 238 heading to Italy | Aswat Masriya
  • PM, British Gas chief review joint coop | SIS
  • Egypt to remain supporter of Palestinian issue says Foreign Minister | SIS
  • Halayeb Triangle dispute to be resolved cordially says Sudanese official | Cairo Post