Top News: Egyptian Warships Shell Houthis outside Yemeni City of Aden

Egyptian warships shelled a column of Houthi fighters and troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh as they tried to advance on the southern port city of Aden on Monday, according to reports.


Egypt to inaugurate ‘new Suez Canal’ next August says Prime Minister
Egypt’s new Suez Canal is to be inaugurated in August, Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said on Monday at the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. The premier invited the summit’s guests to attend the inauguration of the newly expanded Suez Canal, which is to include a new lane to allow for ships to pass in opposite directions at the same time. He also called on them to invest in a commercial zone to be established near the extended Suez Canal. [Ahram Online, 3/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Endowments ministry to hold conference renewing religious speech in May | DNE
  • Prime Minister says Egypt is working on completing political roadmap | SIS
  • Sisi probes project of producer villages, new urban communities | SIS


Egypt judge arrested for participating in ‘illegal protest’
Egypt’s prosecutor-general on Monday ordered the arrest of a former Qaliubiya governor and judge, pending investigations into his participation in an illegal protest. The head of the Cairo Appeal Court, Hassan al-Naggar, participated on Monday in a protest allegedly led by members of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Nasr City district of east Cairo. Naggar will be jailed for fifteen days pending investigations, according to the Prosecutor General’s order. Police forces also arrested a number of alleged Brotherhood members for participating in the protest. [Ahram Online, 3/30/2015]

Court upholds verdict banning April 6 movement
The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters upheld on Monday a previous verdict that banned the April 6 Movement and ordered the confiscation of its properties and headquarters nationwide. The court said that the movement was involved in violent attacks against security services. The movement’s two fronts–Ahmed Maher and the Democratic Front–rejected the verdict, considering it politicized and assuring that the court’s decision will not affect its activities. It accused the regime of trying to silence youth, especially those who took part in the January 25 revolution. [Egypt Independent, 3/31/2015]

Cairo court acquits dozens of protesters arrested on revolution anniversary
A Cairo court on Tuesday acquitted dozens of detainees arrested during protests commemorating the fourth anniversary of the January 25 revolution. The court found sixty-eight detainees not guilty of charges that included blocking roads and violating a law that bans protests without prior police consent. The defendants, however, were fined EGP50,000 each (nearly $6,550) for damaging public and private property. At least twenty people, including two policemen, were killed in clashes between protesters and security forces on the fourth anniversary of the popular revolt. Rights groups at the time condemned the use of “excessive force” by the authorities to disperse the opposition rallies. [Ahram Online, 3/31/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Court upholds release of policemen accused of torturing lawyer to death |Egypt Independent
  • Ultras leader still not released says lawyer | DNE
  • Pre-trial detention renewed for six Brotherhood  members, four others arrested on charges of violence | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Court postpones trial of forty accused of killing protesters in Suez on 2011 uprising second anniversary | Shorouk (Arabic)


Visa halt negatively affects 40 percent of tourism income says former ETF Chairman
Former Chairman of the Egyptian Tourism Federation (ETF) Elhamy al-Zayat believes stopping individual visas for tourists will negatively impact the flow of tourists to Egypt during the current year. Zayat added that the decision should be revised, saying, “We were surprised by the decision of the ministry of foreign affairs. No one expressed intention to make such decision.” Individual tourism represents 25 percent of the total annual tourist flow to Egypt and 40 percent of the total tourism income, according to the former ETF chairman. The expenses of individual tourists vary from $1,000 to $2,000 a week, whereas tourists that come in groups spend a maximum of $500 a week. Meanwhile, the tourism ministry has announced a new international tourism campaign that would target emerging markets, to kick-off in August. [DNE, 3/30/2015]

  • Also of Interest
  • Egypt M2 money supply up 15.5 percent | Reuters
  • Egypt seeks to join China-based AIIB | AFP, Reuters, SIS
  • Taxes on cigarettes to net EGP31 billion this year | Egypt Independent
  • EGPC to pay $2.5 billion in LNG imports during FY 2015/2016 | DNE
  • Antiquities Minister says Ministry EGP3.7 billion in debt | Egypt Independent
  • Petroleum ministry signs project agreement to produce gasoline, butane gas | Egypt Independent
  • Survey shows Middle East funds moving to cash as risks rise but managers still clearly bullish on Egypt | Reuters


National human rights council calls for investigations into torture allegations
A delegation from the National Council for Human Rights visited a prison on Wednesday, recommending that an urgent investigation is conducted into incidents reported by prisoners, the council said. The council members went to the Abu Zaabal prison in the northeast of Cairo and met with four prisoners over complaints filed to the country’s top prosecutor “about being subjected to beatings, assaults, humiliation and torture,” a statement from the council’s media office said. The council members say prison authorities are not following the articles of the new prison bylaws. They added that it was necessary to implement the bylaws and recommended reconsidering articles on detaining people pending trial or investigation. The Legislative Reform Committee is currently discussing amendments to Egypt’s Prison Act of 1956, which would allow the General Prosecutor to investigate prison violations. Meanwhile, a prisoner, Hussein Abd al-Mawla, died in police custody, General Mahmoud Farouk, the Administrator Director of the Giza Bureau of Investigation, said Monday. Farouk said the deceased died Sunday after he “swallowed a packet of drugs, according to witnesses.” In a related incident, a prisoner died in a police van in Minya, where three police personnel are accused of “beating him,” state media reported. [Aswat Masriya, DNE, 3/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Al-Azhar completes review of religious textbooks | Egypt Independent
  • Minister says licenses of 270 employment agencies cancelled | Egypt Independent
  • Report shows Egypt uses up to 120 percent  of its water resources | Egypt Independent
  • No justice in sight for killed journalists in post-revolution Egypt | DNE
  • For years, journalists fought against restrictive laws and legislation DNE
  • Egypt’s Press Syndicate: Struggle for journalism since 19th century | DNE
  • Journalist arrested for no apparent charges in Qaliubiya | DNE, Egypt Independent
  • Journalists’ detention, electronic press among upcoming challenges says Qallash | DNE


Two policemen injured while defusing bomb in Alexandria
Two policemen were injured in an explosion that hit the Civil Protection headquarters in Alexandria Monday. A homemade explosive device was planted in the civil protection headquarters and it exploded while the bomb squad consisting of a police officer and a policeman were trying to defuse the bomb. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 3/30/31]

Also of Interest
Egypt army kills and arrests more suspects in Sinai  | Ahram Online
NGOs report detects continuous decline in violence | Egypt Independent


Egypt criticizes US reluctance to support war on terrorism
The Egyptian foreign ministry criticized US “reluctance” in supporting Egypt with its war against terrorism. The Foreign Minister’s Assistant for US affairs, Mohamed Farid Moneib, met Monday with a delegation of US Congress representatives’ assistants. The war on terrorism and Egypt’s democratic steps post-June 30 were the main topics discussed in the meeting, according to the ministry’s statement. Moneib asserted in the meeting Egypt’s keenness on enhancing “strategic relations” between the two countries. However, he expressed “discomfort towards American reluctance with supporting Egypt with its war on terrorism.” [DNE, 3/31/2015]

Egyptian warships shell Houthis outside Yemeni city of Aden
Egyptian warships shelled a column of Houthi fighters and troops loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh as they tried to advance on the southern port city of Aden on Monday, according to reports. Yemeni journalist Abdel-Aziz al-Meguidi told Ahram Online that naval forces had struck Houthi reinforcements heading from Shokra to Aden. Meanwhile, Egypt is coordinating with Saudi Arabia and Oman to facilitate the return of Egyptian expats in turmoil-hit Yemen, Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Monday. According to government figures, there are 6,000 to 7,000 Egyptian workers in Yemen.  [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, DNE, 3/31/2015]

US supports, would cooperate with proposed Arab force
The United States supports Arab plans to create a unified military force to counter growing security threats in the Middle East, and the Pentagon will cooperate with it where US and Arab interests coincide, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Monday. Carter said that US military leaders who met with him in Kuwait several weeks ago thought that regional members of the coalition fighting Islamic State militants should be encouraged to do more if they were able. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the United States was waiting to see the exact structure and operational mandate of the joint force. [Reuters, AP, 3/30/2015]

Qatar reinstates ambassador to Egypt says state agency
Qatar reinstated on Tuesday its ambassador to Cairo after a disruption which lasted over a month, the state agency MENA reported. Qatar had recalled Ambassador Saif Moqadam al-Boenain on February 19 “for consultation” after Egypt’s envoy to the Arab League charged that Doha supports terrorism. The ambassador attended the Arab League summit held in Egypt’s Sharm al-Sheikh with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa, in a possible sign of an ease in tension between the two states. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 3/31/2015]

Also of Interest
German MP states need to ‘intensify’ relationships with Egypt after al-Sisi meeting | DNE
Export bar on ancient Egyptian treasure sold by Northampton council | The Guardian
Egypt Seeks with Arab sovereign funds financing its projects in Africa | Egypt Independent
Sisi says Ethiopia has right to development with no harm to Egypt’s water interests | SIS
World Bank proposals for a better healthcare system in Egypt | Aswat Masriya
Many challenges facing proposed joint Arab military force | Mada Masr
With eye to Iran, Saudi brings Egypt, Qatar back together | Mada masr
Why is Egypt participating in Operation ‘Decisive Storm’? | Mada Masr
From desert storm, to the decisive storm | Mada Masr
Saudi Arabia, Egypt show discord over Syria | AP
Prime Minister meets vice-president of Uganda | SIS
Foreign minister to attend Syria donor conference in Kuwait | SIS
Q and A: What is the COMESA? | Aswat Masriya