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August 19, 2014

 The Egyptian foreign ministry has said it is closely watching developments in the US city of Ferguson following clashes between security forces and protesters over the murder of African American teenager Mike Brown last week.

POLITICS

Sisi discusses governorates border demarcation
Three new governorates will be added to Egypt's map, as per a new border demarcation plan discussed by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Monday. Sisi held a five-hour meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, Local Development Minister Adel Labib and a group of governors to discuss the new border demarcation plan. The plan mainly involves the southern governorates of Upper Egypt, described by Sisi as "marginalized" in the past. Labib said new governorates will include one in central Sinai, one in the North Coast region of al-Alameen and a third combining the Western Sahara oases of Farafra and Bahariya. He added that the borders of the governorates of Cairo, Giza and Suez are still being demarcated, whereas northern governorates such as Gharbiya, Daqahliyah, Damietta and Kafr al-Sheikh will remain unchanged. Labib is to announce the new demarcations on Wednesday. [Aswat Masriya, SIS, 8/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Urgent legislation to come before parliament: building churches and investment laws | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Sisi issues decree upgrading State Litigation Authority | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Democratic current meets to discuss alliance and review Gaza convoy developments | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Nour party to determine electoral alliances after announcement of electoral districting laws | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


COURTS

Egyptian policeman sentenced 15 years for shooting detained man
A Cairo criminal court sentenced a police officer on Monday to 15 years in prison for fatally shooting a suspect in detention. Prosecution investigations showed that the police officer, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, had had previous altercations with the deceased man, lawyer Mohamed Khalil. The prosecution also stated that the deceased had been subject to an arrest warrant for charges of rioting and protesting without a permit. The death of Khalil, a popular figure in the working class district, prompted protests by locals. The sentence was one of the toughest against security personnel in recent years amid a series of acquittal of dozens of policemen on charges of violence against civilians and protesters. The ruling can still be appealed. [Ahram Online, DNE, 8/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Raba’a one-year anniversary sees increasing detentions |  DNE
  • Investigation launched into ten Brotherhood members for demonstrations and bomb blast in Minya | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Kafr al-Sheikh court postpones trial of 86 Brotherhood members | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Trial of Brotherhood leader postponed to August 23 | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Hisham Barakat orders release of sons of Brotherhood leaders | AMAY (Arabic)


ECONOMY

Egypt rebuts news on resuming loan talks with the IMF
Egypt’s Finance Minister Hani Kadry Dimian has denied media reports about plans to resume talks with the IMF over a loan worth $10.4 billion. The minister added, however, that Egypt intends to invite an IMF delegation before the end of 2014. The purpose of the visit would be to discuss the status of the Egyptian economy as entails the agreement between the IMF and its members, the minister noted. In a press release, the minister said the Egypt is keen on continuing ties with the fund and the World Bank, adding that the government will continue to cooperate with the fund in technical support and financing of infrastructure projects. [DNE, 8/18/2014]   

Dar Group consortium win general plan for Suez Canal project
Egypt has chosen a consortium including Dar Al-Handasah (Shair and Partners) and its Egyptian partner for its new Suez Canal mega project, Chairman of the Suez Canal Authority and head of the executive council of the Suez Canal Corridor Project Mohab Mamish announced during a conference on Tuesday. The consultancy – registered in Bahrain, according to Mamish – was chosen out of 14 international firms that met the tender specifications for a massive economic development project in the Suez Canal region. [Ahram Online, DNE, AP, Aswat Masriya, Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 8/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt to hold “economic summit’ in September | Aswat Masriya
  • No limit on new Suez Canal certificates: Egypt's finance minister | Ahram Online, DNE, SIS
  • Manpower ministry ready to support New Suez Canal project | SIS
  • Chairman of Al-Ahram Foundation praises Sisi for Suez Canal project | Al-Ahram (Arabic)
  • Mamish: Suez Canal project will make Egypt a manufacturing hub | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Arab Contractors to significantly expand Egyptian and Saudi operations: Chairman | DNE
  • Beltone manages EGP 100 million Misr Insurance investment fund | DNE
  • Government to establish company for SMEs, place 80 percent of shares in stock market: Planning minister | DNE
  • Op-Ed: Egyptians tolerating cuts in subsidies- for now | Al Monitor
  • Egypt expects Suez Canal revenue to more than double in 4 years | Bloomberg
  • Egyptian loan growth sustained in June 2014 | CPI


SOCIETY & MEDIA

NCHR makes recommendations to amend protest law, organizes workshop for NGO law
Egypt's National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) presented recommendations for legislative amendments to the Supreme Legislative Reform Committee on Monday. The recommendations included proposals for making changes to a controversial protest law, to articles on terrorism in the penal code and for drafting an anti-discrimination law. NCHR President Mohamed Fayek also said that the NCHR will organize a workshop with the ministry of social solidarity to provide a vision for Egypt’s NGO draft law. Relevant ministries and civil society representatives will participate in the workshop. Fayek added that cooperation with civil society organizations is a priority for the Council because such groups contribute to achieving the objective of protecting human rights. [Ahram Online, 8/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Cairo Opera House to hold concerts for Egypt's economy, new Suez project | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian documentary The Square wins three Emmy awards | Ahram Online
  • Kefaya to protest in front of High Court demanding investigation into corruption under Mubarak | DNE, Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • ‘Dissident brothers’ to propose reconciliation in meeting with presidency Thursday | Egypt Independent
  • Delegation of Mounifeya youth visits Suez Canal project | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Mufti: Purchasing of Suez Canal certificates religiously permissible | EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic)
  • After suspension, Abdel Rehim Ali’s show to appear on a new channel in October | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


SECURITY

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis releases video threatening military, police
In a video uploaded on Monday night, the militant Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes group shows footage of four soldiers killed at a checkpoint as well as the bombing of the military checkpoint in Farafra in the Western desert. In the nine-and-half minute video, the voice of Sheikh Ibrahim al-Rabish is featured as he warns the Egyptian Armed Forces of militants’ attacks against them. The video was uploaded by Abu Qattada al-Ansary’s YouTube channel, bearing the logo “exclusive from Rassd,” the portal known for its Islamist affiliation. Rabish’s name has been often associated with video releases by Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The video closes with footage of a masked militant shooting four men who are allegedly soldiers at a checkpoint. Then footage of the explosion of the military checkpoint in Farafra is shown, where 22 soldiers were killed. [Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 8/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt army kills two militants in North Sinai | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Security forces seize arms in crackdown on Port Said | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Homemade bomb explodes in Minya, no casualties | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Defense minister: Army continuing to modernize air defense systems | Al-Ahram (Arabic)


INTERNATIONAL

Egypt calls on US to exercise restraint towards Missouri protests
The Egyptian foreign ministry has said it is closely watching developments in the US city of Ferguson following clashes between security forces and protesters over the murder of African American teenager Mike Brown last week. It has called on US authorities to exercise restraint and deal with the protests in accordance with US and international standards, foreign ministry spokesperson Ambassador Badr Abdel-Atty told state news agency MENA. Abdel-Atty said, in response to a question from MENA, ministry was closely following reactions to the violence. Meanwhile, Deputy Spokesperson of the United States State Department Marie Harf said in a press briefing on Monday that Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is leading the country's democratic transition, despite recent criticism by the United States of Egypt's human rights record and the US holding some of its aid to Egypt pending democratic reform. "He is, he is," Harf said in response to a question whether the US views Sisi as leading a democratic transition in Egypt, but followed it by saying the country has a long way to go. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic), 8/19/2014]

Gaza ceasefire extended 24 hours as talks continue
The Israeli military says it has carried out a series of airstrikes across the Gaza Strip in response to renewed rocket fire. There was no immediate word on casualties from the strikes. In a statement Tuesday, the military accused Palestinian militants of violating a cease-fire and said it maintains "both defense and striking capabilities in order to address the renewed aggression." Israeli and Palestinian negotiators had agreed to extend a temporary ceasefire in Gaza by 24 hours on Monday night, as talks in Cairo struggled to secure a long-term deal to end the six-week conflict. Long negotiations ended late on Monday night with the Palestinian delegation claiming the two sides were still some way from an agreement, and hinting that the ceasefire would not be extended again if a lasting truce still could not be finalized on Tuesday. Negotiators spent Sunday and Monday conducting indirect talks mediated by Egyptian intelligence officers, but failed to reach agreement about a draft treaty proposed by Egyptian officials on Sunday. Khaled al-Batsh, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad mentioned that Cairo talks may collapse at any moment due to Israel's attempts to instil mistrust between the Egyptian and Palestinian sides, Ma’an Palestinian news agency reported on Tuesday. [The Guardian, Reuters, Mada Masr, 8/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • UAE Red Crescent convoy delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan to hold dam talks next week: Sudanese minister | Ahram Online
  • British government denies report into Muslim Brotherhood delayed | Reuters
  • Air bridge between Egypt, Libyan-Tunisian borders halted | Egypt Independent
  • Injured Palestinian in Egypt for treatment | SIS
  • Op-Ed: Can Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE form Arab security alliance? | Al Monitor
  • Egypt expresses full condemnation for terrorism practiced by ISIS | EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Saudi Arabia praises Egypt’s role in supporting the Palestinian cause | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Shoukry discusses political and security situation in Libya | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Shoukry appoints Hazem Khairat as assistant foreign minister for diplomatic and consular affairs | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)

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