The man Sinai militants claim was responsible for an attack on the interior minister in September was a former major in the Egyptian army, the interior ministry has confirmed. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis released a thirty minute video on militant websites on Saturday that identified former army major Walid Badr as being responsible for the attack, but does not make it clear if he was a member of the group


Egypt’s NSF to issue unified candidate list for parliamentary polls
Egypt’s National Salvation Front (NSF) will participate in upcoming parliamentary elections using a unified candidate list. The NSF said on Saturday that all its forces were committed to forming a broad national alliance, including Tamarod, to coordinate their future stances on political issues. The NSF also asked the political regime to create lines of communication with “Egyptian revolutionary factions, especially with the NSF.” The front decided to arrange a meeting between NSF representatives and the revolutionary youth in the Constituent Assembly, with the attendance of Assembly Head Amr Moussa, who is also one of the founding members of the NSF, to discuss the constitution. [Ahram Online, DNE, 10/27/2013]

Parties’ observations regarding draft protest law submitted to cabinet  
Observations on the draft protest law put forward by political parties were referred to the cabinet for discussion, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Cooperation Ziad Bahaa-Eldin. The National Defense Council said last Sunday that the cabinet will receive suggestions regarding the draft law for a week of “societal dialogue” and that the law would be issued after reviewing these suggestions. The draft law has stirred criticism from a number of political and human rights movements. [DNE, 10/26/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt will not become a military state: Beblawy | Ahram Online


Constituent Assembly passes articles on rights and freedoms
The fifty member Constituent Assembly tasked with amending the 2012 constitution began on Sunday voting on the draft constitution by passing five draft articles in the rights and freedoms section. Assembly spokesman Mohamed Salmawy said that the articles which passed on Sunday will change the nature of interaction between the state and the citizens in the future. The first article the assembly passed on Sunday is Article 37, concerned with human dignity. The committee also adopted on Sunday a transitional article that will cancel existing restrictions regulating the building of new churches. However, under pressure from representatives of Egypt’s highest Sunni authority Al-Azhar, which has demanded that freedom of religion be restricted to the three monotheistic beliefs, the committee opted to postpone its vote on article 47, which stipulates “absolute freedom of belief” for Egyptian citizens and endows the state with the responsibility to ensure free practice of religion, until Monday. The decision to vote on the draft constitution in closed-door sessions continues to face opposition. Some members of the committee, among them head of the Lawyers’ Syndicate Sameh Ashour and head of the Journalists’ Syndicate Diaa Rashwan, objected Sunday to the ban on the media and reserve members from attending the sessions, Al-Ahram reported.  A number of activists are also calling for demonstrations in front of the Shura Council on Wednesday against the closed-door voting.  Granting the defense minister immunity continues to be another source of controversy within the committee. According to a report in Shorouk, the committee agreed that the defense minister is appointed by the president and the prime minister “after consultation and approval from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces,” and that neither the president nor prime minister would be able to remove the minister from his post. The committee disagreed over whether the immunity should last for one or two terms, and continued to discuss whether the position or a specific figure, should be immune. Finally, Mediation efforts by Amr Moussa, chairman of Egypt’s constitution-drafting committee, have failed to resolve disagreements among members concerning Egypt’s identity as an Islamic state, Asharq al-Awsat reported. The split is largely between Al-Azhar and Nour Party representatives on the one hand, and the Egyptian Orthodox Church on the other, with the two sides disagreeing on interpretations that Islamic Sharia should form the main source of legislation in Egypt’s draft constitution. [DNE, Cairo Post, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, 10/28/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s prosecution slams football Ultras members with another fifteen days detention  | Ahram Online, DNE
Court dismisses lawsuit against Egypt’s ElBaradei | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, Reuters
Judges withdraw from appeal by Egypt’s Bible burning preacher | Ahram Online, DNE
Date set for verdict on last April’s sectarian violence in Khosous | Egypt Independent
Sixteen arrested on October 6 sentenced to prison | DNE, Aswat Masriya
State Litigation Authority Club holds on to 2012 constitution powers | DNE
Court renews detention of ninety-eight Brotherhood members | Cairo Post
Prosecutor bans reporting on Shafiq’s elections complaint | Aswat Masriya


IMF reaffirms support for Egypt amid criticism from CBE governor
Egypt has reduced its diplomatic representation in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), due to perceived ill-treatment from the lender, Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) Governor Hisham Ramez said in an interview with Sky News Arabia. This is not the first time the Egyptian government has expressed reservations regarding IMF conduct. Ramez said last week on an Egyptian talk show that the conduct of the IMF was “unacceptable,” given that Egypt is a “founding member” of the institution. Meanwhile, William Murray, the deputy spokesman at the IMF said that tough comments made last Wednesday towards the IMF by Ramez were not taken offensively by the global lender. Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa-Eldin has said, however, that Egypt does not currently need loans from the IMF. Referring to the $4.8 billion loan Egypt had applied to obtain from the IMF, Bahaa-Eldin said Saturday during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, “We are not currently under pressure to sign agreements with the IMF, and we have reservations on the fund’s stance on Egypt.” [DNE, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 10/27/2013]

UAE boosts Egyptian aid to $4.9 billion
Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy discussed means of expanding economic cooperation between Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with his Emirati counterpart, Mohamed bin Rashed al-Maktoum, during his three-day visit with his delegation to Abu Dhabi, which began on Friday, according to state-run news agency MENA. Beblawy discussed organizing a global economic conference in Egypt with al-Maktoum. During the visit, the UAE boosted its aid pledges to Egypt’s government, now making it a total of $4.9 billion. The deal signed Saturday for $1.9 billion in new loans, fuel supplies and other assistance, will most likely be followed by similar gestures from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Beblawy said in a press conference in Abu Dhabi, concluding his three-day visit to the Gulf country. However, UAE Minister of Presidential Affairs Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that Arab aid to Egypt will not last long. “Egypt should think of innovative and non-traditional solutions,” he commented. Finally, Investment Minister Osama Saleh told Reuters Cairo would host a conference in early December, and had already contacted thousands of businessmen, to try to sell the region’s most populous nation to wealthy Arabs.  [Ahram Online, Reuters, AP, DNE, SIS, Egypt Independent , Cairo Post, 10/27/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt FDI shrink 25 percent year-on-year in 2012/13: CBE | Ahram Online
Egypt stocks kick off trading week on high note | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
Italy allocates LE55 million to revive maritime line with Egypt | Egypt Independent  
Ministry of Finance to fight customs evasion | DNE
HSBC supports local SMEs with EGP 300 million fund | DNE
Finance Minister: New measures to reduce budget deficit to 10 percent | SIS
Maximum income for public banks opposed by sector | DNE
70 percent of Red Sea hotels resume operation | Caito Post
Factories in Egypt seek support to fight insolvency | Aswat Masriya
Egyptian Steel eyes leap in capacity, IPO | Ahram Online
Egypt’s new stimulus package focuses on roads, sanitation: Finance minister | Ahram Online, Cairo Post
Fund will support health, education and infrastructure in Egypt | Egypt Independent
Sunday macro-economy rundown: October 27 | Mada Masr
Incremental taxes expected in the future: Minister of Finance | Cairo Post


National Coalition to Support Legitimacy announces protest on Tuesday; Police intervene in weekend pro-Morsi protests
The pro-Morsi National Coalition to Support Legitimacy announced intentions to participate in a Tuesday “million man march” in support of the “independence of the judiciary” on Saturday, continuing a long string of marches and protests. The group denounced “blatant hostility waged by the authorities of the coup against the honorable judges of Egypt,” accusing the interim government of “crudely intervening” in the affairs of the judiciary. Meanwhile, pro-Morsi rallies continued over the past few days, as hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood students at Cairo’s Al-Azhar university and its branch in Daqahlia protested on Sunday, demanding the dismissal of the university President and Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam. Protesters blocked Nasr road, and police responded with tear gas. Security forces also intervened on Friday to end clashes between Morsi-supporters and residents in the cities of Alexandria and Suez. [DNE, Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post, Ahram Online, 10/28/2013]

Egypt satirist Bassem Youssef’s return creates political fuss
Egyptian political satirist Bassem Youssef returned to television on Friday with a bang, drawing both praise and criticism from all sides of the political spectrum after an almost three-month hiatus. Youssef, sparing no one in the season three premiere of al-Bernameg (The Program), poked fun at ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the zealous supporters of army chief Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi. By Saturday, at least four complaints had been lodged by the public to the prosecutor general’s office, accusing Youssef of defaming the military and working to “undermine the honor and dignity of Egypt and its people.” Legal adviser to Ahrar Party, made of up Mubarak-era figures, Mahmoud Bastaweesy filed a fifth complaint against Youssef and the show on Sunday, claiming it is adopting the ideologies of the United States and the Muslim Brotherhood and challenges the legitimacy of the June 30 revolution, state-owned daily Al-Akhbar reported. An investigation into the complaints by the prosecutor has not yet begun. On Sunday morning, presidential media adviser Ahmed al-Muslimany denied reports that he had met with Youssef to steer the episode in a certain direction and to attack certain media personalities, saying that these are rumors propagated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Late Saturday, the show’s host channel CBC issued a statement distancing itself from the episode’s content. The statement noted that the public’s reaction to Youssef’s Friday night show was “largely disapproving,” but added that it is committed to freedom of the media. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy said, during an interview with the Sky News channel, that the state does not want to suspend the al-Bernameg. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Mada Masr, Aswat Masriya, AP, Cairo Post, 10/28/2013]

Also of Interest:
Hundreds demonstrate against Egypt’s proposed protest law | Ahram Online, DNE
Demonstrators demand release of detained students | Egypt Independent
Schools finally open in Egypt’s restive North Sinai | Ahram Online
Egypt Kung Fu gold medalist suspended for wearing Raba’a sign | Ahram Online
Special Report: As Egypt’s Brotherhood retreats, risk of extremism rises | Reuters
Church repairs will cost EGP 190 million: Pope | DNE
Tamarod denies receiving funds from Mubarak regime figure | Cairo Post
Interior ministry to train university security | Cairo Post
Rights group slams government’s extralegal practices in first 100 days | DNE, Mada Masr


Egypt officials confirm alleged assassin in militant video was ex-army major
The man Sinai militants claim was responsible for an attack on the interior minister in September was a former major in the Egyptian army, the interior ministry has confirmed. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis released a thirty minute video on militant websites on Saturday that identified former army major Walid Badr as being responsible for the attack, but does not make it clear if he was a member of the group. The armed forces’ spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali’s office confirmed that Badr was fired from the armed forces in 2005 for “frequent absence and for exhibiting signs of belonging to extremist religious activities.” Meanwhile, on Monday Al-Ahram reported police arrested twenty-five members an unnamed militant group over attacks on the interior minister and Warraq church. A source at the interior ministry said the suspects were arrested in Giza, Sharqiya and Ismailia governorates. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Reuters, DNE, 10/28/2013]

Three policemen killed in drive-by shooting in Egypt’s Mansoura; One killed in Sohag
Three policemen were killed in Mansoura, Daqahliya governorate in the early hours of Monday when unknown assailants attacked a security checkpoint. Eyewitnesses said around four assailants on motorcycles opened fire at the checkpoint on the outskirts of the Nile Delta city, Al-Ahram reported. Initial investigations by the general prosecution found sixty bullet casings at the scene. Meanwhile, a low-ranking police officer from Sohag, Upper Egypt, was killed and another injured Sunday after gunmen attacked a police car protecting a money transit vehicle belonging to the Egyptian Postal Authority. Initial investigations revealed that residents from al-Atamana Village may have attacked the car after a supporter of toppled President Mohamed Morsi was arrested on charges of burning a police station in the village. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, SIS, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, AP, Mada Masr, Cairo Post, Egypt Independent, 10/28/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s ‘War on Terror’: The dangers ahead | Ahram Online
Gunmen target armored vehicle in Arish, no injuries | SIS
Cairo airport to install anti-RPG defenses | Cairo Post


Egypt is ready to mediate between Iran, Gulf countries: FM
Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy said Egypt is ready to play a mediating role between Iran and Gulf countries, providing Iran shows sincere commitment to peaceful rapprochement. Gulf security is part of Egypt’s national security concerns, Fahmy stressed. Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy also said the Gulf security and stability are integral part of Egypt’s security and stability, adding any infringement upon the Gulf security affects the Egyptian national security. He said this issue is non-negotiable as Gulf stability is one of the pillars of the Egyptian national security. Meanwhile, Interim President Adly Mansour echoed Beblawy’s statements in a meeting on Sunday with visiting Deputy Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly (parliament) Mubarak al-Khurainej. Mansour said that Egypt will always regard the security of Kuwait and the Gulf States as an extension to Egypt’s national security. [Egypt Independent, SIS, 10/28/2013]

Foreign ministry reveals ‘anonymous third party’ relationship with US lobby firm
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed to Daily News Egypt that a “third party,” which wishes to remain anonymous, pays a $250,000 monthly fee to the Glover Park Group (GPG) for public relations and lobbying services with the US government in Washington. The ministry confirmed the Egyptian government’s relationship with GPG in a statement published on Saturday evening, stressing that it is “customary among the nations of the world.” The statement also pointed out that many countries have contracts with such firms to lobby decision-makers in Washington because the United States “is a large country with interests and connections in different parts of the world.” [DNE, 10/17/2013]

Also of Interest:
Israel commissions new ambassador to Egypt | DNE
Flights between Egypt and Qatar reduced | Egypt Independent
Rafah border crossing shut again | DNE, Egypt Independent
Turkish FM: Turkey will support any elected Egyptian president | Egypt Independent
African Union committee to call for Morsi’s release: Anadolu | Egypt Independent