Top News: Brotherhood blames Mubarak corruption for train disaster; NSF condemns govt

Badrashin Reuters_0.jpg

Nineteen Central Security Forces conscripts were killed and 120 injured when a train carriage derailed minutes before midnight on Monday in the town of Badrashin in Giza, the transport ministry said on Tuesday morning.  


Brotherhood blames Mubarak corruption for train disaster; NSF condemns govt
Nineteen Central Security Forces conscripts were killed and 120 injured when a train carriage derailed minutes before midnight on Monday in the town of Badrashin in Giza, the transport ministry said on Tuesday morning. Saad El-Katatni, head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said recurrent train accidents were proof of the almost total collapse of infrastructure caused by corruption during the Mubarak era. However, Egypt’s opposition figures has condemned the government’s response to the accident. President Mohamed Morsi is scheduled to hold an urgent meeting on Tuesday afternoon with Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and Transportation Minister Hatem Abdel-Latif. Qandil has ordered the payment of 30,000 EGP ($4,500) in compensation to the families of those affected by the Badrashin train accident, while the prosecutor’s office in Badrashin has referred the driver of the train to police detention for four days pending investigation. Meanwhile in Alexandria, at least five activists have been arrested after demonstrations in response the train crash were forcibly dispersed by security forces. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, AP, Shorouk (Arabic), 1/15/2013]

Three Islamist and liberal parties call for Egypt’s PM dismissal
Two of Islamist political parties in Egypt, the Reform and Development Party and Al-Wasat party, have called for the dismissal of Egypt’s Prime Minister, citing poor government manageability following the deadly Badrashin train accident. The liberal Egyptian Social Democratic Party also released a statement on Tuesday offering their condolences to the families of the victims, saying they suffer from a government that "refuses to prioritise its goals, especially in subjects that involve transportation." [Ahram Online, 1/15/2013]

FJP flips position, decides to ally with Abu Ismail in elections

Despite previous announcements to the contrary, the Freedom and Justice Party has decided to join a coalition with Hazem Salah Abu Ismail’s Umma Party and Emad Abdel Ghafour’s Al-Watan Party for the upcoming parliamentary elections. An FJP source said that the party would not ally with the Jama’a al-Islamiya or the Salafi Nour Party, as they differ on the question of the representation ratio in Parliament. The party is considering fielding 30 percent of its candidates from Copts, women and youth in different constituencies, who would appear in the top half of the ballot list — or at least in the second and third rank. [Egypt Independent, 1/14/2013]

Also of Interest:

Morsi’s approval ratings rise to 63 pct: poll | Ahram Online
Salvation Front members decide to sit together in Shura Council meetings | Egypt Independent


Justice minister refuses to push for prosecutor general’s resignation
The appointment of the prosecutor general is the sole responsibility of the Supreme Judicial Council, and the Justice Ministry would not interfere in that decision, Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky said. Mekky told the Judges Club Board of Directors that he would not pressure Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah to resign, according to Abdallah Fathi, the first undersecretary of the Judges Club, in a statement made during a press conference on Monday.
Judges Club head Ahmed al-Zend said that the nation’s judges would not be able to work under this “aggression against the judiciary.” [Egypt Independent, 1/14/2013]

Two defendants referred to court for role in Assiut train-bus crash
Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdullah on Monday referred two men to court for their role in the Assiut train-bus collision that killed 49 children in November.  The defendants are the person responsible for the railway crossing barrier and the supervisor at Hawatkah station where the accident took place in the village of Manfalout in Assiut Governorate. [Ahram Online, 1/14/2013]

Court acquits former security chief, 13 others from charges of killing protesters in Beni Suef
Beni Suef Criminal Court has acquitted 14 suspects accused of killing protesters on 28 January 2011, known as the "Friday of anger." Former Beni Suef Security Chief Major General Ahmed Shawky, Central Security employee Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud and Central Security Inspection and Control Department head Mohamed Salah Othman were acquitted along with 11 other soldiers of killing protesters in the governorate during the revolution. The court also decided to refer two other suspects for investigations on charges of killing protesters. A source from the Public Prosecution has said that prosecutors will appeal the verdict. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), 1/15/2013]

Egypt court delays decision on Shura Council legality
Egypt’s highest court Tuesday postponed a decision on a lawsuit requesting the dissolution of the country’s Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament or the Shura Council, a case that has triggered a row between the country’s powerful Islamists and the judiciary. The Supreme Constitutional Court said it would refer the case to a judicial panel to review the case and see how it complies with a new constitution adopted in a contentious referendum last month. [Gulf News, El Watan (Arabic), 1/15/2013]

Also of Interest:
Interior Ministry, prosecutors investigating charges against nude protester | Egypt Independent


World Bank appoints new Egypt country director
The World Bank has appointed a new country director for Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti. Hartwig Schafer, the new director, will be based in Cairo, the bank announced in a press release on Thursday. According to the press release, Schafer, a German national, has worked for over 23 years in professional and managerial positions in the World Bank and the European Commission. [Egypt Independent, 1/15/2013]

Egypt Pound Weakens After Central Bank Sells $74 Million
Egypt’s pound weakened for the eight day this month after banks bought almost all the dollars the central bank offered at today’s foreign-currency auction. The currency depreciated 0.3 percent to 6.5827 a dollar as of 2:29 p.m. in Cairo, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The pound has dropped 6 percent to a record low since the central bank started dollar auctions Dec. 30 in which the amount each bank can buy is capped. [Bloomberg, 1/15/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt holds 10th currency auction | Ahram Online
Islamic bonds law to be approved in days, says finance minister | Egypt Independent
Egypt signs $250 mn loan deal with IDB for power station | Ahram Online


Symbolic protest outside Shura Council
The National Front for Egypt’s Women is demanding that conditions are included in the electoral law to guarantee the fair representation of women. The front includes 18 political parties and groups including, Al-Dostour Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party and the Social Popular Alliance Party. The front held a symbolic protest outside the Shura Council  and vowed to hold more protests if their demands are not met. [DNE, 1/14/2013]

Also of Interest:
Information minister discussing launch of two new state-run channels | Egypt Independent
Protests against work, living conditions sweep across nation | Egypt Independent
Hussein Salem seeks reconciliation | DNE


Israeli arrest in Egypt receives extended detention
An Israeli who was detained last December has had his detention extended by a further 15 days. The Israeli ministry of foreign affairs confirmed on Tuesday that the prisoner, Andre Pschenichnikov, is serving his second extended detention. By law, Egypt may detain a suspect for 15 days, and may also extend this in 15 day blocks for up to a total of 45 days before the prisoner must be released or charged. [DNE, 1/15/2013]


US Senator John McCain visits Egypt
US Senator John McCain has arrived in Cairo for a three-day visit to meet with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and other Egyptian officials. McCain, who arrived on Tuesday, is scheduled to hold talks with Essam Al-Haddad, the president’s assistant for foreign affairs, along with a number of opposition figures and parliament members, Egyptian state-run Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported. [Ahram Online, DNE, 1/15/2013]

Saudi court sentences Egyptian lawyer to 5 years in jail, 300 lashes
A Saudi court has sentenced Ahmed El-Gizawy, an Egyptian lawyer, to five years in jail and 300 lashes, according to Al-Ahram’s Arabic website. El-Gizawy was detained by Saudi authorities in April 2012 as he entered the kingdom to perform Umrah, a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina, for allegedly smuggling drugs into Saudi Arabia. [Ahram Online, DNE, 1/15/2013]

F-16 deal redefines US relationship with Egypt’s Morsi administration

A consignment of F-16 jet fighters to Cairo from Washington during the next few weeks has stirred up yet another hornet’s nest in Egypt’s fraught political atmosphere. In the opinion of many observers, the controversy over the deal is a thoroughly political one, as the additional fighter planes will do little to alter strategic balances of power in the region. It is unlikely that similar arms deals during the Mubarak era would have aroused such an altercation. The new factor, of course, is the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power, which has worried political circles in both capitals. The consignment signals a level of support for Egypt’s President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from which he hails, say military experts. [Ahram Online, 1/14/2013]

Also of Interest:
UK committed to Egyptian asset recovery: Minister | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online
Egypt concerned over military intervention in Mali | DNE, Ahram Online

Photo: Reuters

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