Top News: Arab Summit Agrees on Unified Military Force for Crises

Arab leaders at a summit in Egypt have agreed to the formation of a unified military force to counter growing security threats from Yemen to Libya, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on Sunday.


Government allocates free lands for public authorities
The Egyptian government resumed its decision to allocate new state-owned lands for free to a number of public authorities to establish buildings that offer services to citizens. This is part of governmental efforts to implement development plans and provide citizens with services, according to Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. The governorates to be included in the plan are North Sinai, Qena, Sharqeya, and Minya. Last week, the government allocated large areas of land that were distributed in several governorates, including South Sinai, Sohag, Beheira, and North Sinai, to establish buildings offering public services and benefit citizens. [DNE, 3/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • ‘Egypt has entered water poverty era’ says Irrigation Minister | Ahram Online
  • Civil services law expected to displace workers say Revolutionary Socialists | DNE
  • Socialist Popular Alliance Party rejects war on Yemen | DNE


Egypt puts top Brotherhood members on ‘terrorist list’
Egyptian Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat ordered on Sunday the listing of eighteen prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders as “terrorists,” including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, his deputy Khairat al-Shater, ex-supreme guide Mahdi Akef, former parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni, Essam al-Erian, Mahmoud Ezzat, Osama Yassin and Rashad Bayoumi. The move is the first implementation of the Terrorist Entities Law issued on February 24, which states that any person described as a “terrorist” in a court order will be added to a “terrorist list.” The top prosecutor said the decision is based on a final court verdict issued against the eighteen individuals for deadly violence that took place outside the Brotherhood’s headquarters in 2013. An individual whose name ends up on a terrorist list is put on a travel ban list, and if the individual is a foreigner, they are put on an entry ban list. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, AP, Reuters, 3/29/2015]

Appeal accepted in Mubarak’s ‘Trial of the Century’
The Court of Cassation’s Prosecution demanded Saturday the reopening of murder charges against former President Hosni Mubarak over the January 25 Revolution events. The court is scheduled to look into the case on April 2. The Criminal Court had previously dismissed the case against Mubarak, and acquitted former Minister of Interior Habib al-Adly, along with six of his aides on charges of killing protesters. The charges against Mubarak were dismissed on the grounds that he was referred by the general prosecution to court sixty days after Adly and other security chiefs, making the case invalid. However, the Court of Cassation argued that the general prosecution has the right to refer defendants at any time, adding that the late referral was due to the unstable security situation in Egypt. The prosecution also added that the court ruling on Mubarak’s acquittal is illegal because the Criminal Court listened to the testimonies of only some witnesses and not others. [DNE, 3/29/2015]

Policemen accused of ‘torturing’ lawyer to death released on bail
An Egyptian court Saturday ordered a release on EGP10,000 bail for two security officers who are facing charges of torturing a civilian to death. The prosecution appealed the court’s decision. The two officers who belong to National Security Apparatus allegedly tortured to death a lawyer, Karim Hamdy, while interrogating him in a police station in Cairo’s Mattariya district. An official trial for the defendants is yet to take place. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 3/28/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Over fifty defense lawyers now involved in Sabbagh killing case | DNE
  • Fifty-eight entities, forty-four human rights defenders in solidarity with seventeen Sabbagh case defendants | DNE, Egypt Independent
  • The Sabbagh killing case, as it happened | DNE
  • Jail sentences reduced in infamous dog killing case | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt interviews female judges for positions in different courts| Ahram Online
  • Comedian gets two months for assaulting oil station worker | Egypt Independent
  • Three policemen arrested for attacking armed forces officer | Egypt Independent
  • Beltagy’s wife, son sentenced to six  months in prison | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt court sends to prison four charged with espionage | Aswat Masriya


Egypt spends 30 percent less on fuel subsidies in first half of fiscal year
Egypt’s fuel subsidy bill for the first half of the current fiscal year fell to $5.9 billion from $8.4 billion a year earlier. The figures are for the six months to December 31, 2014, as Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Egypt cut fuel subsidies last summer, raising prices of gasoline, diesel, and natural gas by as much as 78 percent. The government allocated $14 billion for oil subsidies in the state budget for the current fiscal year 2014/2015. [Reuters, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 3/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s market up amid modest turnover, foreign selling | Ahram Online
  • CBE bans exchange of US$100 bills to counter smuggling | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s CIB Bank to issue dividend of EGP 1.2 per share | Reuters
  • Egypt’s Sidi Kerir to pay dividend of EGP 1.65 per share | Reuters
  • Egypt, Arab League trade defies political instability | DNE
  • Egypt’s farmland offers minimal incentives to Arab investors | DNE
  • Government predicts decline in Suez Canal’s GDP share | Egypt Independent
  • Negotiations with South Africa to invest in automotive industry | Egypt Independent
  • Trade exchange largely affected after Arab Spring | DNE


Group decries press freedom restrictions on anniversary of reporter’s killing
The Committee to Defend Press Independence has criticized the condition of journalism in Egypt, while marking the first anniversary of the death of al-Dostour journalist Mayada Ashraf. A statement issued by the Committee described the conditions in which journalists have to work as deplorable, criticizing the ongoing “encroachment upon their financial, moral, and even physical rights without any intervention by concerned state authorities.” On Monday, a delegation from the Journalists’ Syndicate, headed by the newly-elected chairman Yahia Qalash and board members, visited the family of Ashraf. [Egypt Independent, 3/29/2015]

Minya church commemorating beheaded Egyptians attacked
Scores of mostly young Muslims gathered in the Minya governorate after midday prayer on Friday, demonstrating in front of a church under construction. Later on Friday, a small number of anonymous militants attacked the church with Molotov cocktails. In the attack, seven people were injured, and one car was left burning. The building of the church, established to commemorate twenty Coptic Christians beheaded by the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) in Libya, was agreed to by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. After the attack on the church, Minya’s governor conducted a meeting on Saturday with Coptic and Muslim residents to solve the issue. An initial agreement was reached to change the church’s position from the village’s entrance, according to EIPR’s Ishak Ibrahim. Seven defendants were arrested following clashes between Muslims and Copts over the construction of the church. [DNE, 3/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Detained photojournalist exposes Abou Zaabal prison’s alleged torture practices | DNE
  • Protesters block Corniche protesting raid on Wekalet al-Balah stores | Egypt Independent
  • Salah Soltan reportedly missing | DNE
  • Egyptian Islamists’ views differ on Yemeni conflict | DNE
  • Transport Ministry to develop Alexandria tram for 300 million euros | Egypt Independent
  • Minister says clubs to go bankrupt if premier league is suspended | Egypt Independent
  • Child killed by electric cable during government dredging works | Egypt Independent
  • Baltim farmers protest contaminated irrigation water| Egypt Independent
  • Negotiations with Suez Cement workers fail | Egypt Independent
  • Wahid Hamed says Salafis more threatening to Egypt than Brotherhood | Egypt Independent
  • Student blinded when teacher beat him with stick, another pokes his teacher’s eye | Egypt Independent
  • Agency threatens legal action for environmental violations in Alexandria | Mada Masr
  • EgyptAir employee dies at Cairo airport | Mada Masr
  • War in Yemen impacts LPG shipments to Egypt | Egypt Independent


Improvised bomb injures eight near Cairo University metro station
Four policemen and four civilians were injured in an explosion Saturday at the metro station near Cairo University located in Giza. Islamist militant group Ajnad Misr has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to a statement on a Twitter account affiliated with the group. The group also claimed it had killed four policemen in the blast. However, the Health Ministry announced eight injuries without deaths. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 3/28/2015]

Nine suspected militants killed, twenty-one others arrested in North Sinai
A security campaign carried out in North Sinai cities of Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid, and the area south of al-Arish city on Saturday left three suspected militants dead. Security sources said twenty-one suspects were arrested in the campaign and are being examined to see if they were involved in “terrorist acts,” including suspects in road bombings and security personnel’s assassination. On Monday, an additional six suspected militants were killed in clashes with security forces south of Sheikh Zuweid. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, 3/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • 2.8 kilometer-long tunnel discovered in Sinai border area says military spokesman | Aswat Masriya


Arab summit agrees on unified military force for crises
Arab leaders at a summit in Egypt have agreed to the formation of a unified military force to counter growing security threats from Yemen to Libya, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced on Sunday. The unified force will be supervised by the chiefs of staffs of Arab armed forces, and the composition and mode of intervention of the joint force will be agreed upon within four months. The final declaration of the summit came with a conciliatory tone, stating that joining the forces would not be considered binding. During the summit, Arab leaders also sought to tackle the most important regional issues of the moment, including the Saudi-led coalition’s efforts in Yemen, the threat of extremist groups, the Palestinian cause, and unrest in Iraq, Libya, and Syria. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Saturday that the Arab League Summit sends a message to the international community, and specifically the United States, “that the Arab world has the desire to show solidarity, and its ability to take responsibility in the face of challenges in the region through Arab solutions.” Ahead of the opening of the summit, a meeting was held between Sisi and Qatar’s Emir Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, where both leaders discussed bilateral relations and where Tamim vowed to support “his brother President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s country” in all sectors. [Reuters, Aswat Masriya, The Guardian, Mada Masr, Ahram Online, 3/29/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Ambassador of Egypt’s response to the New York Times’ editorial | Egypt Embassy
  • Absent leaders at the Arab summit: What were their reasons? | Egypt Independent
  • Iran at the heart of Egypt’s Arab Summit | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Sisi to meet with German parliamentary leader Monday | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Sisi, Ban Ki-moon discuss Israel and Libya | DNE
  • 212 Egyptians return from Libya over twenty-four hours | SIS
  • Egypt Prime Minister heads to Ethiopia for COMESA summit | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Egypt Prime Minister to give speech at Addis Ababa’s COMESA summit | Ahram Online, MENA
  • Libyan armed forces free three Egyptians in Benghazi | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • A review on Arab Tourism in Egypt through 2014 | DNE
  • Tourism Minister decreases number of tourism offices abroad | Egypt Independent
  • Manpower Minister says at least 6,000 Egyptians working in Yemen | Aswat Masriya
  • Renaissance Dam meeting postponed upon Addis Ababa’s request | Egypt Independent
  • Magazine: Egypt, Ethiopia Nile deal holds potential for future disputes | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia to name renaissance dam consultancy office – minister | SIS
  • Fifty-three years on, Egypt engages in another war in Yemen, but for different reasons | Egypt Independent
  • Egyptian Ambassador attends international Tunisia Bardo demonstration | DNE, SIS
  • Egypt’s role crucial in protecting Arab national security says Mufti | SIS