Top News: Egypt New Governors Sworn in Before Interim President

Twenty-five governors took the oath of office before Egyptian interim President Adly Mansour on Tuesday. The Red Sea and Mounifeya governors are not named yet. The post-Morsi regime reshuffling involved the appointment of twenty new governors and nine new deputy-governors, leaving seven in their positions from the previous government.

Egyptian government yet to decide on pro-Morsi vigils
Interim President Adly Mansour met with the National Defense Council (NDC) on Monday afternoon to discuss the impending dispersal of the Anti-Coup Alliance sit-ins in Cairo. The NDC has not yet reached a decision on how to resolve the tense standoff over sit-ins by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. The state-run Al-Ahram newspaper reported that after a National Security Council meeting late on Monday, security forces were likely to cordon off the camps rather than take a more forceful approach that could lead to bloodshed. An authoritative source speaking on condition of anonymity told Egypt Independent that the meeting reach near consensus to “surround and cordon the sit-ins but not to disperse them by force,” to avoid human casualties. [Reuters, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 8/13/2013]
Egypt new governors sworn in before interim president
Twenty-five governors took the oath of office before Egyptian interim President Adly Mansour on Tuesday. The Red Sea and Mounifeya governors are not named yet. The post-Morsi regime reshuffling involved the appointment of twenty new governors and nine new deputy-governors, leaving seven in their positions from the previous government. Retired army generals and former members of Hosni Mubarak’s now-defunct National Democratic Party (NDP) were among the new appointees. A few of the appointed governors are listed here, while the complete list of governors can be found here. The Salafist Nour Party turned down offers to take posts in the governor reshuffle, while the Wafd’s Yasser al-Houdaiby turned down the Mounifeya governorship as the party has also decided not to take up any governorships during the transitional phase. The Watan Party’s Yousry Hammad criticized the selection saying that it was a step towards reviving the NDP. The Leftist Youth Movement rejected the appointment of Tarek Mahdi Abdel Tawab, due to the fact that he is a former NDP member, while the revolutionary forces in Assiut welcomed the appointment of Major General Ibrahim Hammad. Tamarod founding member Mohamed Abdel Aziz expressed disappointment in some of the new appointments, saying the selection is not representative of the Egyptian revolution, but added that in the interest of seeing the transitional phase succeed, they would accept it. Meanwhile, supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi surrounded the Beni Suef Court in objection to the appointment of the Beni Suef governor. The presidency has called on the new governors to seek innovative means to make life easier for residents in their governorates, and to increase the role of civil society. [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, Shorouk (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 8/13/2013]
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood says open to talks on crisis mediated by al-Azhar
The Muslim Brotherhood is ready to take part in talks on Egypt’s political crisis mediated by the country’s leading Islamic authority, as long as they are on the right terms, its spokesman said on Tuesday. “If they stick to the rules we’re asking for, yes,” Gehad al-Haddad told Reuters, saying talks must be based on the “restoration of constitutional legitimacy” but adding that al-Azhar had yet to table any initiative to the Brotherhood. Haddad also said the Brotherhood would be opposed to any initiatives offered by al-Azhar’s Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, because of his support for the army’s overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. Meanwhile, the Union of Political Parties and Civil Forces, which represents twelve political parties and twenty-five syndicates and movements, announced its complete support for the national reconciliation initiative launched. [Reuters, Mada Masr, Shorouk (Arabic), 8/13/2013]

Also of Interest:
Main issues behind Egypt’s political stalemate | AP
Cabinet ‘deeply concerned’ about Beni Suef violence | Mada Masr
Beblawi: Social justice is the cornerstone of ministries plans | Shorouk (Arabic)

Islamist Nour Party to help shape new Egyptian constitution
Egypt’s Nour Party said on Monday it could join the assembly writing a new constitution, adding Islamist support to the military’s political transition plan following its overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi last month. The ultra-conservative party also rejected attempts to tamper with the “Islamic identity of Egypt” during the amendment process. Ali Awad, presidential advisor, confirmed that the second article of the constitution will not be amended.  In a statement issued on Monday evening, the Nour Party also rejected the presidency’s allotment of only five seats in the committee to political parties, charging that limiting the participation of parties in deciding the country’s future mimics Mubarak’s policies which marginalized all players outside of his own National Democratic Party. The Egypt Party confirmed that equal representation was necessary for the process to amend the constitution. The Egyptian Coalition on Children’s Rights demanded that constitutional amendments adopt a definition of the child and determine the criminal responsibility age, compulsory education, work, employment, and the child’s right to ask for legal and health advice without parental consent. [Reuters, Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), Aswat Masriya, 8/13/2013]
Detention of Brotherhood figures extended fifteen days, trial of Beltagy and Hegazy set
A number of key figures close to the Muslim Brotherhood who are currently in detention have had their detentions extended by fifteen days. Islamist figures including Salafist preacher Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, leading Muslim Brotherhood member Helmy al-Gazzar, Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud and former Islamist member of parliament Mohamed al-Omda were given an extra fifteen days detention by the general prosecution on Tuesday on charges of inciting the killing of protesters. Giza’s prosecution has also extended the detention of Wasat Party leader Aboul-Ela Madi for another fifteen days pending investigation into charges of inciting violence. The Cairo Court of Appeal, headed by Nabil Saleeb, set the first hearing for September 7 for the trial of Mohamed al-Beltagy, Safwat Hegazy, and other non-Brotherhood figures for the killing and torture of two policemen. [Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 8/13/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s prosecution orders arrest of fourteen accused in Beni Suef clashes | Ahram Online, Ahram (Arabic)
Retrial of Egyptian steel tycoon Ezz referred back to appeal court | Ahram Online
Court case raised to dismantle the Freedom and Justice Party | Shorouk (Arabic)

Egypt: Roadmap for economic recovery, social justice ready by end-August

At its meeting Monday under Prime Minister Dr. Hazem El-Beblawi, the economic group discussed an economic and social roadmap, which includes a strategic vision of a better future for Egypt. Minister of planning Dr. Ashraf al-Araby said the current approach of the government aims at clamping no new taxes with the aim of achieving social justice, and reactivating economy, as the economic growth rate did not exceed 3 percent during the past three years. He said the government aims at achieving a growth rate of 3.5 percent this fiscal year. [SIS, DNE]
Egypt’s petroleum ministry out of funds to import fuel
Egypt’s ministry of petroleum is currently facing difficulties trying to finance needed fuel imports such as diesel and the low-quality mazu—required to operate power stations. The ministry suffers liquidity problems preventing it from covering the cost of importing petroleum products, as it is owed EGP 151 billion (roughly $21.6 billion) by other governmental bodies. [Ahram Online, 8/12/2013]

Also of Interest:
Expansionary economic roadmap in the works | Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya
CAPMAS: 51.3 percent of youths live in poverty in 2012 | DNE
150 million EGP for developing 967 villages | SIS
Investment Minister: Non-tax incentives for investors to develop new regions | SIS

Morsi supporters rally in front of government ministries in Cairo

Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi protested on Tuesday afternoon in front of the ministries of electricity and agriculture, the ministries of manpower and education, as well as attempting to march to the presidential palace, but were unable to reach the location as the roads were sealed off by security forces. Some protesters tried to demonstrate in front of the Central Military Zone adjacent to the electricity ministry, but the army blocked the road in front of them, so they left the area and went back to Raba’a al-Adaweya where they have been holding a sit-in for over forty days. They also staged a march to the High Court, demanding the removal of Prosecutor-General, Hisham Barakat. On Monday afternoon, they ended a two-hour sit-in outside the court. Clashes broke out at a protest in front of the ministry of religious endowments between pro-Morsi protesters and residents. Police fired teargas to disperse the clashes and at least two pro-Morsi demonstrators were arrested. According to Reuters, scuffles also broke out between pro-Morsi protesters and locals near the ministry of interior, several streets away from the ministry of religious endowments. Meanwhile, new complaints have been filed with Nasr City police station accusing Morsi’s supporters of torture, sources told Egypt Independent. [Egypt Independent, Reuters, 8/13/2013]

Also of Interest:
April 6 movement condemns violence against striking Suez workers | Ahram Online
Minya bishop, Maspero Youth Union slam reconciliation meeting over sectarian clashes | Ahram Online, DNE
Egyptian women wear dresses to challenge sexual harassers | Aswat Masriya
Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II urges self-restraint |  Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online

Sinai militant group responsible for missiles fired at Israel

Israel shot down a rocket aimed at its southern resort city of Eilat early on Tuesday, blowing it up in mid-air near the border with the Sinai, a military official said. It was the first time Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system successfully intercepted a rocket attack on the resort of Eilat, the military said. The incident came after days of heightened tension along the Egypt-Israel border. A Sinai-based militant group claimed responsibility for firing missiles at the Israeli city of Eilat in the early hours Tuesday morning, in response to what it described as “the killing of four of the Mujahideen in Sinai.” In a statement released in the early hours of Tuesday morning, the group said “in a swift response to the recent crime of the Jews when four of the Mujahideen were killed in Sinai after the bombing by a Jewish drone. The lions of Mujahideen Shura Council in the environs of Jerusalem bombed the occupied city of Umm Rishrash (Eilat) by one Grad missile dawn on Tuesday.” Israel’s channel 2 said that three rockets were fired and that the Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile battery has intercepted two of the rockets. The third fell on a deserted land. Israeli media claim that Jama’at Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis took credit for the attacks. [Reuters, AP, Egypt Independent, DNE, AFP/Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 8/13/2013]
Three bombs explode in Sinai’s al-Arish, no casualties
Unknown assailants attacked a police station, a border checkpoint and a VIP cafeteria with local-made explosive devices in Sinai’s Arish early on Tuesday, causing no casualties, a technical team belonging to the army said. Security has tightened in Arish since early Tuesday, with security forces cordoning off the city’s entry and exit points. Army and police forces have continued their intensified military operations in the Sinai Peninsula against extremist elements. The source urged Sinai citizens to repel militants out of residential areas in order for the troops to arrest or kill them, noting that army forces have been ordered to fire at those who carry weapons in the streets of Sinai. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, SIS, Egypt Independent, 8/13/2013]

Also of Interest:
Armed forces prevent Suez steel workers from blocking road | DNE
Illegal aliens arrested in separate raids | DNE
Clashes break out in Cairo between pro and anti-Morsi factions | Reuters, AP

United States urges Egypt to stop ‘politically motivated arrests’
The United States urged Egypt’s new leaders Monday to halt all “politically motivated arrests and detentions,” but there was no specific mention of the future of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said the continued holding of people in custody was one of the problems Egypt has to resolve on its own if it is to move beyond the political unrest of the past six weeks. [SIS, Ahram Online, 8/13/2013]

Also of Interest:
Yemeni Nobel winner says Egypt coup deadly for Arab democracy | Reuters
2,000 Egyptian workers denied return to Libya | Ahram Online, Mada Masr
Egypt offers aid to Sudan after Nile flood | Ahram Online, DNE, Ahram (Arabic)
Rafah border crossing ’partially’ reopens | SIS

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