Top News: Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan Sign Declaration of Principles to Resolve Nile Dam Dispute

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed an initial agreement on Monday, in a critical step towards resolving a four-year dispute over Nile water sharing arrangements among Basin countries.


Sisi conducts interview with religious broadcast, rallies against ‘extremism’
Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi gave an interview to religious public radio service the Holy Quran Broadcast on Sunday, the first of its kind. In it, Sisi called again for a revolution in religious views, saying the Islamic world needs to rethink and revolt “for religion and not against it.” In a lengthy interview with the Wall Street Journal Sisi refuted suggestions — fueled by cooperation between his country and Russia — that Egypt could reduce bilateral relations with the United States. “A country like Egypt will never be mischievous with bilateral relations with America,” he said on Friday. “We will never act foolishly.” [Ahram Online, Ahram Online, DNE, 3/22/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s political parties disagree over proposed electoral reforms | Ahram Online
  • Election law panel considers two options for constituency division | SIS
  • Egypt Ministry of Religious Endowments places all Islamic centers under its authority | Ahram Online
  • New administrative capital project to be implemented over forty years | Egypt Independent
  • Sources says Brotherhood considers replacement for supreme leader | Egypt Independent
  • Crackdown on Socialist Popular Alliance Party continues | DNE


Egypt sentences twenty-three alleged Brotherhood members to life
A criminal court in the northern city of Tanta convicted twenty-three Muslim Brotherhood members for acts of violence that broke out in 2013 and sentenced them to life in prison on Sunday. The defendants were charged with creating chaos, rioting, and disturbing public peace, in protests and violence that took place in August 2013, following the breakup of protest camps in Raba’a al-Adaweya and al-Nahda squares. The defendants include two members of the Muslim Brotherhood’s guidance bureau, the group’s highest decision-making body. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, DNE, 3/22/2015]

More than 300 civilians referred to military trials in two days
At least 363 civilians have been referred to military trials in two days on charges of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood and engaging in violent incidents during protests. Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat referred 325 suspects accused of violence in the governorate of Minya on March 15. Charges included the storming of the police station and burning down the city council building of the Mallawi district back in August 2013. In January 2015, 250 others were referred to military trial accused in similar incidents around the same time, also in Minya. As for recent verdicts by the military judicial institution, seventeen were sentenced to prison terms ranging from five years to life sentences in the governorate of Daqahleya. All defendants, bar three, were sentenced in absentia. [DNE, 3/22/2015]

Investigation begins into forensic official’s claim that slain activist was too “thin”
An investigation is underway into statements made by the forensic authority’s spokesman on the reason behind slain activist Shaimaa al-Sabbagh’s death, the Justice Ministry said on Monday. On Saturday, forensic authority spokesman Hisham Abdel Hamid told a talk show on a private satellite channel that the birdshot Sabbagh sustained does not usually lead to death because it was shot at a distance longer than eight meters. He said Sabbagh was “too thin,” allowing the birdshot to easily penetrate her body, reaching her heart and lungs. He described her case as “very rare” and that Sabbagh should not be dead according to science. The Justice Ministry said in a statement that “necessary measures” will be taken once the investigation into Abdel Hamid’s remarks is completed. [Aswat Masriya, 3/23/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Zamalek Chairman Mortada Mansour sentenced to year in prison for insulting lawyer | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Potential law denying witness testimony threatens judicial fairness: HRW | DNE
  • Court upholds five-year sentence against preacher for bible burning | Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
  • Air Defense Stadium trial to start April 18 | DNE
  • Misappropriation of National Council funds trial adjourned | Egypt Independent
  • Request to reopen investigation into death of Morsi-era alleged torture victim | Aswat Masriya


World Bank set to loan Egypt $500 million for housing project
Negotiations over a $500 million loan has been finalized between Egypt and the World Bank, announced minister of housing Mostafa Madbouli in a press statement. The loan, allocated for ‘social housing,’ will be paid back by Egypt over the course of five years. The project, which was unveiled in late 2014, aims to build 1 million residential units across the country for low-income citizens. [Ahram Online, 3/22/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Ministry says power outages to resume | Egypt Independent
  • Balance of payments deficit hits US$1 billion in first half of the fiscal year | Mada Masr
  • National Bank of Egypt to issue dollar bond by end of June: CEO | Reuters
  • Egypt raises gas price paid to German RWE Dea to $3.50 per mmBtu | Reuters, Aswat Masriya
  • CBE governor says $22.9 billion in foreign reserves expected by end of FY2014/15 | Egypt Independent
  • Presidential economic adviser optimistic after conference | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt, Emirati developers tout nebulous plan for new capital | AP
  • Egyptian pound steady on official market, weaker on black market | Aswat Masriya
  • Finance Ministry releases EGP4.7 billion for subsidies, development projects | Aswat Masriya


Press Syndicate elects new head, signals reassertion of independence
Members of Egypt’s Journalists Syndicate elected journalist and unionist Yehia Qallash on Friday as the new head of the syndicate. Qallash was awarded the post by a margin of 1,948 votes to incumbent Diaa Rashwan’s 1,079, in a vote held across Cairo and Alexandria. Outgoing chairman Rashwan, previously a political analyst and head of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, was elected to lead the Syndicate in March 2013. He has been criticized for failing to defend the rights of journalists in Egypt. Qallash works at state-owned al-Goumhorreya newspaper and is a veteran unionist. During the Syndicate’s general assembly ahead of the elections on Friday, it condemned violations faced by journalists during the past years, and issued recommendations to push authorities to investigate the deaths of over ten journalists. [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, 3/22/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Police disperse pro-Morsi protesters after small-scale clashes in Cairo’s Mattariya Ahram Online
  • Protesters outside government offices call for employment, housing | Egypt Independent
  • Teacher arrested for cutting student’s hair | Egypt Independent, Ahram Online
  • Child marriage in Egypt: ‘I don’t know how old I am’ | DNE
  • Activist group highlights violations in photojournalist’s detention | Egypt Independent
  • Relatives of Shura Council detainee arrested, released over diabetic sweets | DNE
  • Campaign for female recruitment in army garners 19,000 signatures | Egypt Independent
  • Rights groups skeptical on government’s response to UPR recommendations | DNE
  • NCHR chairman calls for human rights development in Egypt | Egypt Independent
  • Salafi Dawah says informing security on Brotherhood violence a religious duty | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt takes radical steps to tackle food waste | The Guardian
  • Helwan steelworkers launch hunger strikes and protests over punitive relocation | Mada Masr


Forty-five ‘terrorists’ killed during past week in Sinai says Egypt army
The Egyptian army said on Sunday it had killed forty-five “terrorists” in the Sinai Peninsula during the last week. Army spokesman Mohamed Samir said thirty-two were killed during air strikes using Apache helicopters in al-Arish in North Sinai. Samir added that raids were also carried out in Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah cities. “Eighty-seven suspects were arrested, five of whom were already wanted by the authorities,” the statement read. Security sources have pointed to two separate raids in which eight suspected militants were killed in Sheikh Zuweid on Friday, ten on Saturday and another seven on Sunday. Meanwhile, an explosion blew up a house in Sheikh Zuweid early Saturday, eyewitnesses said. Explosives were planted by unknown assailants in a house in Hayy al-Tarabeen. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 3/23/2015]

Bomb explodes at house of judge who acquitted Mubarak-era interior minister
An IED, planted by unidentified assailants, exploded Monday in front of the house of one of the judges who acquitted Mubarak-era Interior Minister Habib al-Adly of illegal gains charges. The bomb exploded outside the house of Judge Fathi Bayoumy in Giza damaging the front of the house and leaving no casualties. Meanwhile, Endowments Minister Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa said on Sunday that his house in his hometown of Beni Suef was the target of a failed terrorist attack. Unknown assailants attempted to burn down the minister’s house on Sunday, in the village of Saft Rashin in Beni Suef. His neighbors said they saw fire coming out of the balcony of the two-story house, and that they put it out quickly. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 3/23/2015]

Also of Interest


Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan sign declaration of principles to resolve Nile dam dispute
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed an initial agreement on Monday, in a critical step towards resolving a four-year dispute over Nile water sharing arrangements among Basin countries. The details of the agreement are expected to be announced later. Prior to the signing of the agreement, Sudanese President Omar Hassan Bashir hailed his country’s ties with its northern neighbor Egypt as “unparalleled” and currently in their “best form.” Meanwhile, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is expected to deliver a speech in front of the Ethiopian parliament on Monday, conveying a message emphasizing the depth of historical links between the two countries. [Ahram Online, DNE, AP, Aswat Masriya, 3/23/2015]

Forty-six Egyptian workers missing in Libya
Forty-six Egyptians have been missing since September when they were illegally traveling to Italy via Libya, head of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Naguib Gabriel said in a press statement. Their relatives fear a similar destiny as the Egyptian workers who were kidnapped in January then beheaded in February by the militants of the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) in Libya. Relatives of twenty-six of the workers met with Foreign Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel Atty Saturday to discuss ways to find the whereabouts of their relatives. More than 45,000 Egyptians have fled Libya since the beheadings. [Anadolu Agency, DNE, 3/23/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Forty-nine Egyptians arrested over attempting illegal immigration into Libya | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt, Kenya to sign water agreement | SIS
  • What UPR recommendations did Egypt reject? | DNE
  • Israelis warned against travel to Egypt, Turkey | DPA
  • Patterson says US needs to pressure Egypt to improve human rights situation | Egypt Independent
  • Suez Canal chief: Egyptian Navy held off ‘possible US intervention’ during 2011 uprising | Egypt Independent
  • Arab and Gulf security a ‘red line’ for Egypt: Foreign ministry | Ahram Online
  • Arab national security tops Arab Summit agenda: Al-Araby | DNE
  • Egypt to nominate Aboul-Gheit for Arab League top post: Newspaper | Ahram Online
  • Indonesian president invites Sisi to attend Asia/Africa summit | DNE
  • Sisi’s Germany visit unconditional says German ambassador to Egypt | DNE
  • Egypt strongly condemns Islamic State attacks in Yemen | DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Nine Palestinians arrested for entering Egyptian ‘territorial waters’ | DNE
  • Military intelligence source says Morsi was warned against rapprochement with Iran | Egypt Independent
  • Arab Summit preparation meetings commence | DNE
  • Human Rights Council adopts outcome of Egypt’s UPR report | Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr