Top News: Justice Ministry Drafting Law to Ensure President’s Accountability

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The Justice Ministry is drafting a new law to guarantee accountability for the president. 


Justice Ministry drafting law to ensure president’s accountability
The Justice Ministry is drafting a new law to guarantee accountability for the president. “The committee assigned by Justice Ministry to draft the law is currently considering laws that hold presidents accountable in other countries to select the best models, as a basis for the Egyptian one,” Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki told the Turkish news agency Anadolu on Monday. “Once the draft law is finished, it will be posted on the ministry’s Facebook page and then be submitted to social dialogue," he added. [Egypt Independent, 3/18/2013]

Opposition outraged as Military Academy accepts Brotherhood recruits
The Military Academy has accepted Muslim Brotherhood members among its new recruits this year, ending a years-old ban, academy director Major General Esmat Mourad said on Monday. “If they indulge in politics after they graduate, the military law would be applied to them,” Mourad said. “And if while still at the academy, they are dismissed.” In response to the announcement, a number of party leaders spoke out against what they call the “brotherhoodization” of the military institution, claiming that the enrollment of President Morsi’s nephew and other Brotherhood members was a disaster. [Egypt Independent, SIS, 3/18/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s parliamentary affairs minister resigns for medical reasons | Ahram Online
Muslim Brotherhood will not be dragged into violence instigated by certain political forces | IkhwanWeb
Abdel Maqsoud: Unregulated media is more dangerous than a security vacuum | EGYNews
Moussa: time not suitable for elections | Egypt Independent


Public Prosecutor orders probe into deadly Shubra clashes
Public Prosecutor Talaat Abdallah has ordered immediate investigations into bloody clashes that erupted in the Cairo neighborhood of Shubra on Monday and led to the killing of three people and the injury of dozens others. Over 40 cars and 10 shops were also damaged in the clashes. According to investigations, the two men had a fist fight before the son of Gamal Saber, coordinator of the campaign that supported disqualified presidential candidate Hazem Salah Abu Ismail, stabbed Saad Dorra, 15, leading to his death. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, Ahram (Arabic), 3/19/2013]

Court to review charges pressed against president
An Egyptian court will review on Tuesday a lawsuit filed against President Mohamed Morsi, accusing him of not taking action to bring to justice those responsible for deaths that occurred in 2011 by the cabinet building.   Relatives of three victims who were killed in what was dubbed later as "cabinet clashes" pressed charges against the president for not holding the military council, which ruled Egypt then, accountable for the deaths. [Aswat Masriya, 3/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Administrative Court delay hearing on voter database to April 2 | Shorouk (Arabic)
Ultras released on bail after accused of storming Monufiya court | Egypt Independent, DNE
Prosecutor general issues gag order on Mubarak corruption case | Egypt Independent
Appeals by Mubarak, Nazif, Adli in communications cutoff case referred to administrative court | SIS


Election limbo keeps Egypt’s IMF loan on ice
Once parliamentary elections are out of the way, Egypt stands a chance of securing an International Monetary Fund loan to help address its currency and budget crisis; the problem is that no one knows when that will be. With face-to-face contact between Egypt and the IMF re-established this week after a two-month gap, both sides are pushing for urgent action, but with strikingly different emphases. President Mohamed Morsi’s government wants a full $4.8 billion (3.17 billion pounds) loan, as agreed in principle last November, but based on a gentler reform program than originally planned, "in light of preserving growth rates, employment and protecting the poor". By contrast, the IMF’s top official for the region, Masood Ahmed, spoke only of "possible financial support" after he met the government and central bank in Cairo on Sunday. [Reuters, SIS, 3/19/2013] 

Fuel shortage violence leads to deaths and injuries
Violence associated with an escalating diesel fuel shortage occurred in several governorates across Egypt on Sunday. A driver was killed in Beni Suef, while 14 were injured in clashes over fuel in Qalyubiya and Assiut. Several drivers blocked the agriculture road in Beni Suef and Gharbiya. Train and vehicles traffic was completely blocked in al-Mahalla al-Kobra city, as a result of a drivers’ strike in protest against fuel shortages. Conflict erupted between two drivers at a gasoline station in Moneeb area in Giza. One was shot, and the victim’s brother was injured while trying to end the dispute. A police report was filed, and the suspect arrested and referred to prosecution. [AFP/Egypt Independent, 3/19/2013]

Minister threatens to sue striking bakers; Bakers storm Supply Ministry again
Egypt plans to start rationing subsidized bread, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade Bassem Ouda said on Tuesday, restricting supplies of cheap loaves upon which many Egyptians depend as the cash-strapped state tries to curb spending. Egyptian bakers will face legal action if they carry out a threat to strike, he added, raising the stakes in the dispute linked to subsidies. The prospect of a bakers’ strike has compounded a sense of economic crisis in a country where a drop in foreign currency reserves has already caused fuel shortages and raised the potential for more social unrest. Hundreds of bakery owners stormed into the headquarters of the Supply Ministry in Cairo, blocking Qasr al-Aini Street on Tuesday. They were protesting the shortage of diesel, and the rise in the prices of gasoline, diesel and flour. [Egypt Independent, Reuters/Ahram Online, 3/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Building boom troubles Egypt farmers | BBC
Workers disagree on Ideal privatization | DNE
On first Egypt visit, IFC head says investors await clarity, commitment from government | Egypt Independent


Police extend detention of 15 protesters, arrest 3 Brotherhood members
South Cairo prosecutor Tarek Abu Ziad ordered the detention for four extra days of 15 protesters arrested during clashes on Sunday night at the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Moqattam, pending investigations. The 15 detainees were arrested during clashes between angry protesters and Central Security Forces, who were securing the headquarters, located in a south-eastern Cairo suburb. They are facing charges of assaulting security forces, illegal assembly and destroying police cars. Activists claimed online that detainees were interrogated at Helwan Police Station early in the morning without lawyers. The office of the prosecutor-general also ordered on Monday the arrest of three people who work for the Muslim Brotherhood’s guidance bureau headquarters. The men – Soheib Mohamed, Mostafa al-Sadawy and Ahmed Abou Raia – are suspected of assaulting six journalists. [Ahram Online, 3/18/2013]

Also of Interest:
Unprecedented security measures in Sinai | SIS


Chief editor resigns from Supreme Council for Journalism
Khaled Salah, editor-in-chief of the independent daily Youm7 newspaper and member of the Supreme Council for Journalism, announced his resignation from the council on air during his talk show on Monday. Salah attributed his resignation to the council’s silence regarding attacks on journalists, pointing to the attack on those covering clashes in front of the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Moqattam Saturday. [Egypt Independent, 3/18/2013]

Egypt’s Mahalla brought to standstill by protests, strikes
Intensive strikes and protests against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi completely halted traffic in the industrial city of Mahalla in the Nile Delta on Monday. Aswat Masriya reported that thousands of students embarked on marches, calling for the ouster of the incumbent regime and the rule of the "Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood." The Brotherhood, the Islamist group from which Morsi hails, is believed by many of the opposition to be the actual ruling body. Opponents argue that the group’s Supreme Guide, Mohamed Badie, is the country’s de facto ruler. Protests against both men and the powerful Islamist group caused the closure of around 1,300 factories. Students also failed to reach their schools and universities, while shops also were shut down due to the protests and the ensuing traffic problems. [Ahram Online, 3/18/2013]

New Egyptian Facebook Page Created to Expose Sexual Harassers
A new Facebook page has been created to expose sexual harassers in Egypt by calling on women to post photos of men caught in the act. It’s the latest effort by campaigners to end gender-based violence and intimidation. The Arabic-language page, called “Embarrass a Harasser, The Public Record of Harassers,” was set up five days ago by a group of girls in Egypt and has attracted more than 9,000 followers so far. [Bloomberg, 3/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Brotherhood losses in Egypt press syndicate polls suggest waning popularity | Ahram Online
Muslim Brotherhood Students Favorite to Win Egypt Student Union Presidency | IkhwanWeb
Activist slapped outside Brotherhood office speaks out | Egypt Independent
Egyptian film dubbed ‘Muslim Brotherhood production’ causes media controversy | Ahram Online


US lawmakers push to restructure Egypt aid, Erian lashes out
US lawmakers have seized upon a domestic spending bill as a chance to tighten controls on how Egypt’s Islamist government can use well over $1 billion in military and other aid that Washington sends to Cairo each year. Five senators – four Republicans and one Democrat – offered separate amendments related to the aid to a fast-track spending measure that seeks to avert a government shutdown on 27 March. Vice President of the Freedom and Justice Party Essam al-Erian accused the US on Tuesday of undermining democratic values and causing a universal financial and economic catastrophe. “The US has failed to build any democratic regime that respects the values and rules of democracy in any place it has occupied or with whose leaders it has allied,” he declared. [Reuters/Ahram Online, AFP/Egypt Independent, 3/19/2013]

Libya-Egypt relations face challenges
A delegation from the prosecutor’s office will fly to Libya to follow up on the recent attack on an Egyptian church in Benghazi, as well as the murder of a Copt and the continued detention of Egyptians there. The Egyptian Coptic Church in Benghazi was attacked for the second time on Thursday, marking the third time an Egyptian church in Libya was attacked in recent months. Meanwhile, residents of Salloum in the Matrouh governorate have blocked the road connecting Egypt and Libya in protest at new visas rules imposed by Tripoli. Libyan authorities now require Egyptians to acquire a 10-day visa costing the equivalent of 500EGP ($73). [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online, 3/19/2013]

Egyptian police arrest top Gaddafi aide in Cairo
Egyptian police have arrested a close aide and cousin of former Libyan ruler Moammar Gaddafi in Cairo’s Zamalek. Police, in coordination with Interpol, surrounded the residence of Gadhaf al-Dam early on Tuesday morning. Al-Dam was holed up behind iron-barred doors and windows and gunfire was reported at the scene. Al-Dam defected to Egypt at the beginning of the Libyan revolution in 2011. [Egypt Independent, AP, DNE, Ahram Online, Ahram (Arabic), 3/19/2013]

Egypt’s Morsi eyes stronger ties with ‘friend’ Pakistan, India
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said his country will continue its support for Pakistan, labelling the conservative Islamic country a "friend" while meeting Monday with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad. Morsi underlined the "distinguished bilateral relations" between both countries, which he said reflects a desire to develop more cooperation in technology, military cooperation and economic development. He called on the Pakistani government to increase its investment in Egypt during his visit. In a meeting with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday morning, Morsi discussed regional and international issues of interest, including the Syrian crisis and the Palestinian problem. He will meet with Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari among other senior officials. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, The Hindu, SIS, 3/19/2013]

Also of Interest:
Ten years on: ElBaradei criticizes Iraq war | Ahram Online
Egyptian president urges end to Syrian ‘bloodshed’ | Ahram Online
Egypt ultraconservatives send aid truck to Gaza | Aswat Masriya

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