Top News: Egypt to Receive $3 Billion Loan From World Bank

Egypt will receive a $3 billion loan from the World Bank in installments over the next three years to support the state’s budget, Finance Minister Hany Dimian said on the sidelines of an economic conference on Wednesday. “The advantage of this loan is that it comes with very soft terms with regards to financing and tenor, and has a grace period,” Dimian said. He did not provide details on the sectors in which the loan will be used or the time frame of the disbursements. “The government is aware of the economic conditions which we’re passing through, and there is a deficit in the budget and we have to handle it gradually,” Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said in separate remarks at the conference. Egypt’s fiscal year 2015/2016 budget projects a deficit of 8.9 percent a 5 percent growth rate. Ismail said the government is looking to decrease the budget deficit by 1.5 percent annually. On Tuesday, Investment Minister Ashraf Salman said Egypt’s economy grew by 4.1 percent in the fiscal year that ended in June. He projected a growth rate of about 5 percent in the current fiscal year. [Reuters, Bloomberg, Aswat Masriya, 10/14/2015]


Violations mark parliamentary electoral campaigns
The High Elections Committee (HEC), observatory organizations, and the media have reported on several violations committed in the past weeks in advertisements for parliamentary candidates. Maat’s international observation mission said Monday that a candidate from Beheira took advantage of the Muslim prayer time at a mosque by speaking to worshippers about his electoral platform. An incident circulated on social media showed a candidate in Luxor place his picture on the Quran and used his position as an official at the Ministry Religious Endowments to promote himself in mosques. A weekly magazine distributed in churches also published full ads with pictures of certain candidates of different political and religious backgrounds. The Nour Party submitted complaints to the Higher Committee on Media Monitoring on Tuesday, accusing the For the Love of Egypt list of attacking the party and for a breach in electoral advertising regulations in several governorates. Meanwhile, the Administrative Prosecution Authority Club said Tuesday it will form a central operations room in order to monitor the parliamentary election process. The operations room will receive comments and complaints from the judges responsible for supervising the electoral process, and will serve as a link between the Administrative Prosecution Club and the HEC. [DNE, 10/13/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Fifteen international observers arrive in Cairo ahead of parliamentary elections | Cairo Post
  • No public holiday in Egypt during parliamentary elections says Minister | Ahram Online
  • No room for dissent in upcoming parliament: ESDP | DNE
  • Egypt’s last Islamists standing offer ‘polite’ opposition | Reuters,
  • EGP 1.5 billion earmarked for parliament, municipal polls says Finance Minister | Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
  • Elections countdown: 5 days | Mada Masr


Esraa al-Taweel’s detention extended as medical assessment denounced
The detention of Esraa al-Taweel, the young photojournalist who disappeared in June and later appeared in Qanater prison, was renewed by Cairo State Prosecution on Wednesday. The next session on her case will be held on October 25. Taweel, who has been in pre-trial detention since her disappearance 136 days ago, was due to have her case heard on Monday. However, following demands from the defense, State Security Prosecution ordered examinations on her medical condition for a hearing the following day. The medical report stated Taweel’s condition is stable and that she can remain in detention, despite documenting her need for physiotherapy. Friends and activists disputed the medical report’s inconsistencies and stated that it does not reflect the severity of her worsening medical condition. [DNE, 10/14/2014]

Rasha Azab, Khaled al-Balshy released pending investigations
Egypt’s prosecution questioned prominent activist Rasha Azab and Journalists Syndicate board member Khaled al-Balshy on Tuesday, accusing them of calling for unlicensed protests and assaulting security forces, among other charges, in relation to a protest in 2014. The pair, who were released pending further investigations, had willingly gone to the prosecution’s office after finding out that a summons had been issued. The investigation relates to a protest that was held in June 2014 at the Journalists Syndicate, during a press conference on the sentencing of twenty-three protesters in the ‘Shura Council’ case. Most detainees in this case were pardoned last month. According to lawyer Gamal Eid, Balshy was initially summoned as a witness, but when he testified to having organized the press conference held in the syndicate on that day, he was formally charged and became a defendant in the case. Both Azab and Balshy face charges of calling for unlicensed protests, blocking roads, verbally assaulting police and military officers, verbally assaulting other protesters, as well as harming the interests of citizens. There are four other defendants in the case whose names have not been revealed. [Mada Masr, 10/13/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Government receives ten applications after reconciliation announcement | AMAY


Russia Rosatom says Egypt nuclear station talks in final stages
Russia’s state-owned nuclear firm Rosatom is in final stages of talks for a contract to build a nuclear power station in Egypt, a senior official of the company said on Wednesday. Anton Moskvin, Rosatom Overseas vice president, said that the deal was expected to be signed by the end of the year. “The sooner we finish the better,” Moskvin said. “We can start site assessment work next year and then see how soon we can start real site work,” he said. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail stressed the importance of facilitating procedures related to increasing agricultural exports to Russia, according to a statement by cabinet spokesperson Hossam al-Kawish. Ismail said the Egyptian government is keen on completing all procedures to expand Russian contributions to large projects that are now being implemented. The purpose is to gain momentum in relations between both countries. [Reuters, Cairo Post, 10/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt economy grew 4.1 percent in fiscal 2014-15 says minister | Reuters
  • Govt eyes residential expansion at 12 percent in fifteen years | AMAY
  • Egypt close to becoming Africa’s ‘second largest economy in dollar terms’ according to Financial Times | Aswat Masriya, SIS
  • Egypt’s exports down 20 percent, hit by energy and foreign exchange crunch | Ahram Online, DNE
  • Egypt able to provide necessary foreign exchange to import basic goods says Prime Minister | DNE
  • National Bank of Egypt, EBRD launch program for businesswomen in Egypt | DNE
  • World Bank says Egypt agricultural market unable to absorb available workers | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya


Report: 215 cases of forced disappearances in August, September
There have been 215 cases of forced disappearances across Egypt in August and September, according to a report issued by the Stop Forced Disappearances Campaign.  The report, issued Tuesday, stated that only sixty-three individuals have been located, with the whereabouts of the other 152 cases remaining unknown. According to the report, the sixty-three cases have appeared in various police stations and Central Security Forces camps. The individuals located include defendants in cases related to protesting or belonging to a terrorist organization. Others were identified by their families in Interior Ministry videos. The report was prepared under the auspices of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, and the campaign launched on August 30, to coincide with the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, amid a wave of forced disappearances in the country. [Mada Masr, 10/13/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Internet and mobile service resumes in South Sinai after hours-long outage | Ahram Online
  • Investigation ordered into actresses, channel owner for ‘debauchery’ | Cairo Post, Ahram Online
  • Endowments Ministry releases names of fifty-three missing pilgrims | DNE
  • Four young Egyptians named among dead migrants | DNE
  • Health Ministry tests water in Assiut following fever outbreak | DNE
  • Egyptian passport ranks 91st in world’s most powerful list | Egypt Independent
  • Ahmed Moussa says he ‘hates the American administration’ after video game scandal | Aswat Masriya
  • ‘The Egyptian government is waging a war on civil society’ | The Guardian
  • Last of three convicted Al-Jazeera journalists leaves Egypt | Cairo Post
  • four imams banned from sermons due to investigations into their ideology | Cairo Post
  • Alcohol not for sale Wednesday in observance of Islamic New Year | Cairo Post


Two Egyptians injured in small bomb attacks in Alexandria 
Security officials say three homemade bombs exploded along a railway in Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria, wounding two as well as damaging a train. The officials said the bombs were spread out over a kilometer (0.6 miles) along the railway in Muharram Bek, near the city’s stadium. The wounded individuals were a man and his wife, and the explosion shattered glass windows on the train as well as causing panic to those nearby. According to a Ministry of Interior statement on the event, the wounded suffered superficial injuries, and bomb disposal experts secured the area and combed the scene for additional explosives. [Ahram Online, AP, Aswat Masriya, 10/14/2015]

Police arrest fourteen ‘central leaders’ of Brotherhood
The Ministry of Interior announced in a statement on Tuesday the arrest of fourteen individuals accused of planning various attacks on public and private properties across the country. The statement described the fourteen individuals as “central leaders of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood,” but gave little information about where they are from, or what attacks they are accused of orchestrating. In another statement, the Ministry detailed the recovery of a large amount of weapons and ammunition. A total of 953 weapons were seized, including 165 AK 47 assault rifles, and over 4,000 pieces of ammunition. [DNE, 10/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Customs officials foil attempt to smuggle rare manuscripts to Qatar | Cairo Post


Egypt’s Defense Minister heads to Spain for military cooperation talks 
Egypt’s Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi arrived with a military delegation Tuesday in Madrid, Spain for an official visit following an invitation by Spanish Defense Minister Pedro de Morenés, state owned agency MENA reported. The ministers are expected to conduct talks about increased military and security cooperation between the countries’ armed forces, in addition to efforts to combat terrorism and restore security and stability in the Middle East. In May, Sobhi and his Spanish counterpart signed a memorandum of understanding on military cooperation. The memorandum included agreements on the exchange of experience and joint military training between both countries. [Ahram Online, SIS, 10/14/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Fahmy says Canadian Prime Minister abandoned him during Egypt ordeal | AP, Reuters
  • Egyptian, Senegalese Foreign Ministers meet on UNSC membership | SIS
  • Egypt supports promoting women’s role in UN peacekeeping missions | SIS
  • Sisi says just, comprehensive peace, and a Palestinian state only way to defuse tension | SIS
  • Egypt, Tunisia at a loss for how to deal with Libya | Al Monitor
  • Rafah border to be opened Thursday for returning Palestinians | DNE, AMAY
  • Fishermen arrive to Egypt after release from Sudan | Cairo Post