Top News: HEC Issues Regulations for Election Observation

Egypt’s High Elections Commission (HEC) issued on Wednesday regulations governing civil society’s observation of upcoming parliamentary elections.


State officials discuss criminalizing insults to ‘revolutions’ and constitution
The draft law criminalizing insults to the “revolution,” has been expanded to include insults to the constitution and its basic elements, a judicial source told Daily News Egypt Thursday. The draft law is yet to be issued as an official presidential decree, and is now under study between the Council of Ministers and the Presidency, the anonymous legal source said. The minister of transitional justice had earlier denied the existence of a draft bill.  [DNE, 12/18/2014]

HEC issues regulations for election observation
Egypt’s High Elections Commission (HEC) issued on Wednesday regulations governing civil society’s observation of upcoming parliamentary elections. In order to be granted observation permits, civil society organizations must be recognized under the NGO law, HEC spokesman Medhat Idris said, adding that the organizations must enjoy a “sound” reputation, must be impartial, and have prior experience in monitoring elections. The organization must submit a copy of its accreditation, and a document issued by the ministry of social solidarity proving its adherence to laws and regulations. A summary about the organization, its license, activities, and previous experience in monitoring elections must also be provided, as well as the total number of observers in each governorate and the name of the organization’s representative. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram (Arabic), 12/17/2014]

Also of Interest
Dostour Party criticizes presidency for ignoring protest law recommendations | Egypt Independent
Egypt constituency law sets stage for long-awaited elections | Reuters


Kuwaiti vessel captain held in custody fifteen days pending investigation
Judge Ahmed Mahfouz of the Misdemeanor Court of Hurghada ordered the detention on Thursday of the captain and second officer of the Kuwaiti vessel that killed Egyptian fishermen for fifteen days pending investigation. The defendants had been detained for four days after their ship collided in the Red Sea with an Egyptian boat carrying forty-two Egyptians. The death toll from the collision rose to twenty on Thursday, and the number of injured has reached 18, Hossam Abdel Ghaffar, Health Ministry Spokesman said. [Egypt Independent, 12/18/2014]

Egypt sends 41 Islamists to prison for rioting, acquits 60
A criminal court in southern Egypt convicted forty-one Islamists on charges of rioting in August last year, and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from one to fifteen years. Prosecutors in the city of Assiut had argued that the defendants, all supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, ordered or participated in riots there shortly after the security forces’ deadly breakup of two Islamist sit-ins in Cairo on August 14, 2013. The Assiut rioting included torching of churches and attacking government buildings. The court on Thursday also acquitted sixty defendants in the case. [AP, 12/18/2014]

Also of Interest
Trial of Habib al-Adly over graft charges adjourned to February 7 | Aswat Masriya
Egyptian civil servant could lose job for promoting Atheist beliefs | Ahram Online


EU supports Egypt with EGP 80 million in tourism investments
The European Trade Chambers has launched a new project in Egypt to develop tourism. The three-year project will have a budget of 80 million Egyptian pounds funded by the European Union as part of the EuroMed Investment II program. According to Secretary General of the Confederation of Egyptian European Business Associations Alaa Ezz, the EU is a source of more than 50 percent of foreign direct investment. “That constitutes more than 40 percent of the total European direct investment per Mediterranean countries,” he added. [Daily News Egypt, 12/17/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt signs first gas fracking contract with Apache, Shell | Ahram Online
Nearly US$38 billion lost through illegal transfers in 10 years | Mada Masr
Egypt’s market climbs 3 percent at session opening | Ahram Online
Power outages, LPG cylinder crises return in Qena, Minya | Egypt Independent
EIPR calls for more budget transparency | DNE
Stock losses continue, market declines by EGP 15.3bn | DNE
Negotiations to resume with Russia to provide natural gas via Gazprom: Deputy Russian PM | DNE
Egypt-China trade exchange to reach $11.5 billion by 2015 | Egypt Independent
Egyptian pound steady on official market, weaker on black market | Aswat Masriya


Assiut bird flu fatality raises 2014 death toll to nine
A 20-year-old female died Wednesday of bird flu in Upper Egypt’s Assiut, bringing the local death toll of the internationally spread disease to nine deaths since the beginning of 2014. A total of 191 patients have been diagnosed with bird flu since its outbreak in Egypt in 2006, 72 of whom have died. At least fifteen infections have been identified by Egypt’s health ministry this year. The ministry has announced preventive measures taken to combat the spread of bird flu and assured that the anti-viral medication use to treat bird flu, Tamiflu, is available in public hospitals across Egypt. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 12/17/2014]

Also of Interest
Borhamy calls on Endowments Minister to debate on Islamic Sharia | Egypt Independent


Two Egyptians, two UAE military officers die in plane crash
A four-member crew of military officers, two Egyptian and two Emirati, were killed Wednesday when their aircraft crashed during a joint drill, Egypt’s army and a UAE report said. The crash occurred in Egypt, the UAE’s official news agency WAM said. Egypt’s military spokesman said in a statement a technical failure caused the crash, while WAM said authorities were investigating the cause of the accident. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, 12/17/2014]

Special forces deployed to secure Cairo embassies
Special forces have been deployed to secure all embassies across Cairo in anticipation of any terrorist attacks. Interior Ministry Spokesperson, Hany Abdel Latif, said that forces were deployed on Thursday morning to cover all embassies and foreign ministries in Cairo. The British Embassy resumed its public services on Wednesday after ten days of public service suspension for undisclosed security reasons. The Canadian Embassy, however, remains closed, and there have been no reports on when it will resume services. [Mada Masr, 12/18/2014]

Also of Interest
Border guards destroy twenty Gaza tunnels | Al Bawaba (Arabic)


Egypt’s foreign ministry is working towards release of detained pilots in Sweden
Egypt’s foreign ministry is working on ending the detention of the crew of an Egyptian plane that landed Wednesday in Sweden holding Syrians with illegal papers. The plane was rented from the Egyptian Smart Aviation Company and made its way to Sweden’s Malmö Airport from Lebanon, the head of Smart Aviation Company Roshdy Zakaria said in a statement. The ten Syrians onboard the plane, according to Zakaria, had fake Swedish visas and asked for political asylum once they landed. [Ahram Online, 12/17/2014]

Also of Interest
Pope Tawadros receives Ethiopian delegation | Egypt Independent
Trial postponed for US navy engineer accused of leaks to Egypt | Egypt Independent
Egypt, South Sudan agree on program to support development projects | Egypt Independent
Assad’s cousin heads Syrian delegation to Egypt | DNE