The African Union’s Peace and Security Council has unanimously agreed to unfreeze Egypt’s membership to the AU following the election of a new president, state news agency MENA reported on Tuesday.


Sisi tells ministers to set example to nation
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi ordered a military-style regime of early morning starts for ministers on Tuesday as he swore in a new government that hopes to revive an economy plagued by sluggish growth and recent political turmoil. The new government will be expected to be at their desks by 7 a.m., and the cabinet will be working 24 hours a day so citizens will feel a genuine change, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said at a press conference following the cabinet’s first meeting. Mahlab said Sisi’s instructions were to build a strong modern state that reflects the will of the people in their two revolutions: 25 January 2011 and 30 June 2013.  [Ahram Online, Reuters, 6/17/2014]

Salafist leader Younes Makhioun demands repeal of protest law
Nour Party chairman Younes Makhion has called for the controversial protest law to be scrapped and for the release of non-violent detainees. The Salafist leader said the penal code was sufficient to deal with violent protesters until a new law is passed by the upcoming parliament. Demanding a decision on the law, Makhioun stated, “I think such steps will have a huge impact on reducing the intensity of divisions among Egyptians,” adding that it would further encourage “national alignment behind the new leadership.” [Ahram Online, 6/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Departments for combating sexual harassment to be established | SIS
  • New investment minister to exit businesses and resigns from other posts | DNE
  • Reshuffle brings old faces to culture and antiquities ministries | Mada Masr
  • Surprise visits to Egypt public hospitals land officials in trouble | Ahram Online


Judges withdraw from Port Said stadium massacre retrial
Judges at the Ismailia Criminal Court on Wednesday recused themselves from handling the retrial of eleven individuals tried in absentia over charges of killing football fans in the worst sports catastrophe in the country’s history. The prosecution had earlier accused the defendants of premeditated murder and the killing of Ahly Club fans at Port Said Stadium in February 2012 in order to take revenge for previous conflicts, using edged weapons, explosives, stones and other tools to attack the victims. Eleven of the original seventy-three defendants are being retried after a decision by the Court of Cassation in February. The trial has been adjourned until August 10. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 6/18/2014]

Twelve sentenced to death for Kerdasa killing
An Egyptian judge convicted twelve out of twenty-three Islamists Wednesday of murdering one of the most senior police officers to be killed in the country in recent months, Nabil Farag, Giza’s deputy security chief, sentencing them to death. Farag was killed during an ambush by security forces on militant hideouts in the area. The ruling session was aired live on Egyptian television. Only nine defendants were present, with the others sentenced in absentia. According to Egyptian law, the verdicts must be referred to the country’s Mufti for review and ratification. The defendants also have the right to appeal. A final decision is expected on August 6. [Aswat Masriya, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Online, AMAY (Arabic), 6/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Alexandria court sentences six sexual harassers to six months | Aswat Masriya
  • Court refuses Brotherhood leader Beltagy’s request to change judges | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Court resumes trial of Mubarak over protester killings | Egypt Independent
  • Prosecution: Two Mansoura cells planned attacks against police, army | Egypt Independent
  • Trial of Egyptian Islamist militant Habara adjourned | Ahram Online
  • Adli Mansour will not consider appeal of protest law | AMAY (Arabic)


Egypt’s natural gas exports fell by 81 percent Y-o-Y in April
Egypt’s exports of natural gas drastically declined by 80.9 percent in April compared to the same month of last year, according to the latest report by the state-run Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC). The report said that Egyptian exports of natural gas in April were worth some $30.5 million, against $160 million in April of 2013. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 6/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Majority of cabinet’s economic team reappointed | DNE
  • International Tourism Sector Chairman: Egypt aims to attract 2 percent of visitors through e-marketing | DNE
  • Egypt Industry Minister: New economic policies underway to encourage investment | SIS
  • Op-ed: Egypt gov’t moving to outlaw strikes, but is it promoting production? | Mada Masr
  • Industry minister: Improving national economy high priority | SIS
  • Investment to begin in Egypt’s underdeveloped governorates: Minister | Ahram Online
  • Approval granted for Sawiris, Beltone to buy stake in EFG-Hermes | Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, EGYNews (Arabic)
  • Stock market continues to decline for third session | Egypt Independent


Al-Jazeera hunger-striking reporter released after 309 days in jail
After being held eleven months in detention, Al-Jazeera journalist Abdullah El-Shamy was released on Tuesday night, along with twelve others. El-Shamy said that despite the various pressures he suffered in prison, the solitary confinement and the false information that purported he was not on a hunger strike, he still believed in his case and his eventual release. The National Council for Human Rights released a statement on Tuesday expressing gratitude towards the Public Prosecution for deciding to release Shamy and the twelve other detainees for health concerns. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 6/17/2014]

EIPR holds state responsible for 2013 violence, condemns prison healthcare system
A Cairo-based rights group has urged for the accountability of those responsible for the violence that swept Egypt last year, including state and non-state actors. “The state bears primary responsibility for what may be the worst acts of violence in Egypt’s modern history, with thousands killed and injured,” the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said in a report it issued on Wednesday. The report was submitted to the government’s fact-finding commission investigating the events of 30 June 2013 and their aftermath upon its request. In a separate report released on Tuesday, EIPR said that the health system in Egypt’s prisons is inadequate and does not meet basic requirements as set out by the country’s constitutions, its laws and international conventions it has signed. [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 6/18/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Religious freedom contributes to better economic outcome: Study | DNE
  • Imam suspended for allegedly insulting Sisi and sexual assault victim | Egypt Independent
  • Another detainee dies at Matareya police station | Mada Masr
  • Labib: Sisi gave government ten days notice to move street vendors | AMAY (Arabic)
  • April 6 movement to hold press conference on Thursday regarding Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners |  Ahram Gateway


Libyan militias detain up to 100 Egyptian truck drivers
The directorate of security in Matrouh on Wednesday announced that Libyan militias had detained fifty trucks carrying up to 100 Egyptian truck drivers in Ajdabiya. The militias detained the truck drivers in an attempt to put pressure on the Egyptian government for the release of eighteen Libyans currently in Egyptian prisons, Al Masry Al Youm reported. Egyptians have been subject to kidnappings in Libya in the past few months and the Egyptian Foreign Ministry has warned citizens not to travel to Libya, except in extreme cases only. It has also warned Egyptians in Libya “to exercise utmost care and caution.” [EGYNews (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 6/18/2014]

Also of Interest:
Defense Minister: Egypt’s armed forces will continue to shield the nation | EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic)


US Senate proposes bill to cut aid to Egypt by $300m
US Senate appropriators on Tuesday advanced a $48.3 billion budget for foreign aid and State Department work next year. The budget includes democratic and human rights conditions on Egypt support, as well as a 28 percent cut bringing military aid down from $1.3 billion to $1 billion. The bill stipulates that economic assistance would be reduced from $250 million to $150 million. The bill stands in opposition to another foreign aid package proposed by House Republicans, who have offered $1.3 billion in military aid and an additional $200 million in economic aid. [DNE, AP, 6/18/2014]

Egypt regains membership in African Union
The African Union’s Peace and Security Council has unanimously agreed to unfreeze Egypt’s membership to the AU following the election of a new president, state news agency MENA reported on Tuesday. The decision comes after almost a year of Egypt being suspended from the 54-nation bloc just days after the overthrow of president Mohamed Morsi. Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday it “welcomed… the [unanimous] decision to return Egypt to its natural place within the Union and to resume its participation in the activities of the African Union.” Ethiopia was the first to welcome Egypt’s return to the African Union after the union’s Peace and Security Council decided to end the suspension of its membership, ambassador Mahmoud Dardir said Wednesday. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, SIS, 6/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Ethiopian FM congratulates new Egyptian counterpart | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Egypt’s foreign minister to visit Saudi Arabia | Aswat Masriya, SIS
  • FM: Sisi says foreign ties to serve Egyptians’ interests | SIS
  • Mahlab, Jordanian minister discuss energy cooperation | SIS
  • Foreign minister meets with Palestinian president | AMAY (Arabic)