Top News: Marches head to Tahrir against Brotherhood rule

Feb 8 Protest Egypt Reuters.jpg

Hundreds marched from Mostafa Mahmoud mosque in the Cairo suburb of Mohandeseen to Tahrir Square in an anti-government demonstration. 


President’s office condemns fatwa urging murder of NSF leaders
Egypt’s presidential office has condemned the practice of or invitation to political violence, as said in a Thursday statement. The released presidential statement comes two days after a cleric from Al-Azhar issued a religious edict – on air – giving the green light to kill opposition leaders Mohamed ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabbahi. "Practicing religious violence or threatening to do so has become one of the gravest challenges facing the Arab Spring," the presidential statement said.  "Egyptians must join hands to avoid the danger of civil strife and face attempts to spread division… Some are promoting and inciting political violence while others who claim to speak in the name of religion are permitting ‘killing’ based on political differences and this is terrorism," read the statement. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, DNE, SIS, 2/8/2013]

Hamdeen Sabbahi defies death threats, vows to continue revolutionary path
Opposition figure Hamdeen Sabbahi said on Friday that peaceful protests will continue until the revolution’s goals have been achieved and until retribution for all slain protesters has been achieved. Sabbahi stated that this would take place regardless of death threats against him or other members of opposition umbrella group the National Salvation Front (NSF). “Our faith in the revolution kills any threats,” Sabbahi, who stood as a presidential candidate in last year’s elections, stated on his official Twitter account on Friday. [Ahram Online, Ahram (Arabic), 2/8/2013]

Also of Interest:
Ministry of Interior demands budget increase to LE66 billion | Watan (Arabic)
Opposition prepares for another Friday of protests | DNE
Egyptian drug rehab centre in torture case not registered: Ministry | Ahram Online


Report against NSF leaders referred to Egypt’s state security prosecution
Prosecutor-General Talaat Abdullah has referred on Thursday a report against National Salvation Front (NSF) leaders – accusing them of supporting vigilante groups to overthrow the government – to the Supreme State Security Prosecution for investigation. The report, filed by lawyer Essam Khalil, accuses Constitution Party head Mohamed ElBaradei, Popular Current leader Hamdeen Sabbahi, Conference Party head Amr Moussa, Constitution Party member Gamila Ismail, Wafd Party head El-Sayed El-Badawi and other figures in the NSF for inciting the public against President Mohamed Morsi. Khalil said in his report that the NSF leaders support groups such as the ‘Black Bloc’ that call for the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood rule, by providing "political cover to their terrorist actions." [Ahram Online, 2/7/2013]

Prosecution denies asking for revocation of Zend’s immunity
The prosecution has not asked the Supreme Judicial Court to lift the immunity of Judges Club head Ahmed al-Zend, declared Hassan Yassin on Monday, denying rumors to the contrary. Yassin, the head of the prosecutor general’s technical office, told state-run news agency MENA that rumors of Zend facing charges of illegally seizing land are false, and that the prosecution has not filed any report in the matter, nor attempted to lift Zend’s immunity in order to interrogate him. He called on the media to verify news stories and stick to accuracy when publishing news pertaining to the prosecution’s office. [Egypt Independent, DNE, Ahram (Arabic), 2/8/2013]

Egypt’s prosecutor-general hints at new former regime charges

Egypt’s prosecutor-general Talaat Abdullah stated on Thursday that in the upcoming weeks, ongoing investigations are set to reveal "important information" involving a number of former regime members. He did not, however, mention who specifically would be targeted by these investigations. Abdullah’s statements come at a time when several former regime figures are facing trials, including Safwat El-Sherif, former head of the Shura Council (parliament’s upper house) who was released on Thursday after being acquitted on charges of squandering public money. However, El-Sherif faces a number of other cases against him. [Ahram Online, Al Jazeera (Arabic), 2/8/2013]


IMF postpones loan talks, again
The International Monetary Fund has once again postponed negotations on a long-awaited US$4.8 billion loan to Egypt, said a government source. The loan, along with other loans and grants from various countries and financial institutions that are contingent on the approval of the IMF loan, are needed to bridge a budget deficit that is expected to hit LE200 billion this fiscal year. The IMF would grant the loan if the government immediately implements reform measures, such as reducing commodity subsidies and providing guarantees that the loan enjoys a community consensus, the source added. [Egypt Independent, 2/7/2013]

Egypt’s turmoil slows European bank divestments
Egypt’s deteriorating political situation, together with the resultant sharp drop in its currency, threaten to hamper further selloffs, with international banks unwilling to accept the fire-sale prices that are increasingly on offer. For investment bankers on the hunt for fees, it threatens to be a lengthy wait for dealmaking to revive. “People who sold last year appear a lot smarter now than those who waited," said one financial institutions group banker, asking not to be quoted because of the sensitivity of his position advising clients. "Clearly, the current situation in Egypt does not look like it would lure even the most bullish of investors," the banker said. European banks, under pressure to cut costs and bolster their capital levels in the post-credit crunch regulatory clampdown, have been looking to sell Egyptian operations to regional banks more familiar with the country’s politics and bullish on its long-term prospects. [Reuters, 2/8/2013]

Price hikes for food, medicine
The overall index of food prices went up by 1 percent last week, said Osama Sultan of the Federation of Egypt Chambers of Commerce (FECC). “Prices of rice went up 14 percent, and poultry 15 percent,” he noted. Yasser al-Shazly, an economic researcher, attributed the rise in poultry prices to a rise in the price of feed, and to bad weather conditions. An FECC report said several medications have also gone up in price due to the dollar rising by 12 percent against the Egyptian pound, which affects the cost of imported raw material. The report added that there is a shortage of 100 types of medicines. [Egypt Independent, 2/8/2013]


Egyptian police boost security after Belaid assassination
Egyptian interior ministry spokesman Hani Abdel-Latif said that special attention would be given to the security of political figures after the assassination of Tunisian leading opposition figure Chokri Belaid in Tunis on Wednesday. In a statement to Al-Ahram’s Arabic website, Abdel-Latif said Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim gave orders to this effect, dispatching extra security patrols around the residences of prominent political figures. Belaid was assassinated in front of his home early on Wednesday morning by an unidentified gunman. The assassination fomented existing anger against the ruling Islamist party Ennahda, leading angry protesters to attack Ennahda offices in several provinces. [Ahram Online, 2/7/2013]

Also of Interest:
Security raids Port Said flat, suspect attempts to launch grenade | Egypt Independent


Draft NGOs bill ‘more repressive’ than Mubarak era law: CIHRS
Egypt’s justice ministry held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss a new draft law regulating the work of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Egypt. The Cairo Institute for Human Right Studies (CIHRS), which attended the meeting, voiced its opposition to the proposed law, perceiving it as oppressive and claiming it attempts to "nationalise civil society and turn it into a governmental body." The new draft law reportedly restricts NGO activities to development and social care only, and deems human rights groups, as well as law and constitutional awareness organisations, “political parties.” "The proposed law is more restrictive than Law 84/2002, which is currently in force. The draft law is more repressive and hostile to civil society organisations than all laws and draft bills under the rule of Nasser, Mubarak and the supreme military council," read a statement issued by CIHRS Thursday. [Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), 2/7/2013]

Muslim Brotherhood’s El-Erian sends ‘message of respect’ to Egypt’s women
As increasing reports of sexual harassment and violence targeting female protesters have been creating uproar amongst Egyptians, leading Muslim Brotherhood member and Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) Vice President Essam El-Erian sent a message of appreciation to Egypt’s women. In a post made early Thursday on his Facebook page, El-Erian stated that in every man’s life there are people who have made a huge difference and impacted him greatly. El-Erian mentioned his mother’s efforts as a widow, raising him and his three siblings into faithful, loving and responsible men. Several protesters have accused the Brotherhood of using organised harassment as a tactic to scare off dissenting protesters. [Ahram Online, 2/7/2013]

Marches head to Tahrir against Brotherhood rule
Hundreds have started marching from Mostafa Mahmoud mosque in the Cairo suburb of Mohandeseen to Tahrir Square in an anti-government demonstration. A number of leading opposition groups called for mass protests on Friday against Mohamed Morsi’s regime and in favour of the revolution’s demands.  Hundreds more have started marching from Nour mosque in Abbasiya to the presidential palace in Heliopolis. In Alexandria, hundreds have also started marching from Qaed Ibrahim mosque in anti-government rallies. Hundreds are also marched in Damietta against the government. Marches are also taking place in Mansoura, Tanta, Kafr Sheikh, Mahala, Samanoud and Damanhour in the Delta, and Port Said and Suez on the Suez Canal where some clashes have broken out between protesters and security forces. The demonstrators chanted against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi, who hails from its ranks. Demonstrators also chanted against police brutality. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), Youm7 (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), 2/8/2013]

Also of Interest:
Tahrir Imam holds Morsi accountable for ‘betraying revolution’ | Ahram Online
Protests planned across the governorates Friday | Egypt Independent
Bassem Youssef: ‘I don’t know where Egypt is going, but let’s have fun going there!’ | DNE


Egypt looks to new regional plan on Syria
At the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit in Cairo, the leaders of Egypt, Turkey and Iran came together to discuss a recent political initiative made by Syrian opposition figure Moaz Al-Khatib to initiate dialogue between Syrian opposition and the regime, in search of a political deal to end almost two years of bloodshed in the country. Earlier this week, Al-Khatib, a leading figure of the Syrian opposition, acknowledged the need for dialogue with the Syrian regime to end the conflict and reach a political outcome. Although he threatened on Thursday to withdraw his initiative if the regime of Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad failed to release female political prisoners in the next few hours, regional diplomats participating in the summit, which opened yesterday in Cairo, agreed that contacts with Al-Khatib show that he would move on with his initiative if he gets a positive reaction from the Syrian regime, and if regional powers agree to help him. [Ahram Online, SIS, AFP/Egypt Independent, 2/7/2013]

Egypt, Turkey hope to double bilateral trade, says Morsy
Egypt and Turkey plan to double trade transactions between the two countries over the next few years, announced President Mohamed Morsy. The two countries hope to increase trade revenues to US$10 billion. “We also agreed to establish a joint chamber of commerce,” Morsy said in a news conference following the end of the Islamic Summit that began on Wednesday. Fifty-six Islamic states participated in the conference. Morsy and Turkish President Abdullah Gul further agreed to increase investment in both countries. [Egypt Independent, SIS, 2/7/2013]

Photo: Reuters

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