Top News: Bad Weather Prevents Morsi’s Second Appearance in Court

The trial of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on charges of inciting murder of protesters was postponed on Wednesday until February 1 after officials said that bad weather prevented him being flown to court. 


Strong Egypt Party, angered by arrests, considers referendum boycott
The Strong Egypt Party has said that it is reviewing whether or not to boycott next week’s constitutional referendum. The party, which has given cautious support to the transitional authorities since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer, had announced in December that its members would vote no in the upcoming poll. Security forces have since arrested a number of members of Strong Egypt after seeing them putting up stickers and posters calling for a no vote, Al-Ahram reported. In a statement released on Monday, party spokesman Ahmed Imam condemned the arrests. The party also issued a statement on Monday condemning the “kidnapping” of a leading member in Gharbeya, Mahmoud Abdel Hamid, who went missing on Saturday. Mohamed Othman, a member of the party’s political committee, claimed that Abdel Hamid was arrested by the Egyptian Homeland Security.  [Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), DNE, 1/8/2014]

Also of Interest:
President issues decree forming fact-finding committee for “June 30 Revolution” | AMAY (Arabic)
Freedom and Justice Party members abandon party | Egypt Independent, Mada Masr
Funds of seventy-eight Brotherhood members in Sharqiya frozen | Shorouk (Arabic)


Bad weather prevents Morsi’s second appearance in court; Supporters clash with police
The trial of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on charges of inciting murder of protesters was postponed on Wednesday until February 1 after officials said that bad weather prevented him being flown to court. Alexandria Security Chief Nasser al-Abd told state TV that the helicopter set to transfer Morsi for the session, where former presidential candidate Selim al-Awa was selected to defend him, could not take off from the Alexandria prison due to bad weather conditions. The case against Morsi pertains to violence outside the presidential palace during unrest in late 2012 ignited by a decree that expanded his powers. Clashes erupted between Morsi’s supporters and security forces near the trial location in the eastern Cairo district of Nasr City, Al-Ahram‘s Arabic news website reported. Morsi supporters set ablaze five vehicles, including a police truck, in front of al-Salam Mosque on the outskirts of Nasr City. Security was tightened around the mosque where police made some arrests while chasing away protesters who hurled stones and empty bottles at them. Around 2,000 supporters were set to march to the Police Academy where the trial was to be held, before security forces retaliated with tear gas to disperse the crowd. Prior to the trial, security forces closed off Tahrir Square following calls by the Muslim Brotherhood to stage a sit-in. Meanwhile, hundreds of Morsi’s supporters formed a human chain in Kafr al-Sheikh, calling for the former president’s reinstatement.  [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, SIS, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 1/8/2014]

Poll shows most Egyptians will vote yes to constitution, but yet to read it
Over half of Egyptians have not read the newly amended constitution, according to a new opinion poll – although the charter will be put to national referendum next week. 59 percent of the respondents to a poll in late December by private polling organization Baseera said they had not read the new charter, while 36 percent said they had read “parts” of it. 76 percent of those polled plan to take part in the upcoming referendum, scheduled for January 14-15 down from 84 percent in a Baseera poll last October. Some 74 percent of those who said they planned to cast their ballots will vote in favour of the national charter, 3 percent will vote against it, while 23 percent said they were undecided, the report revealed. Meanwhile, a spokesperson at the Ministry of Social Solidarity has stated that forty national and seven international NGOs will take part in monitoring the upcoming constitutional referendum. Egyptians who live abroad have already started to cast their votes, where polling stations will be open for five days. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, SIS, EGYNews (Arabic), 1/8/2014]

Also of interest:
Brotherhood-linked cleric ‘forbids’ voting in Egypt referendum | AFP/Ahram Online, AP
Verdict in flag-burning and monument vandalism trial postponed to January 22 | Shorouk (Arabic)
Appeal hearing of prominent activists rescheduled for Thursday | DNE, Ahram Online
Brotherhood legal team presents ‘overwhelming evidence’ to the ICC | DNE
Abu Islam’s appeal on bible-burning verdict postponed to February 5  | AMAY (Arabic)


New Egyptian constitution raises spending on health, education and science
The new constitution will increase the country’s spending rates as percentages of GDP for health, education and scientific research, according to Egypt’s 50-Member Committee Head Amr Moussa. “Article 238 obliges the state to reach international spending rates by a specific time,” Moussa said. He reiterated that the proposed in the amendments increase the spending rates to 3 percent for health, 4 percent for education and 1 percent for scientific research. According to Moussa, “This is the first time this has been stipulated in an Egyptian Constitution.” [DNE, 1/7/2014]

Also of interest:
HSBC report says Egypt may see economic progress in 2014 | Egypt Independent
Central Bank maintains capital controls | Mada Masr
Egypt has repaid $700 million to Paris Club: CBE | DNE


Egypt doctors stage second partial strike
Egypt’s doctors, pharmacists, dentists and veterinarians started on Wednesday their second partial strike in Cairo and several governorates, demanding improved financial and work conditions. They are also calling for better protection of patients and doctors from the spread of infections. They had commenced the new year with a first partial strike on 1 January. In Cairo hospitals, 75 percent of doctors and 85 percent of pharmacists are participating in the strike. The health minister has put an emergency plan in place in order to continue providing services despite the strike. These strikes have been met with incidents of violence with security forces forcefully breaking up a strike in the Manshayet el Bakry Hospital in Cairo, and managers breaking doors of pharmacies participating in the strikes. [Ahram Online, SIS, EGYNews (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 1/8/2014]

Also of interest:
Dar al-Iftaa underlines murder of public, political, military figures ’major sin’ | SIS, EGYNews (Arabic)
Fuel leak determined cause of Luxor balloon crash | DNE, Egypt Independent, Reuters
Explosion at Daqahliya power plant kills worker | Ahram Online
Clashes erupt between security forces and Assiut University students | Shorouk (Arabic)
Al-Azhar Brotherhood supporters set fire to a police car at Al-Azhar University | AMAY (Arabic)


Four trade union leaders abducted Tuesday in southern Sinai
Four trade union leaders were abducted Tuesday en route to a conference to support the revised constitution in Sharm el-Sheikh. They were taken hostage in Oyoun Moussa. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has taken responsibility for their abductions, but that has yet to be confirmed. The personal belongings of the victims were found, but detectives continue to search for the union leaders. [Ahram Online, 1/8/2014]

Bomb thrown in drive-by attack on Cairo police 
A police traffic precinct in Egypt’s Giza governorate was hit by a bomb thrown by unknown assailants on Tuesday night. The drive-by attack, which took place in the bustling Mohandiseen district, caused a parked car to explode. The assailants fired a hand grenade at the precinct and opened fire using automatic weapons, stripping off the building’s facade. One person was wounded in the attack. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 1/8/2014]

Army detains minor for allegedly spying on patrols in North Sinai
Egypt’s military detained a 12-year old boy for allegedly monitoring police and army patrols in Sheikh Zuweid in North Sinai, army spokesperson Ahmed Ali said. The boy, Ayyoub Moussa Ayad, was monitoring patrols and was found to have attempted to detonate “a bomb with a remote control,” the spokesperson said in the statement. Ali added that extremist groups have recently started recruiting underage children to monitor the movements of security patrols, which he said was an act of child abuse. [ Egypt Independent, AMAY (Arabic), 1/8/2014]

Also of interest:


UN Secretary-General meets with Egyptian rights organization
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Bahey Eldin Hassan, co-founder and director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, on Wednesday at the UN Headquarters in New York. During their meeting, the two discussed the current political and human rights situation in Egypt, over which Western governments have already voiced concern. Among the concerns are the jailing of activists, peaceful demonstrators and suspension of NGOs in Egypt, along with the declaration of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group. US State Department Spokesperson Marie Harff said during a press conference on December 30 that the United States is “deeply concerned about all of the politically motivated arrests, detentions and charges in Egypt.” [Egypt Independent, 1/8/2014]

Also of interest:
Aviation Minister: No intention to implement air transport agreement with Iran now | Shorouk (Arabic)
Sudan mulls response over Egyptian remarks saying Halayeb, Shalateen are Egyptian | Egypt Independent

Image: Photo: Egypt Presidency