Egyptian security forces clashed with gunmen on the outskirts of Cairo on Thursday as the army-backed government moved to reassert control over an Islamist-dominated area where political violence broke out last month.


Cabinet considers new restrictions on protests 
A bill that would impose several new restrictions on demonstrations was discussed by the Cabinet on Wednesday, the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported. Drafted by the Ministry of Justice, the proposed law is now awaiting presidential approval. Al-Ahram published the text of the draft law, which would ban marches in front of houses of worship, the carrying of arms and wearing masks during protests. Sit-ins and blocking roads would also be forbidden under the law. Violators would be fined between EGP 50,000 and EGP 100,000. The bill defines a march or protest as any function involving more than ten people. [Mada Masr, SIS, 9/19/2013]

Conflicting reports on arrest powers for university security
As the debate over granting university guards the power of arrest continues, conflicting narratives have emerged. Egypt Independent reports that the Cabinet denied granting arrest powers to security employees at Egyptian universities, arguing that the Ministry of Justice had not made any decrees granting judicial arrest powers to universities. The Cabinet stressed that the Ministry of Higher Education had not made any request to that end and added that the Supreme Council of Universities is the sole entity that can make such a request. Ahram Online, however, reports that Egypt’s interim cabinet said the proposal to grant university security guards arrest powers was requested by the Supreme Council of Universities and not the Ministry of Justice. Cairo University head Gaber Nassar decided on Sunday not to apply the proposal following a meeting with the university’s student union. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, 9/18/2013]

Also of Interest:
Salafist Nour Party ‘exchanges opinions’ with Azhar Grand Sheikh | Ahram Online
Minister: Egypt’s nuclear program contingent on parliament approval | Egypt Independent
Hegazy: The army prevented the country from sliding into a civil war | EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), Tahrir (Arabic) 
Moussa: The Muslim Brotherhood mismanaged the country | EGYNews (Arabic) 
Parliamentary elections to be held before presidential elections: Adly Mansour | Egypt Independent, AMAY (Arabic)
Alliance to Support Legitimacy: Reconciliation with the state impossible | Egypt Independent
Egypt president calls for media code of ethics | Aswat Masriya, SIS
FM: No political arrests since June 30 | SIS, DNE
Hegazy: Participation of all political powers in political process conditioned on renouncing violence | EGYNews (Arabic) 


Council for Women says amendments ‘fairer’ to women, Nour names alternative to committee
Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) said in a statement issued Wednesday that new amendments under-discussion to the currently suspended 2012 constitution are “fairer” to women. The NCW statement said the constituent assembly agreed to suggestions filed by NCW, including better representation of women in elected bodies and full equality between men and women in all fields. Meanwhile, the Nour Party representative for the assembly, Bassem al-Zarqa, has stepped down for health reasons. A member from the Nour Party’s alternative members list for the committee will be nominated instead. As discussions over the role of religion in the constitution continue, a group representing Egyptian atheists called for the cancellation of Article 2 in the suspended 2012 constitution. It, also, called for equality between men and women, unrestricted sexual relations and the removal of societal restrictions on homosexuals and transexuals. Finally, speaking about press freedoms, Dia’a Rashwan, Journalist Syndicate said that the assembly welcomed ninety percent of the press freedoms demands. [Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic) Shorouk (Arabic), 9/19/2013]

Brotherhood leader Beshr and former Prime Minister Qandil barred from travel
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Ali Beshr was prevented from travelling to Dubai from Cairo International Airport on Thursday Beshr – one of the few senior Brotherhood officials not in jail – was detained while authorities checked if there was a warrant for his arrest. He was later released. Meanwhile, former prime minister Hisham Qandil and six others were handed travel bans on Wednesday, according to state-owned Al-Ahram. Qandil, along with former Minister of Housing Tarek Wafiq and others, had their assets and money confiscated by order of the Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat and were given travel bans in connection with a corruption case, scheduled to have its next hearing on Thursday. The Dokki Misdemeanor Appeals Court will also rule on September 30 on an appeal by Qandil against an earlier verdict that sentenced him to one year and stripped him of his ministerial post. [Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), DNE, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 9/19/2013]

Egypt military court gives five Palestinians one-year jail sentence 
An Egyptian military court on Wednesday sentenced five Palestinian fishermen to a year in jail, and ordered them to pay fines of EGP 500 (around $72) for illegally crossing into Egypt’s territorial waters, Egyptian security sources said. Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar called on Egyptian authorities to release the five fishermen. “During the last months, fishermen would go fish near the borders, escaping from the Zionist occupation forces who would open fire on their boats and restrict the area of fishing in Gaza’s sea,” al-Zahar told state news agency, MENA. “This region … is for fishing and not for smuggling or tampering with Egypt’s security,” he added. [Reuters, Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), 9/18/2013]

Also of interest:
Abu Deraa trial postponed again | DNE, Egypt Independent
Military Court rulings against Brotherhood leaders challenged | DNE
Disputes over the military trial for civilians: Constitutional Assembly | Ahram Gate (Arabic)
Seventy-two detained on terrorism charges in Delga | Mada Masr
Brotherhood supporters referred to criminal court for involvement in Ramses Square events | Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic)
Four Brotherhood members arrested in Sohag | Mada Masr


Egypt sets EGP 1,200 as minimum wage for government workers 
Egypt’s Cabinet has set the minimum wage for the public sector at EGP 1,200 ($174). The decision announced Wednesday will take effect in January. The Prime Minister had recently said that the minimum wage would not be raised due to budget constraints. His statements provoked criticism from a number of politicians. In June 2011, the interim government set the minimum wage for the public sector at LE700 ($101.5). Regarding the private sector, workers and business owners demanded more time to discuss the rate, Hossam Eissa, deputy to Egypt’s Premier, said. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), Aswat Masriya, AP, SIS, AMAY (Arabic), 9/19/2013]

Also of Interest:

Egypt stocks down 0.6 percent on profit taking | Ahram Online, Mada Masr, AMAY (Arabic)
Businessmen demand government address security, energy, land shortages | DNE
$10 million public relations campaign to stimulate tourism within Egypt | DNE
Industry Ministry: EGP 1 billion for SMEs in Upper Egypt and Sinai | Egypt Independent
45 percent decrease in Egypt’s exports to USA during first half of 2013: Minister of Commerce | Ahram Gate (Arabic)


Egypt police storm Kerdasa, one officer killed
Egyptian security forces clashed with gunmen on the outskirts of Cairo on Thursday as the army-backed government moved to reassert control over an Islamist-dominated area where political violence broke out last month. After security forces seized the area early Thursday morning, gunmen allegedly retaliated with a volley of heavy gunfire from the rooftops of residential buildings, schools and mosque minarets, a ministry statement said. Deputy head of Giza Security Directorate, Major General Nabil Farag was shot dead during the raid and ten other officers were injured, state TV reported. Police were hunting 140 suspects in Kerdasa, where there had been little or no sign of state authority since an August 14 attack on its main police station in which eleven officers were killed. Sixty-five were arrested in the raid, three of which allegedly played a prominent role in the assault on the police station. Spokesman for the Interior Ministry Hani Abdel Latif said security forces continue advancing in Kerdasa and will not walk away until “all criminal and terrorist hotbeds are eradicated.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Mada Masr, SIS, Egypt Independent, Ahram Gate (Arabic), AP, AFP, Shorouk (Arabic), 9/19/2013]

Six remanded for killing of French man in custody 
Central Cairo prosecutors have ordered the detention of six prisoners for suspected involvement in the murder of a French teacher, Eric Lang, who was being held in a jail at the Qasr al-Nil Police Department. The six suspects, already convicted for mugging, will now be detained for four days pending investigation over charges of beating the 51-year-old Frenchman to death inside his cell. One of the six suspects reportedly admitted that he, along with the five other suspects, beat the deceased because he was not Egyptian. The five other suspects denied attacking the victim.  Initial reports indicated Lang was arrested for breaking curfew in the Cairo suburb of Zamalek and taken to Qasr al-Nil police station. There are unconfirmed reports however that he was arrested during the day and was taken in because he did not have residency papers on his person. In a statement released on Wednesday, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights condemned his  death, calling for opening an “immediate and comprehensive” investigation into the incident. It also urged an investigation into the means of dealing with detainees and prisoners. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, DNE, 9/18/2013]

Also of Interest:
Minister of Interior meets with British and US embassy heads | DNE
Egyptian army offers no respite for southern town | AP
Egypt shortens curfew by two hours as of Saturday: cabinet | Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Reuters, EGYNews (Arabic), Aswat Masriya, Shorouk (Arabic)
Two Palestinian refugees killed in emigration attempt from Egypt | Ahram Online
Two bombs defused on Cairo metro: report | Egypt Independent, Reuters
Forensic authority: suicide bomber possibly behind interior minister’s assassination attempt | Egypt Independent
Security arrests forty-one suspected of storming into police stations, churches in Minya | Egypt Independent
Security operation continues in Sinai | Shorouk  (Arabic), Tahrir (Arabic)
Sadat, Giza metro stops to be reopened Saturday | Egypt Independent


Gulf initiative to resolve differences between Egypt and Ethiopia over Renaissance Dam 
Senior sources at the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation have said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE are preparing for an initiative to resolve the differences between Egypt and Ethiopia over the Renaissance Dam. They added that the Gulf states, except Qatar, are pressing to construct a giant project in Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan to make use of the capabilities of the East Nile Basin countries. The Gulf states invest some US$20 billion in the Nile Basin countries, which strengthens their position supporting Egypt in that region. [Egypt Independent, 9/18/2013]

Russia to provide Egypt with wheat, says official 
Alaa Qenawy, commercial minister and head of the Egyptian Commercial Representation Bureau in Moscow, said Russia has pledged to meet Egypt’s needs in wheat through long term deals that extend from three to five years. In statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Qenawy said that Russia is expecting a surplus of wheat this year and added that Egypt’s wheat import policy depends on diversifying import countries. Moscow also wishes to invest in silos, he said. Al-Masry Al-Youm has learned from official sources that Egypt has asked Russia to give grants and aid amounting to US$260 million to build silos. [Egypt Independent, 9/18/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt destroying Gaza tunnels to tighten blockade: Hamas | DNE
We are not seeking conflict with Egypt: Hamas | AMAY (Arabic)