The Institute for Economics and Peace released its 2014 Global Peace Index (GPI) on Wednesday, in which Egypt ranked 143 out of 162, falling over 30 places and marking the second biggest loss in peace of any country in the world. 


Aide resigns over appointment of new environment minister
Mahmoud Kaissouni, formerly an advisor to the minister of state for environmental affairs, resigned in protest Tuesday after Khaled Fahmy was elevated to the position of environment minister, replacing Laila Iskandar. “I have to believe in the person I am working with,” Kaissouni told Mada Masr by phone from the UK. “It would be against my principles to continue working there.” Kaissouni added that he resigned because of Fahmy’s enthusiastic support for coal imports, which former environment minister Iskandar, along with many civil society groups, opposed. Although he submitted his resignation to the environment ministry, Kaissouni plans to stay in his post at the Ministry of Tourism, where he serves as an environment advisor to Minister Hesham Zaazou, who has held the post since August 2012. That position, Kaissouni says, is still “an honor.” [Mada Masr, 6/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Sisi meets Housing Minister over demarcation of provincial boundaries | SIS
  • Mahlab: a ‘fair’ solution to street vendors is a necessity | Ahram Online, Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
  • Sisi attends graduation ceremony of naval, air force academy cadets | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Number of women in cabinet draws criticism from rights groups | Mada Masr
  • Free Egyptians Party begins activation of parallel local council in Alexandria | Shorouk (Arabic)


Sources: Adly Mansour to step down when Constitutional Court considers protest lawsuit
Judicial sources said that Adly Mansour, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) and former president of Egypt, would step down when the court considers a lawsuit filed against the protest law because it was he issued and ratified it when he was president. The sources added that Mansour decided to return as head of the court after the end of his term as interim president. He will reach the retirement age in two years. The lawsuit, filed by former presidential candidate and leftist lawyer, Khaled Ali, was referred by the Administrative Court to the SCC on Tuesday. [Egypt Independent, 6/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Corrected: Egypt court sentences two sexual harassers to six months | Aswat Masriya
  • Verdict for accused Jordanian spy will come in August | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Trial of Hisham Geneina postponed | AMAY (Arabic)


Egypt reaches first deal to revise gas prices with foreign energy firm
Egypt has agreed to revise the price it pays to buy natural gas to be extracted by German oil and gas group RWE DEA, a move likely to mean higher prices for the state. Oil Minister Sherif Ismail said on Wednesday that state-run gas company EGAS had reached an agreement in principle with RWE DEA to modify its current Delta concession contract, the first step by the government to fulfill a pledge to provide more attractive terms to foreign firms needed to boost production. Though he did not say how the prices would change, he said that the move aims to match “the cost of development of some newly discovered gas fields”, suggesting the government would pay companies more for the gas they extracted. [Reuters, 6/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Agriculture Minister: Egypt lost 150,000 acres to infringements in three years |  Egypt Independent, AMAY (Arabic)
  • Egypt’s breadbasket Nile Delta under threat from illegal building | Reuters
  • Sisi instructs generation of 10,000 MW from solar energy | Egypt Independent
  • Two committees formed for the purpose of agricultural expansion | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Banks see opportunities in Egypt despite uncertainty | OBG, 6/18/2014


Egypt rights groups challenge government internet surveillance plans
Several Egyptian human rights groups brought a court case on Tuesday against a recent government decision to introduce a new security system designed to monitor social networking sites. In a joint statement on Wednesday, eight rights groups strongly condemned the “illegitimate and unconstitutional approach the ministry is adopting to spy on citizens.” They said the proposed system constitutes a “serious breach of the foundations of justice” and “an infringement of freedoms and rights.” The groups include the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression and the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. [Ahram Online, DNE, 6/19/2014]

Rights group calls to stop contempt of religion trials
Authorities should intervene to stop contempt of religion trials, which “undermine citizenship and guarantees for religious freedoms”, said an Egyptian human rights organization on Thursday. In a statement, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) expressed concern on “the growing frequency of trials on charges of religious defamation targeting religious minorities.” The group also expressed concern the trials could extend to those “holding beliefs at odds with the Sunni Muslim majority.” The statement comes in reaction to a sentence handed down earlier this week to a Luxor Christian school teacher, Demiana Emad Abdel Nour. Nour was sentenced, without possibility of appeal, to six months in jail for contempt of religion and was fined EGP 100,000. [DNE, 6/19/2014]

Brotherhood defies Interior Ministry, threatens to place Prophet stickers in all squares
The Muslim Brotherhood on Wednesday called on its youth nationwide to place stickers bearing the phrase “Pray for the Prophet” in defiance of the Interior Ministry’s order banning religious stickers on cars and in the streets. Dozens of Brotherhood youths already started placing the stickers in Minya and Port, calling on residents to adhere to their religion and resist its enemies. [Egypt Independent, 6/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • CPJ welcomes release of detained journalists | DNE
  • Multiple rape cases in Qalyubia, Daqahliya, Giza | Egypt Independent
  • New government faces labor protests on first day | Egypt Independent
  • Well-known Islamic preacher’s brother arrested at Cairo Airport | Egypt Independent
  • 650 small mosques in Alexandria closed down for violating regulations | Egypt Independent
  • Mubarak breaks leg in fall at hospital | AP, Reuters, Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic)
  • Rail accidents up by 75 percent in 2013, despite service suspension | Mada Masr
  • April 6: Ahmed Maher and Mohamed Adel enter second week of hunger strike | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


New police department for crimes of violence against women
Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim has ordered a new department to be formed to combat crimes of violence against women in collaboration with the ministry’s department of human rights, a security source told Al-Ahram. The source said the new department will receive complaints of assaults or violence against women and take the needed legal action, especially in cases of mass assault. Forces of the new department should be present in crowded places, public transportation, festivals, sporting matches and other places where women are especially exposed to assault. The decision comes after cases of mass sexual attack in Tahrir Square during celebrations for president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s inauguration. [Ahram Online , 6/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Number of Egyptians kidnapped in Libya rises | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Sisi approves appointment of military cadets | SIS, Ahram (Arabic)
  • Bomb explodes in Qalyubia next to hospital | EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Three Brotherhood members detained on charges of storming Ayat police station | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


Egypt ranks 143 out of 162 countries in 2014 Global Peace Index  
The Institute for Economics and Peace released its 2014 Global Peace Index (GPI) on Wednesday, in which Egypt ranked 143 out of 162, falling over 30 places and marking the second biggest loss in peace of any country in the world. “The main cause of this disruption was the military-led ousting of the former president, Mohamed Morsi, and the resulting crackdown on his supporters from the Muslim Brotherhood, which had risen to become the country’s largest party,” the report said. Egypt is ranked 13 out of the 19 countries that make up the Middle East and North Africa region. [Aswat Masriya, 6/19/2014]

Saudi king to visit Sisi on Friday
Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah will pay a brief visit to Egypt on Friday in a show of support for its newly elected president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, two Saudi sources told Reuters on Thursday. Abdullah, who does not often travel due to his advanced age and health concerns, will stop off in Cairo for just a few hours on his way home from a visit to Morocco, the Saudi sources said. Meanwhile, Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry attended the Organization of Islamic Cooperation‘s forty-first session in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, where he held a series of meetings with his counterparts from Sudan, Chad, Niger, and Iraq, as well as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. [Reuters, AMAY (Arabic), SIS, 6/19/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • AU Panel commends Egypt’s restoration of “constitutional order” | DNE
  • Egypt’s foreign ministry decries Israeli military operations in West Bank | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, SIS
  • Egyptian delegation to participate in Nile Basin countries meeting | Egypt Independent
  • Sudan congratulates Egypt on resumption of its activities in AU | SIS
  • Foreign Ministry following up on Egyptian truck drivers held in Libya | SIS