Four separate bomb attacks took place in Greater Cairo on Friday morning, killing at least six people and injuring dozens of others, on the eve of the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.             

Egyptian blogger sentenced to three months for insulting interior ministry
An Egyptian court sentenced Ahmed Anwar, a blogger, to three months in prison on Thursday for “insulting the interior ministry” and “deliberately provoking others using the internet.” Anwar had posted a video posted to YouTube last year which mocked the Ministry of the Interior. The video, titled “The Relationship Between Marwa, the Ministry of the Interior and Deteriorating Security” focused on a ceremony held by the ministry honoring several singers and actors who had “raised policemen’s morale.” Tanta Economic Misdemeanor Court, which is responsible for crimes that deal with the internet or other communication tools, sentenced Anwar to three months in prison and a EGP 10,000 ($1,400) fine. In a joint statement, the Arab Network for Human Rights Information and Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression condemned the verdict, and accused the government of ignoring demands for security sector reform. [Ahram Online, 1/24/2014]

Local, international organizations demand Alaa Abdel Fattah’s release
In a joint statement, thirty-five Arab, international and local organizations demanded on Thursday the immediate release and fair trial of Alaa Abdel Fattah and others who were arrested under the new protest law, which requires prior authorization from the Interior Ministry before any public demonstration. The statement noted that Abdel Fattah was arrested on November 28, his wife was beaten when she asked to see his arrest warrant, he was detained blindfolded in an unknown location for one night and he was handcuffed before he was moved to Tora prison. The organizations signing the statement include Human Rights Watch, International Federation of Publishers, Bahrain Center for Human Rights, Press Institute of South Africa, Freedom House, International Initiative for the Defense of Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, Arab Network for Human Rights Information and International Federation of Journalists in Asia and the Pacific. [Egypt Independent, 1/24/2014]


Issued capital of Egyptian companies declines in 2013
The number of joint-stock companies established in Egypt increased by 9.2 percent between January and November 2013 compared with the same period a year earlier, to reach 7,666 companies, figures from the government’s Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC) show. However, the issued capital of the newly established companies fell by almost 17 percent during the same period, to EGP 9.13 billion. Bankruptcy cases increased in October according to latest figures from the justice ministry, from 65 cases in October 2012 to 93 cases in October 2013. [Ahram Online, 1/24/2014]

Egypt’s Prime Minister and IMF chief discuss cooperation
Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy held a meeting yesterday with IMF chief Christine Lagarde to discuss the latest economic developments in Egypt and mutual cooperation. Beblawy briefed Lagarde on investment policies adopted by the Egyptian government to create a favorable legislative environment for attracting more investments along with the financial procedures that are meant to address the budget deficit. Beblawy hailed as significant the role played by the IMF to support Egypt’s economic situation. An agreement was reached to enhance cooperation between Egypt and the Fund during the coming period to take advantage of the unique expertise of the Fund in the field of technical cooperation, Beblawy said during the meeting. [SIS, 1/25/2014]

Also of interest:
Egypt eases rules for companies on stock exchange | Ahram Online
Egypt’s economy in six months—Presentation by Minister of International Cooperation | PP
Egyptian stocks end the week in the green | Ahram Online


Four deaths in Brotherhood protests across several cities Friday
Clashes Friday between Brotherhood supporters and opponents erupted in several cities across Egypt. In Fayoum, two men were shot and ten others injured. Witnesses said that those injured and killed were not Brotherhood supporters. In Damietta, a school student was shot in the chest during clashes while police forces were dispersing a march supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi. In Minya, one man died of gunshot wounds.  In Beni Suef, two were killed and one more was injured due to gunshot wounds in clashes. Security forces intervened to break up the clashes between supporters and opponents of the Brotherhood. Fierce clashes also broke out between supporters of deposed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and Egyptian security forces in Cairo. The fighting took place on the road that leads to the Giza Pyramids, with about 2,000 protesters gathering. Some burned tires and hurled petrol bombs at security forces, who responded by firing tear gas. In several eastern cities, pro-Morsi demonstrators chanted against the army, the police and the constitution. In Alexandria, an officer and several citizens were injured in clashes with Morsi supporters. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Reuters, 1/24/2014]

Train service halted to stop Muslim Brotherhood protests
Sources in the Railway Authority said that security agencies asked them to stop trains coming from Assiut and Minya to the country’s capital after intelligence reports said that the Muslim Brotherhood is mobilizing members and supporters in other governorates on trains, Egypt Independent reported. The daily added that publicly, the Railway Authority has officially announced that the halt in service is due to a technical failure that may put the lives of passengers at risk. It will halt trains coming from Upper Egypt to Cairo until after the third anniversary of the 2011 revolution. [Egypt Independent, 1/24/2014]

Also of interest:
Pro-Morsi alliance condemn Beni Suef attack | Egypt Independent
April 6 Movement, Revolutionary Socialists deny coordination with Brotherhood | Egypt Independent
Egypt extends detention of Australian Al-Jazeera journalist Peter Greste | Guardian
Activists who toppled Egypt’s Mubarak see autocracy return | DNE


Cairo rocked by four bomb blasts on Friday, killing six
Four separate bomb attacks took place in Greater Cairo on Friday morning, killing at least six people and injuring dozens of others, on the eve of the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. The terrorist attack began when a large blast ripped through a police building in central Cairo, killing four and injuring seventy-six others, according to the health ministry.  The façade of the Museum of Islamic Art in central Cairo was completely destroyed in the attack. The blast of the bomb also destroyed the façade of the nearby Egyptian National Library and Archives building. The Supreme State Security Prosecution seized the surveillance cameras of the outside the Museum of Islamic Art, in addition to the cameras of other stores located near the Cairo Security Directorate, to investigate the footage. According to Al Masry al-Youm the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. Hours later in Giza, one person, a policeman according to some reports, was killed when a primitive bomb exploded after being thrown at a moving police vehicle near a metro station, deputy Giza security chief Mahmoud Farouk told state TV. At least eleven others were reportedly wounded in the attack. In a third explosion, a small bomb went off later on Friday morning at a police station in Talbiya district, also in Giza, near the pyramids. The attack did not cause any casualties, the interior ministry said. A fourth bomb went off in Haram Street near at Radobis Cinema, with reports of one death according to state TV. Egypt’s presidency condemned the blasts that rocked Cairo on Friday morning and pledged retribution for the victims of those bombings. The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL) issued a statement calling on authorities to carry out swift investigations into the bombings. Egypt’s interior minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, said the bombing will not deter policemen from their war against terrorism. Local and international groups and figures condemned the bombings, with Armed Forces spokesperson, the Nour Party, Prime Minister Hazem El-Bebalawy, the Dostour Party, the Democratic Front of the April 6 Youth Movement, Arab League head Nabil al-Araby, the US embassy in Cairo, the Salafi Front (a member of the NASL) and the Coptic Orthodox church, were also among those issuing statements. Groups of demonstrators flocked to the Cairo Security Directorate to denounce the bombing, chanting against terrorism and the Muslim Brotherhood. According to Al Masry al-Youm demonstrators “gave a mandate” to the army and police to combat terrorism, and called on Minister of Defense Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for president. Hours before the first bombing, the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes released an audio recording in which a spokesperson called on Egypt’s security forces to take their government-supplied arms and turn on their superiors, or face the consequences. The statement warned, “What is coming is going to be much worse…” The ministry of interior identified three suspects in the Giza Security Directorate bombing, releasing their names in a statement according to MENA. [Ahram Online, Ahram Gate (Arabic), DNE, Aswat Masriya, Egypt Independent,  Reuters, Mada Masr, AP, 1/24/2014]

Also of interest:
Twenty-three Sudanese, Eritreans deported for attempting to sneak into Israel, Libya | Egypt Independent


Ban Ki-moon addresses Egyptians on revolution anniversary
In a statement, Ban Ki-moon addressed Egyptians ahead of the January 25 anniversary. As Egyptians mark the third anniversary of their revolution, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon encouraged them to renew their commitment to peaceful dialogue and non-violence. He reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to support Egypt in building a future for all Egyptians with dignity, freedom, responsible governance and development that inspired the uprising of 2011. The Secretary-General said that one of the central challenges moving forward is pluralism: the guarantee that all voices are heard, represented and have a stake in the system, regardless of political or religious affiliation. Acknowledging the adoption of a new constitution, the Secretary-General underlined the crucial need to guarantee the political space on which a stable and inclusive democracy can be built. He also encouraged Egyptians to rediscover common ground. [DNE, 1/24/2014]

Israel warns Egypt to get Sinai under control, Egypt snaps back
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly denounced a statement released by Israel’s deputy defense minister Danny Danon on Thursday, in which he said that his country “expects Egypt to pay attention to the security situation on its territory,” and that “Israel will find and punish anyone who’s planning to carry out attacks against it, even if they were in the territory of another country,” reported the privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm. The ministry’s spokesperson Badr Abdel Atty issued a statement stressing that Egypt rejected these threats in form and substance, and that “Egypt will not fail to maintain its national sovereignty and national security.” [Mada Masr, 1/24/2014]

Also of interest:
Amnesty International report ‘inaccurate’: foreign ministry | DNE, Reuters, Egypt Independent
US Embassy urges Americans to stay alert for weekend of January 25 | Egypt Independent
Egypt welcomes the ceasefire in South Sudan | Shorouk (Arabic)
Fahmy meets Canadian counterpart | DNE