Interim President Adly Mansour has issued a presidential decree reconstituting the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to be headed by the defense minister and not the president for the first time in Egypt’s history. The council’s vice president is the chief of staff. Mansour also issued a presidential decree to reconstitute the National Defense Council (NDC).


Mehleb concludes the formation of his cabinet
Prime Minister-designate finished the selection of his cabinet at the end of the day Friday and will be setting a date for the swearing in of the cabinet. He said that his government will be “a government of fighters for the good of the nation and its citizens.” The prime minister also called for a media code of honor, adding that “We are now in dire need of helping the media and press.” Last minute consultations continued on Friday to fill the remaining open ministerial positions in the new interim government, despite objections from different political groups. MENA reported that Mehleb’s cabinet will include thirty-one ministers not including the minister of defense. There are thirty-six ministries but the four vacant positions will be covered by other ministers. Seventeen ministers will stay on from the previous government. The top job at the culture ministry proved particularly difficult to fill and Saber Arab, a member of former Prime Minister Hazem Beblawy’s cabinet, will retain the  position. Adel al-Adawy has been appointed as minister of health and Hany Dimian as finance minister. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Online, 2/28/2014]

Mansour reconstitutes the SCAF and the National Defense Council
Interim President Adly Mansour has issued a presidential decree reconstituting the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to be headed by the defense minister and not the president for the first time in Egypt’s history. The council’s vice president is the chief of staff. The SCAF’s new construction sees its members comprised of twenty-three top military generals from the army, navy, air force, air defense as well as the head of military intelligence. The council will be in charge of all armed forces issues, such as declaring war and sending troops abroad. Published in the state newspaper, the decree states that the defense minister can pick council members from among his aides. The defense minister would decide which deputies should join SCAF, according to the decree, and is to call on the council to convene every three months, or whenever necessary. Any decisions would be taken by the majority of attendees. Mansour also issued a presidential decree to reconstitute the National Defense Council (NDC). Fourteen top army, police, intelligence, and cabinet officials will sit on NDC, which will be headed by the president. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 2/27/2014]

Also of Interest:
Parties call for restructuring Interior Ministry and removing minister | AMAY (Arabic)
Islamist spokesman calls for negotiating body to solve political crisis | AMAY (Arabic)
Post-June 30 fact-finding committee to release report Wednesday | AMAY (Arabic)
Presidential elections law may delay Khaled Ali decision to run | AMAY (Arabic)
Presidential adviser says election law will be given to Mansour Saturday | Tahrir (Arabic)
Minister: Authorities confirm securing all touristic areas | Aswat Masriya
Al-Sisi ‘making army arrangements’ prior to presidential bid: Moussa | Ahram Online


Cairo court rejects suspension of pro-Morsi alliance
A Cairo court has rejected a lawsuit demanding the suspension of all activities for the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL), a coalition of Islamic groups including the Muslim Brotherhood which has been rallying for months in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi. Lawyer Samir Sabry had previously filed the suit against the pro-Morsi alliance, calling for a halt in all its activities and the closure of its offices on grounds that its members were inciting violence and provoking chaos across Egypt. The same court had also designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization in December last year. [Ahram Online, 2/28/2014]

Twenty-one Azhar students sentenced to three years
A Cairo misdemeanor court has sentenced nearly two dozen Islamist students to three years in jail for illegal demonstrations, judicial sources reported on Thursday. The twenty-one Azhar University students were found guilty for protesting without a permit, as per a protest law issued late last year banning demonstrations not pre-approved by authorities. The students were also sentenced for taking part in violent events that the campus witnessed during the first academic semester. [Ahram Online, 2/27/2014]

Also of Interest:
Egypt rail workers lose appeal over deadly crash | AFP/DNE, Egypt Independent
Appeals court to examine Morsi request to reconstitute judges panel | AMAY (Arabic)
Trial of students accused of storming al-Azhar headquarters postponed to March 25 | Egypt Independent


Egypt appoints Hany Dimian finance minister
A government official confirmed that Egypt’s prime minister appointed former finance ministry official Hany Dimian as finance minister in the new government. Dimian worked as a top ministry official for more than five years until he resigned ten months ago during the term of deposed President Mohamed Morsi. [Reuters, 2/27/2014]

Also of Interest:
Egypt stocks buoyed by political news at February’s end | Ahram Online, DNE
Egypt’s M2 money supply grows 16.7% Y/Y: CBE | DNE
Samsung seeks to increase Upper Egypt’s project capacity | Aswat Masriya
Egypt central bank keeps key interest rates on hold | Reuters
Egypt: Budget deficit dropped to 4.4 percent since June 30 | Cairo Post
Egypt’s trade minister due in London next week to promote national projects | SIS
Opinion: Egypt Central Bank losing more ground | Al-Ahram Weekly


Seven pro-Morsi Facebook activists arrested
Egypt’s police has apprehended seven suspects it says are Muslim Brotherhood members accused of administering anti-police and anti-military Facebook pages. Al-Ahram‘s Arabic news website reported that the interior ministry electronically tracked the subjects who are now facing charges that include inciting violence against police and army personnel and facilities. Some of the suspects were charged with stealing the identity of police officers and giving instructions on how to manufacture homemade weapons. In January, the interior ministry said it had begun arresting anyone using social media websites to incite violence against the police and citizens. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 2/28/2014]

Egypt pressed to curb violence against journalists says IPI
Egyptian leaders must act immediately to curb police intimidation of media workers and provide a safer working environment for journalists, who have endured months of attacks from street mobs as well as security agents, the International Press Institute (IPI) said in a report released today. Since the military-led ouster of Egypt’s democratically elected president last July, at least six journalists have died on the job and dozens of others have been wounded, with some journalists saying they were attacked by mobs while police failed to intervene. Some twenty journalists are now on trial on terrorism-related charges, many of them held in jail for weeks before getting their day in court. [DNE, 2/27/2014]

Clashes between security forces and Brotherhood; One killed in Alexandria
Cairo’s Tahrir Square and Rabaa’ al-Adaweya Square witnessed tight security on Friday morning in anticipation of protests for supporters of former President Mohamed Morsi. Similar arrangements took place across Egypt in places such as Assuit. The pro-Morsi National Coalition for Supporting Legitimacy has called on its supporters to stage week-long demonstrations under the slogan “We will not be ruled by the corrupt” starting Friday. A man was killed and two others, including a child, were injured when violent clashes flared between Muslim Brotherhood supporters, Alexandria residents and security forces on Friday. The man was shot dead in the neck, a medical source at Ibrahim Ebeid Hospital said. The hospital received two others hurt in the violence. Clashes broke out after Friday’s noon prayer between residents of Alexandria’s al-Siouf area and a group of Brotherhood supporters, and ten Brotherhood members were arrested for distributing anti-government leaflets. Clashes also took place in Suez. [Aswat Masriya, AMAY (Arabic), Tahrir (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 2/28/2014]

Also of Interest:
Dentists to join doctors at partial open-ended strike starting March 8 | Egypt Independent
First Egyptian film at Oscars not shown at home | AP
Public transportation workers end strike | Egypt Independent, AMAY (Arabic)


Policeman shot dead guarding home of judge hearing Morsi case
A policeman was shot dead while guarding the home of a judge hearing one of the cases against former President Mohamed Morsi in the early hours of Friday morning. Abdallah Mohamed Abdallah, 35, was guarding the home of Judge Hussein Qandil in Daqhalia. As his colleagues from the security detail ended their shift, unknown assailants on a motorbike opened fire on the men. [Mada Masr, AP, Tahrir (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 2/28/2014]

Also of Interest:
Arrest of three Brotherhood members for shooting at police | AMAY (Arabic)
Interior Ministry defuses bomb on Giza ring road | Aswat Masriya


US State Dept report reproaches Egypt for human rights abuses
The US State Department highlighted human rights violations committed in Egypt in its 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, released on Thursday. The violations included the removal of an elected civilian government, excessive use of force on the part of security forces, the suppression of civil liberties and military trials of civilians. The report also highlighted violations committed under deposed President Mohamed Morsi’s reign, including stifling the freedom of expression, arbitrary arrests, harsh conditions in prisons, impunity for security forces and lack of religious freedom. [Mada Masr, State Dept Report, 2/27/2014]

Also of Interest:
German tour firms bring holidaymakers out of Sharm El-Sheikh | DNE
Foreign minister heads to Nigeria for summit Thursday | Egypt Independent
Nigeria calls for the return of Egypt to the African Union | Ahram (Arabic)
International demonstrations over jailed reporters in Egypt | AP
Egypt-Emirates military maneuvers kick off | Egypt Independent
British parliament: the Brotherhood wounded the Egyptian people by disappointing them | EGYNews (Arabic)
Prime Minister-designate condemns extremist actions against Jerusalem | Ahram (Arabic)