Top News: Egypt, Spain Ink Security Cooperation Agreement

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi witnessed on Thursday the signing of a security cooperation agreement with Spain during his visit to Madrid. The agreement, which regulates cooperation between the two states in the field of security and combating crime, was signed by the Egyptian Foreign Minister and the Spanish Interior Minister, reported state television, citing the state agency MENA.


Mahlab forms national committee to implement surveillance cameras
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab issued on Friday a decree approving the creation of the Permanent National Committee for the Coordination of Surveillance Cameras in a bid to bolster the country’s security. The committee, headed by the Deputy Interior Minister for Information Technology, will include two members from the interior ministry, and military and general intelligence agencies. The committee is entrusted with installing surveillance cameras nationwide and monitoring vital state institutions in coordination with the interior ministry’s national security network. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic), 5/1/2015]

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Court sentences five Morsi supporters to eighteen years in jail for ‘illegal protesting’
An Alexandria misdemeanors court on Wednesday sentenced five Morsi supporters to eighteen years in jail and a fine of EGP135,000 for “illegal protesting” and “acts of violence.” The prosecution had also accused the five defendants of “joining a banned group” and “showing force.” The five convicted pro-Morsi supporters were arrested during the dispersal of a protest in Alexandria last August. They include university professor Mohamed Tarek, an eyewitness of the deadly dispersal of the pro-Morsi Raba’a sit-in in August 2013, whose testimony was included in a damning August 2014 Human Rights Watch’s (HRW) report about the events. Meanwhile, the defense of the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie and members of the Guidance Bureau appealed their death and life imprisonment sentences before the Court of Cassation. [Ahram Online, 4/30/2015]

Court orders newspaper to compensate minor for publishing personal information without consent
An Economic Court ordered privately-owned al-Youm al-Saba’a newspaper on Wednesday to pay EGP10,000 in compensation for damages caused to a minor, whose personal information was published on the newspaper’s website without her consent. The website published the name, ID number, age, and address of the girl in a story covering an incident of sexual harassment. “The verdict constitutes a judicial precedent, respecting the right to privacy,” said the girl’s lawyer, Aziza al-Taweel. “No comprehensive legislation protects the citizens against the violations of their privacy,” she added. [Egypt Independent, 4/30/2015]


Egypt to cut at least 10 percent of fuel subsidies in fiscal year 2015/16
Egypt will cut at least 10 percent of a current fuel subsidy bill of up to EGP100 billion in the next fiscal year, according to Finance Minister Hany Qadry. Last year, the government slashed fuel subsidies to narrow the state budget deficit, raising prices at the pump by up to 78 percent. Budget allocations for social spending are planned to increase by 16 percent in the 2015/2016 fiscal year. [Ahram Online, 4/30/2015]

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  • Canadian companies sign investment agreements with Egypt valued at $7 billion | SIS
  • Egypt plans smart card system for fuel from mid-June | Reuters
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Over 15,000 workers dismissed following January 25 revolution
Over 15,000 workers have been dismissed from different Egyptian companies and factories since the January 25 revolution, but only a small number of them have filed lawsuits to claim their rights, said Manpower Minister Nahed al-Ashry, adding that some of them have been compensated after the court issued rulings in their favor. The dismissed workforce represents a challenge for the ministry in light of their financial and legal demands, said the minister, adding that the government attempts to resolve the issue, forming a committee to improve the workers’ financial and legal situation, including representatives of the ministry of manpower and trade unions. Labor leader and member of the Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions Fatma Ramadan said that the committee has no authority, and is considered “useless.” Meanwhile, the first three months of this year saw more than 300 protests by workers in factories, teachers, healthcare employees, drivers and others, according to data compiled by local NGO Democracy Meter. Labor organizers, however, fear a crackdown is looming following a final verdict by a high level court banning strikes by civil servants. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 5/1/2015]

Egypt fares poorly in 2015 press freedom index
Egypt ranked near the bottom of the 2015 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index, coming in at 158 out of 180 countries in a list topped by Finland, Norway and Denmark. Although Egypt did rise one position in the index since last year, “the curbs on freedom of information are as worrying as ever,” wrote the Paris-based organization. Furthermore, at least thirty journalists were arbitrarily arrested in 2014 on charges of organizing or participating in protests, according to the report, “and the authorities continue to use spurious grounds for keeping them in detention.” [Mada Masr, 4/30/2015]

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Six injured as gunmen attack Ahram staff bus in Cairo
A group of assailants armed with firearms attacked a bus belonging to Al-Ahram Foundation in Cairo’s October 6 city on Thursday night, injuring six people. Three of the injured are in critical condition. The assailants reportedly destroyed the bus and escaped. The Arabic Al-Ahram news portal alleged that the attackers were Muslim Brotherhood members. [Ahram Online, DNE, 5/1/2015]

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Egypt, Spain ink security cooperation agreement
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi witnessed on Thursday the signing of a security cooperation agreement with Spain during his visit to Madrid. The agreement, which regulates cooperation between the two states in the field of security and combating crime, was signed by the Egyptian Foreign Minister and the Spanish Interior Minister, reported state television, citing the state agency MENA. Sisi also witnessed the signing of three memoranda of understanding with Spain; one in the field of intellectual property rights, another in the field of tourism and a third memorandum in the fields of transport and infrastructure. During the visit, Sisi also met with the Spanish Minister of Economy, several Spanish investors, and with King Felipe VI. Amnesty International slammed the visit, calling on Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy in an open letter to call on Egypt to respect human rights during his talks with Sisi. [Aswat Masriya, 4/30/2015]

Qostul border crossing with Sudan officially inaugurated 
The Qostul-Ashkit border crossing between Egypt and Sudan was inaugurated on Thursday, “to increase trade and facilitate the flow of goods, products, and individuals across the borders, and to achieve a more open African market,” according to a statement of the ministry of industry and trade. Minister Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour said that the crossing, which cost EGP360 million, will be a new gateway for Egyptian exports to the Sudanese market and the rest of Africa. Aswan governor Mostafa Youssri said that the port would contribute to “an increase in investment and trade” between Egypt and Sudan, adding it would facilitate passenger transportation, and the “creation of new markets.” [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 4/30/2015]

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