The government has slated 80,000 feddans of land near Al Salam Canal in Sinai for auction, to be exclusively bid on by Sinai residents. Prime Minister Hesham Qandil announced the plan on Monday as part of government efforts to increase Sinai’s population to 3 million within five years. 

Govt scheme aims to increase Sinai population through land reclamation
The government has slated 80,000 feddans of land near Al Salam Canal in Sinai for auction, to be exclusively bid on by Sinai residents. Prime Minister Hesham Qandil announced the plan on Monday as part of government efforts to increase Sinai’s population to 3 million within five years. Official sources at the Ministry of Agriculture said that the government also intends to expand agricultural and tourism projects in the area, and initiate the cultivation of 400,000 feddans that have been unused since work on the Al Salam Canal project was halted in 2006 under former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif. [Egypt IndependentDaily News EgyptAllAfrica/SISAhram Online, 10/29/2012]
Brotherhood Shura to appoint new members
The Muslim Brotherhood guidance office invited the internal Brotherhood Shura Council to elect new guidance office members in November. The Shura Council is the legislative body of the MB, elected by its members. The council appoints the guidance office, which heads the MB. The meeting comes after two guidance office members were lost to governmental positions. Essam El-Hadad, now presidential assistant for foreign affairs, and Mohamed Aly Beshr, now governor of Menufiya, need to be replaced by elected representatives. [Daily News Egypt, 10/30/2012]
New coalition demands prosecutor general step down
The ‘Revolution for Judicial Independence’ coalition is holding a protest on Tuesday afternoon in front of the High Court building in downtown Cairo, to demand the dismissal of current prosecutor general Abdel Meguid Mahmoud. The coalition, which was formed last week, is made up of 27 political parties and movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. 54 other parties and movements have issued a statement in support of the prosecutor general, rejecting calls for his resignation, among them the New Wafd Party and the Arab Nasserist Party. [Ahram OnlineEGYNews (Arabic) 10/30/2012]

Makhyoun: Constituent Assembly members will reach consensus
Leaders of political parties with representatives in the Constituent Assembly will convene on Tuesday to discuss achieving consensus between Islamist and liberal groups on controversial constitutional articles, said assembly member and Nour Party leader Younis Makhyoun. Speaking to the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper, Makhyoun played down political disagreements, evidenced by Islamists’ calls for demonstrations Friday to demand Sharia as the country’s main source of legislation. “Those are merely differences in points of views which we seek to overcome with consensus,” he said. He added that assembly members have agreed on all constitutional articles except for ten that are related to freedoms, women’s rights and presidential powers. [Egypt IndependentEGYNews (Arabic) 10/30/2012]
Case requesting Mubarak release on health grounds postponed
The Supreme Administrative Court on Tuesday postponed review of a case calling for the release of former President Hosni Mubarak on health grounds to 18 December, according to state television. Lawyers Youssry Abdel Razeq and Mohamed Abdel Razeq asked the court to issue a preliminary ruling to dispatch a medical panel to examine Mubarak and prepare a report on his condition. The lawsuit stated that Mubarak could die as he currently does not have the necessary equipment for his treatment. It added that his death would affect Egypt’s international reputation as supporting the rule of law. [Egypt IndependentDaily News Egypt, 10/30/2012]
Egypt court cancels gov’t contract with gold-mining giant Centamin
Egypt’s largest gold producer Centamin PLC is being ordered to halt operations at the country’s Sukari gold mine after an Egyptian administrative court cancelled its contract with the government. Egypt’s State Council said the Tuesday ruling was reached after the court decided there had been irregularities in the way Centamin had renewed its contract to exploit the country’s largest gold mine. The latest renewal was carried out by a government official, without passing through Egypt’s lower house of Parliament as it customary, the Council said. Centamin saw more than a third of its stockmarket value wiped out on Tuesday before trading was suspended. [Ahram OnlineReutersEgypt Independent, 10/30/2012]

EU, US suspend US$1 billion grant to Egypt pending IMF loan agreement 
The European Union and the United States have suspended two grants to Egypt worth US$1 billion until Cairo signs a deal for a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary fund. An IMF source, who asked not to be named, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Egypt cannot benefit from the loans and donations provided by the Deauville Partnership before signing off on the IMF loan. The source added that Egypt remains unable to present a thorough economic plan to obtain the IMF loan, adding that Egyptian strategy lacks specific executive obligations and measures. The source claimed that Egypt can easily cancel subsidies on 95 octane fuel as a first step towards rationing. [Egypt Independent, 10/30/2012]
Egypt to set up industrial zones in Algeria, Ethiopia
Egypt plans to establish two industrial zones in Algeria and Ethiopia in an effort to boost economic ties with African countries, Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) reported last week. On his recent two-day visit to Algeria, Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil said his government hoped to see increased investment in the North African nation, adding that the planned industrial zone would assist in the production of construction materials. [Ahram Online, 10/29/2012]

Rafah residents find ‘explosive belt’ in city square
Rafah residents on Tuesday found an “explosive belt” in a square in the city and reported it to local security. Security authorities cordoned off the area and summoned an explosives expert. A security source said eyewitnesses testified to seeing two masked men on a motorbike throw the belt near a fountain located in the square before fleeing. [Egypt Independent, 10/30/2012]

Al-Azhar to release document on women’s rights in November
The terms of a so-called “Women’s Document” have been agreed upon and will be issued by the beginning of November, Mahmoud Azab, adviser to Al-Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb, said Monday. Azab told Turkish news agency Anadolu that the document, which will serve as a reference for drafting legislation related to women’s issues, was co-drafted by “a committee of Al-Azhar scholars and education, media and sociology experts.” The document aims to “develop the future vision of Egyptian women in the coming years, and change the community culture on women and their role in society, in accordance with Islamic Sharia,” Azab said. [Egypt Independent, 10/29/2012]
Brotherhood campaign urges citizens to vote for constitution
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau has instructed Freedom and Justice Party leaders to organize a door-to-door campaign urging citizens to vote for the draft that is expected to be put for referendum in December. An informed Brotherhood source, who asked not to be named, told Al-Masry Al-Youm that Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater had tasked the FJP’s Vice Chairman, Essam al-Erian, and Cairo Secretary Mohamed al-Beltagy to lead the campaign in Cairo and Upper Egypt, while FJP board member Farid Ismail and former Brotherhood MP Azza al-Garf would oversee the initiative in Lower Egypt. According to the source, the campaign’s motto, "Protect Your Constitution," was meant to convey the danger liberal groups pose to the first constitutional draft, issued last week. [Egypt Independent, 10/30/2012]
Islamists call off Sharia protests
Islamists have postponed demonstrations previously scheduled for Friday demandingSharia as the main source of legislation in the country’s new constitution. Jama’a al-Islamiya leader Tarek al-Zomor said in a press conference on Tuesday, aired by Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, that any reference to Sharia in the constitution should be complete, referring to the draft’s current wording that cites the "principles of Sharia" as the main source of Egypt’s laws. [Egypt Independent, 10/30/2012]
Three candidates elected to enter final lottery in bid for Coptic papacy
Acting head of the Coptic Orthodox Church Bishop Pachomious announced the results of Monday’s vote in a press conference on Monday evening. Bishop Raphael, 54, of central Cairo received the most votes with 1,980. Bishop Tawadros, 60, of Beheira came in second with 1,623 votes and the monk Father Raphael Ava Mina, 70, came in third with 1,530. Pachomious said voter turnout was at over 93 percent with 2,256 voters submitting ballots out of a possible 2,417. 161 Copts who had been invited to vote did not submit ballots and two were marked invalid [Daily News EgyptAhram Online,10/29/2012]
Photo: Coptic voters select three out of five papal nominees. (Daily News Egypt)