Egypt has contacted a sister company of a US-based online security firm to monitor the country’s cyber communications a few months after authorities unveiled a new campaign to keep  social networking sites under surveillance


Egypt government reneges on amending protest law
The Egyptian government has dismissed reports that a widely-criticized protest law will be amended, in remarks challenging contrary statements by the ministry of transitional justice and state-run rights body, the National Council for Human Rights. A cabinet spokesperson stated that no discussions about the law or its provisions were held during the inter-ministerial meeting on Wednesday, and ruled out such a possibility in the near future. “The law was subject to a broad national dialogue and thus it is still in place,” cabinet spokesman Hossam al-Kawish said in television comments on Thursday. [Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram (Arabic), 9/18/2014]

Draft bill to regulate political activity at Azhar University
In a continuation of measures by Egyptian universities at the start of the new academic year, the Cabinet agreed on a draft bill to organize the affairs of Al-Azhar University. The draft mandates the suspension of university staff found guilty of inciting violence, participating in campus protests, belonging to extremist organizations, or facilitating the entrance of weapons to campus. The new measures will also include university employees and students involved in these activities. The amendment to the existing regulations are an effort to target an increasing number of staff and students belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose confrontation with security forces has elevated security concerns on campus in recent months. Several other universities have implemented similar measures. [Mada Masr, Reuters, 9/18/2014]

Also of Interest:
Cabinet approves a number of important decisions | SIS
High Elections Committee begins preparation for parliamentary elections | EGYNews (Arabic)
Sisi calls for citizens to vote in parliamentary elections and youth to run | EGYNews (Arabic)


Court sentences thirty-four Brotherhood supporters to seventeen years in prison
An Egyptian criminal court sentenced on Thursday thirty-four “supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood” in absentia to seventeen years in prison on charges of violating the protest law and disrupting the constitutional referendum. The court also sentenced two others on the same charges to three years of hard labor, and fined them EGP100,000 each. The incident dates back to January 14 and 15 when dozens of supporters of the Brotherhood protested in Fayoum during the referendum on Egypt’s constitution. [Aswat Masriya, EGYNews (Arabic), 9/18/2014]

Also of Interest:
Fifteen Zamalek Ultras released from custody | DNE, Aswat Masriya
Prosecutor releases forty students charged with rioting | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
Giza court resumes the trial of 188 accused of Kerdassa massacre | EGYNews (Arabic)
Alleged ISIS supporter returning from Syria referred to prosecution | Shorouk (Arabic)
Alaa and Gamal Mubarak stock exchange trial postponed to November 13 | Shorouk (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic)
Two Morsi supporters arrested in Beheira on charges of illegal protesting | Shorouk (Arabic)


World Bank Report: Creating private sector jobs in Egypt is key to boosting economy
A new World Bank report titled ‘More Jobs, Better Jobs: A Priority for Egypt,’ provides insights into the deepening structural problems of the Egyptian labor market. The report highlights short and long term policy interventions needed to unleash the potential of the private sector to create a large and diverse set of jobs, it added. [World Bank, 9/18/2014]

Also of Interest:
Russia’s Gazprom to supply Egypt with liquefied natural gas shipments | Egypt Independent
Dubai lender Mashreq sets sights on Egypt and Turkey, says CEO | Ahram Online
Construction of $7 billion naphtha cracker to start soon in Egypt | Ahram Online
Sisi hails Egyptians’ unprecedented turnout for Suez Canal certificates | SIS, Mada Masr
Egypt to buy 65 percent of oil product imports from UAE | Reuters, IBT


Egypt’s rights lawyer Khaled Ali joins temporary hunger strike for release of ‘political detainees’
Egypt’s rights lawyer and former presidential candidate Khaled Ali announced in a press conference at the Journalists Syndicate Wednesday evening that he had joined the ongoing hunger strike to demand the release of detained activists. In addition, members of April 6 announced on Wednesday that the group would escalate its members’ hunger strike in the upcoming days until the protest law is cancelled. Zizo Abdo, a leading member of the group announced that 30 members have joined the nationwide hunger strike. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, 9/17/2014]

Egypt begins close monitoring of online communication with new technology
Egypt has contacted a sister company of a US-based online security firm to monitor the country’s cyber communications a few months after authorities unveiled a new campaign to keep  social networking sites under surveillance. See Egypt, the sister company of US-based Blue Coat, has already started monitoring Egypt’s online communications, according to BuzzFeed News which spoke with several Egyptian officials. In a statement issued on Thursday, however, the ministry of interior denied contracting a company to monitor online communications. [Ahram Online, BuzzFeed, 9/18/2014]

Also of Interest:
UN fact-finding committee to focus on human rights defenders: CIHRS | DNE
1,700 patients register to receive new hepatitis C drug | Aswat Masriya
United Group slams NGO draft law | Mada Masr
Journalists released from prison in Egypt, but others remain | CPJ
Proposed amendments to Prisons’ Law ‘disappointing’: EIPR | DNE


Sisi says maximum efforts must be exerted to counter threats
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Thursday that the maximum efforts to counter threats and challenges facing national security must be exerted, reported the state-owned news agency MENA.  Sisi’s comments came during an inspection of training activities for rapid intervention units of the armed forces in the presence of Defense Minister Sedky Sobhi and Armed Forces Chief Mahmoud Hegazy. [Aswat Masriya, SIS, 9/18/2014]


Egypt blames organized crime after migrant shipwreck deaths
Egypt on Wednesday blamed organized criminal gangs of people traffickers operating on its territory after a boat carrying 500 illegal migrants was intentionally capsized off Malta. The migrants, including up to 100 children, drowned after smugglers sank their ship when the passengers refused to change to a smaller vessel, survivors said. “There is a Mafia of smugglers that work on smuggling illegal immigrants to Italy,” interior ministry spokesman Hany Abdel Latif told AFP when asked about accusations that Egyptian smugglers were behind last week’s shipwreck, the deadliest in Europe in years. In the incident off Malta, just 10 people survived and some of them told the International Organization of Migration (IOM) that their boat had been intentionally sunk by a group of ten smugglers said to be Palestinians and Egyptians. [AFP, 9/17/2014]

Also of Interest:
Egypt, US discuss means of boosting economic ties | SIS
Shoukry to visit Washington before New York | EGYNews (Arabic)
Shoukry calls on Spanish counterpart to participate in Egypt’s conference to support economy | DNE, SIS
Brotherhood leaders stress departure from Qatar coordinated, not dismissal | Egypt Independent
Al-Azhar Sheikh receives Saudi Chief of General Intelligence | SPA
Ethiopian Ambassador to Cairo: Sisi to visit Ethiopia before end of year | Ahram Online