Top News: Major Power Outage Hits Cairo and Governorates

A major power outage hit Cairo and other governorates early Thursday morning, halting several metro lines in Cairo for more than two hours.


Egypt’s Wafd Party to seek difficult parliamentary majority says party head
Egypt’s oldest liberal party, al-Wafd, will attempt to garner a majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections, party president Al-Sayed al-Badawi has said. Despite this intention, Al-Badawi criticized the elections law issued in June saying it would prevent the formation of a parliamentary majority. Nevertheless, al-Wafd will contest a majority of seats, via both party lists and through individual candidates. Al-Badawi also said party is open to postponing the elections to 2015 but only if the reason for a postponement is amending the elections law. [Ahram Online, 9/4/2014]

Also of Interest:
Prominent leftist politician Abul-Ezz al-Hariri dies at 70 | Ahram Online
Minister orders investigating wrong estimate of judicial fees | Egypt Independent
Sisi appoints new member in June 30 fact-finding committee | SIS


Egypt judge orders rights lawyers be investigated
In an unprecedented move, an Egyptian judge ordered prosecutors Wednesday to investigate three activist lawyers over his claims they “rioted” in court when they demanded to see their hunger-striking client, Ahmed Douma. Judge Mohamed Nagi Shehata ordered the investigation following a brief session and adjourned the session to September 17. Shehata is the same judge who recently sentenced three Al-Jazeera English journalists to prison on terrorism related charges. Shehata refused a request from the lawyers for them to meet with their clients before the hearing. [AP, 9/3/2014]

Court postpones lawsuit on religious parties
The Alexandria Urgent Matters Court on Wednesday postponed to the beginning of October a lawsuit filed by the Popular Front against the Brotherhoodization of Egypt. The lawsuit, filed under Article 74 of the constitution, calls for the dissolution of all political parties founded on a religious basis. The court postponed the case to review the platforms of the parties that are suspected of sectarianism. The parties concerned are the Freedom and Justice Party, New Wasat Party, Nour Party, Fadila Party, Asala Party, Renaissance and Reform Party, Renaissance Party, Strong Egypt Party, Watan Party, Construction and Development Party and Egyptian Islamic Labor Party. [Egypt Independent, DNE, 9/3/2014]

Also of Interest:
Eighteen Morsi supporters sentenced to three years in prison | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
Egypt striker Emad Meteb sentenced to six months, EGP20,000 fine for pulling gun on police officer | Ahram Online
Egyptian court suspends EGP100 million fine on steel tycoon Ezz | Ahram Online
Cairo administrative court upholds travel ban for Amr Hamzawy | Shorouk (Arabic)
Journalist detained 15 days for filming Helwan Brigades video | Mada Masr, Shorouk (Arabic)
Trial on support of Al Jazeera Misr for terrorism postponed to November 11 | Shorouk (Arabic)
Trial to withdraw Nile Medal from Morsi and Baradei postponed to November 4 | Shorouk (Arabic)


Major power outage hits Cairo and governorates
A major power outage hit Cairo and other governorates early Thursday morning, halting several metro lines in Cairo for more than two hours. Electricity Minister Ahmed Shaker apologized to Egyptians for the outage, and vowed to solve the problem before the end of the day. According to a statement by Egypt’s electricity holding company, a technical malfunction took place at Cairo’s “500-kilowatt” electricity transformer substation, leading to an electricity blackout in various parts of the city. Ministry spokesperson Mohamed al-Yamani said earlier that the problem was caused by maintenance works and efforts to shift power loads in some areas of Cairo. This blackout is the largest simultaneous power outage seen this summer in Egypt. Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority declared a state of emergency as the blackout caused a paralysis in the movement of ships, leading to a total loss of EGP100 million. The unprecedented blackout also caused huge financial losses in Suez city after steel and other factories were forced to shut down, and telecommunications in the city was paralyzed. PM Ibrahim Mahlab later said the power outage was under control. Mahlab said on Thursday that an operation room would handle the widespread power cuts. [AP, Reuters, DNE, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, 9/4/2014]

Also of Interest:
Despite slow growth, Finance Ministry sounds optimistic note | Mada Masr
Egypt’s competitiveness deteriorates for fifth consecutive year | DNE, Ahram Online
Foreign debt repayment will be completed early next year | Shorouk (Arabic)


Thousands of Egyptians evicted without compensation for Suez project
Thousands of Egyptians have been evicted from their homes without compensation to make way for a bypass to the Suez canal, one of the world’s most important trade routes. The inhabitants of two villages in the path of the proposed bypass say that 1,500 homes have already been destroyed, with a total of 5,000 under threat. Asked by the Guardian for a comment, an army spokesman said he would look into the matter before issuing a response. Soldiers told evicted villagers they had no right to live on the land as it technically had always belonged to the army. Some of those who argued back were arrested. [The Guardian, 9/3/2014]

University Students vow to return for more protests despite new security measures
The Students Against the Coup (SAC) group threatened more protests in the next academic year across several government universities in Egypt, despite ramped up security measures inside the campuses. This comes in the wake of new security measures, being considered for implementation in Egypt’s most populous universities, including banning all politically affiliated movements. Egypt’s higher education ministry is also studying a proposal to hire private security companies at universities nationwide, the minister, Sayed Abdel Khalek, said on Wednesday, “We are studying some proposals to use private security companies to secure the gates and the fences of universities, and there are set regulations for the dormitories.” The minister said he has also received proposals from some students to participate with administrative security in controlling the gates to deter acts of violence. [DNE, Ahram Online, 9/3/2014]

Also of Interest:
Egypt religious authority calls for ban on ‘obscene’ belly dancing show | Ahram Online, AP
WHO recommends tackling subliminal promotion of tobacco in media | Egypt Independent
Prison responsible for hunger striker’s health: ECESR | DNE
Report: Agricultural land encroachments reach 1,250,000 cases | Egypt Independent
Activist Mona Seif announces hunger strike in solidarity with detainees | Mada Masr, Shorouk (Arabic)


Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis claims killing of eleven Egyptian security personnel
In a video posted online on Wednesday, the Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt Al-Maqdis claimed responsibility for killing eleven security personnel, including a police officer, in an attack in North Sinai the day before. The video shows an armored vehicle being bombed as a voice in the background cheers and vows for victory. The video showed weapons and identification cards it said were retrieved from the destroyed vehicle. [Ahram Online, AFP, 9/4/2014]

Also of Interest:
Police officer kills man in Beheira | Egypt Independent


Egypt FM says Ethiopia has understanding for Egypt’s interests
Egyptian-Ethiopian relations are improving amid mutual eagerness for closer ties between the two countries, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said shortly after arrival in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, for talks on the country’s Grand Renaissance Dam project Thursday. Shoukry underlined that Ethiopia is showing concern for, and understanding of, Egyptian interests. Prior to Shoukry’s arrival in Ethiopia, Mohamed Idris, Egypt’s ambassador to Ethiopia said, “We don’t want anyone to suffer; we fully appreciate the development needs of our Ethiopian friends and we are genuinely hoping that they – for their turn – do appreciate our concern over water resources; we could work out a win-win formula if there is serious political will.” [Ahram Online, 9/4/2014]

Also of Interest:
Dar al-Ifta slams ‘barbaric’ American journalist beheading | DNE
Italy to finance development of rural coastal communities with €1 million | SIS