Top News: Judges Declare Sit-in Protesting Judiciary Law

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Young judges and prosecutors will go to their jobs in the morning then participate in a sit-in at the High Court building in the afternoon until the upper house of parliament ceases its attempts to amend the law, Judges’ Club President Ahmed al-Zind announced at a Tuesday press conference. 


Supply Ministry report warns of famine in five months
A report prepared by the Ministry of Supply and Internal Trade and presented to the cabinet warns that Egypt could face famine in five months due to a shortage of basic commodities including wheat, sugar and cooking oil. According to the report, Egypt’s wheat supplies, both domestic and imported, stand at about 3.8 million tons, and will last only until November, while sugar supplies will last only until October, oil supplies until June and rice until August. [ONA (Arabic), 5/30/2013]

Also of Interest:
A committee of public figures and parties to oversee Dostour Party elections tomorrow | Shorouk (Arabic)


Judges declare sit-in protesting judiciary law 
Judges have declared their intention to begin an open-ended sit-in at the High Court building in protest of the Shura Council discussing amendments to the judiciary law. Young judges and prosecutors will go to their jobs in the morning then participate in a sit-in at the High Court building in the afternoon until the upper house of parliament ceases its attempts to amend the law, Judges’ Club President Ahmed al-Zind announced at a Tuesday press conference. The decision came from the Judges’ Club’s legal defence and youth committees and was approved by the club leadership, he said. Meanwhile, differences at the Judges Club in Alexandria over the handling of this issue led some judges to threaten their resignation. [DNEShorouk (Arabic), 5/30/2013]

Wasat Party head Sultan released on bail
Head of the Islamist Wasat Party Essam Sultan, a former MP, was released on bail on Wednesday. On Tuesday, prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for Sultan and requested that the political immunity of Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council member Sobhi Saleh be lifted, so that the pair could be investigated on allegations that they had insulted the judiciary. Sultan responded to the arrest warrant on Wednesday, and was released by prosecutors on the same day after posting bail of LE5,000. [Ahram Online, ONA (Arabic), 5/29/2013]

Admin Court postpones Sadat lawsuit
The Administrative Judiciary Court postponed the case filed by Roqia Sadat, daughter of the late President Anwar Sadat, against the head of the Shura Council, Ahmed Fahmy, and President of the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) Hossam al-Gheriany. The case was postponed until the first of September, according to state-owned news agency Ahram. Sadat filed a lawsuit demanding NCHR and the Shura Council revoke their decision to grant Osama Rushdie, former leader of al-Jama’a al-Islamiya, membership of the NCHR. Sadat justified her claim by saying Rushdie was one of the accused involved in the assassination of the late president and therefore is unqualified to work for the NCHR, whose principle task is to ensure respect for basic human rights, upholding international conventions, and defending citizens from any violation of their rights. [DNE, 5/29/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egyptian court adjourns retrial in jihadist case | Ahram Online
Cathedral defendants released on 2,000EGP bail | ONA (Arabic)
Court freezes former Minister of Agriculture’s assets in corruption case | AMAY
Trial of state security officers accused of torture postponed to September 22 | AMAY
Religious preacher slapped with fine for insulting Egyptian actress | Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent


Egypt drags its feet in privatization tussle
Re-nationalization rulings on companies privatized under the corrupt Mubarak regime place Morsi’s government in a difficult position. Egyptian courts have issued at least 11 rulings in the two years since the revolution that toppled Mubarak ordering the state to reverse deals signed by the former president’s administration. Dozens more lawsuits are currently being heard by courts. [Reuters, 5/30/2013]

Egyptian central bank ‘unaware’ of Islamic bonds program
Governor of Egypt’s Central Bank Hisham Ramez said that he is unaware of the government’s plans to issue Islamic bonds (sukuk) worth $12 billion by next year’s outset, reported al-Ahram’s Arabic-language website on Thursday. On Wednesday, Reuters reported that Egypt aims to issue sovereign Islamic bonds early next year, which could help ease pressure on its public finances. [Ahram Online, 5/30/2013]

Egypt military budget allocations to reach LE31 bn in 2013/14: Source
The state budget allocation for Egypt’s military is set to rise by LE3.4 billion (approx. $0.5 billion) in the 2013/14 fiscal year to reach some LE31 billion (approx. $4.4 billion), an official military source, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Ahram Online on Tuesday. One day earlier, another military source – also preferring anonymity – told al-Ahram’s Arabic-language news website that the planned military budget allocations  were "not enough to buy a single submarine," given the current global price hike on arms and advanced weaponry. According to Egypt’s 2013/14 state budget, unveiled last month by the Shura Council, military allocations only represent between 3 and 4 percent of the total. [Ahram Online, 5/29/2013]

Also of Interest:
Ethiopian Nile move drives Egypt’s EGX30 downward | Ahram Online
Egypt sells $2.7 billion Euro notes to finance budget deficit | Bloomberg
Egypt sells $38.5 mln at forex auction | Egypt Independent
Egypt inflation set to climb to 10.9%, says IMF | Egypt Independent


Culture Minister responds to criticisms over sackings, Artists outraged
Egypt’s Actors’ Syndicate condemned calls made by Islamist Members of the Parliament (MPs) to ban the art of ballet on Thursday. Egyptian artists issued a statement, decrying controversial remarks made by members of the Shura Council (upper house of parliament) regarding the classic dance genre. The statement comes against the backdrop of Culture Minister Alaa Abdel-Aziz’s decision to dismiss three senior culture ministry officials. Professor Said Tawfik, secretary-general of Egypt’s Supreme Council for Culture (SCC), resigned on Wednesday to protest the recent move and against what he called attempts to brotherhoodize the culture ministry. Abdel-Aziz responded to criticisms, saying that his decisions aimed to breathe new life that reflected the spirit of the January 25 revolution. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, ONA (Arabic), 5/30/2013]

AUC New Cairo campus closed on power shortages
The American University of Cairo closed their New Cairo campus on Thursday, and it will remain closed throughout the weekend, according to the university. The decision came in light of power and water shortages the campus has been suffering since Wednesday. The university’s twitter account made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that due to a shortage in the domestic water supply, the air-conditioning units were not functioning. As a result, the university announced it would suspend classes in its New Cairo campus, but classes in the Tahrir campus would continue. [DNE, 5/30/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s anti-Morsi ‘Rebel’ campaign: An inside look | Ahram Online
Egypt’s Rebel campaign to hold press conference in Gharbeya | Ahram Online
Silent march against sexual harassment in Egypt’s Baltim | Aswat Masriya
More labor protests due to unpaid wages | DNE


US urges Nile Basin countries to cooperate over Nile dam
The US State Department praised efforts by Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan in studying the effects of the diversion of the Blue Nile. An official statement said, “We commend the current efforts of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to jointly examine the downstream impacts of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). We urge the countries to continue working together to minimize negative downstream impacts and work together to jointly develop the Blue Nile basin for the benefit of all the people of the region.” Egypt has conveyed to Ethiopia through its ambassador in Addis Ababa and the Ethiopian Ambassador in Cairo a message that the Nile water is an important issue to the Egyptians and their life. President Mohamed Morsi will discuss the Ethiopian dam crisis with key Egyptian ministers on Thursday. Egypt said Ethiopia should remain committed to honoring its pledges in this respect. Sheikh Abdel Akher Hammad, al-Jama’a al-Islamiya’s mufti, has said that Ethiopia’s decision on Tuesday to divert the Blue Nile was "a declaration of war," but added that the solution for the time being should involve diplomatic efforts. Salafi leader Hazem Salah Abu Ismail claimed that Arab countries are financing the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, adding that "Arab countries like Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE have paid Ethiopia to reclaim large expanses of land." Meanwhile Hamdeen Sabbahi, leader of the Popular Current, said that Egypt should bar countries financing the Nile Dam from crossing the Suez Canal. [ONA (Arabic), Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 5/30/2013]

Also of Interest:
Qatar develops keen interest in Egypt’s cultural heritage | Ahram Online
Delegation from the health ministry visits S. Korea to study health insurance | ONA (Arabic)

Photo by: Ahmed Al Malky/DNE

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