The defense of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi requested Saturday in a court hearing over espionage charges that leaked recordings of top post-3 July leaders be investigated for their authenticity, in hope that charges might be dropped against the ousted president.


Sisi to discuss obstacles facing press institutions
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will meet members of the Supreme Press Council,  chairmen of national newspapers including Al Ahram, Al Akhbar, and Gomhoreya, and Head of the Press Syndicate Diaa Rashwan on Monday, according to state-run MENA news agency. Secretary General of the Supreme Press Council Salah Eissa said the meeting aims to address the financial obstacles and problems facing national press institutions, in order to find solutions. [DNE, 12/8/2014]

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Morsi’s defense pushes for charges to be dismissed after alleged leaks
The defense of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi requested Saturday in a court hearing over espionage charges that leaked recordings of top post-3 July leaders be investigated for their authenticity, in hope that charges might be dropped against the ousted president. The leaks constitute a number of alleged conversations between top military leaders after the ouster of Morsi, discussing how to manipulate the legal status of Morsi’s detention. Morsi’s lawyer, Montaser al-Zayat said that if the leaks are proven authentic, proving that the documents behind Morsi’s detention are fabricated, then Morsi’s detention is null and void. All procedures taken following Morsi’s then illegal detention, according to al-Zayat, would also be void, and all charges against him would have to be dropped. The prosecution told al-Zayat that the alleged leaks are currently being investigated. The trial was postponed on Sunday to December 14, with Morsi’s defense lawyer also denying collaboration between the Muslim Brotherhood and the United States. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 12/7/2014]

Four Brotherhood members sentenced to death, seven sentenced to life in absentia
The Cairo Criminal Court referred four Muslim Brotherhood members Sunday, on trial for the killing of nine and injuring more than ninety in front of the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in 2013, to Egypt’s grand mufti to consider the death penalty. The defendants in the case include seventeen Brotherhood leaders, among which are former Parliament Speaker Saad al-Katatni, Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, and his deputy Khairat al-Shater. The top Brotherhood leaders involved in the case are not among those referred to the grand mufti. The court has also set February 28, 2015 for a final verdict on the remaining defendants. In Beheira, the Rahmaniya Criminal Court sentenced seven people to life in prison in absentia for “joining a terrorist organization and inciting violence and riots.” According to Egyptian law, people found guilty in absentia are automatically handed the maximum sentence and are retried upon arrest. Meanwhile, Egyptian authorities arrested on Saturday Ahmed Tharwat Abdel-Hamid, son-in-law of Muslim Brotherhood leading member Khairat al-Shater, after his flight touched down from Qatar. Cairo International Airport authorities immediately moved Abdel-Hamid to the prosecution headquarters, who had previously ordered his arrest. Prosecution ordered his detention for fifteen days pending investigation, where he faces several accusations including joining a terrorist organization. [DNE, AFP, Aswat Masriya, 12/8/2014]

Egypt court confirms death sentence for Sinai militant Habara, six others
Cairo Criminal Court confirmed Saturday death sentences against Sinai militant Adel Habara and six others for carrying out an execution-style killing of policemen in an ambush in August 2013. Some twenty-five soldiers were killed in the attack. The court had referred the seven defendants to the grand mufti last October to review their sentence, a routine procedure in capital punishment cases. The grand mufti approved of the sentences and the court issued its final verdict in Saturday’s session. The verdict can still be appealed. [Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 12/6/2014]

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Steel tycoon tax evasion trial postponed to February 2015 | DNE
Seventy-one Al-Azhar University students referred to court for “rioting” | Aswat Masriya
Twelve football fans referred to court for alleged attempt on club chairman’s life | Aswat Masriya


Egypt’s foreign reserves fall to $15.88 billion
According to Egypt’s Central Bank, Egypt registered the first foreign reserves decline in six months. The country’s foreign currency reserves fell to $15.88 billion in November from $16.91 billion the previous month. In November, Egypt had repaid a $2.5 billion central bank deposit to Qatar, a move which some economists had warned would negatively impact the country’s reserve levels. [Reuters, Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Mada Masr, 12/7/2014]

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First Suez Canal investment certificate yields out Sunday | Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
Slight gains in Egyptian stocks amid active trading | Ahram Online
UAE-Egypt alliance expands to desert wheat venture | Reuters
Egypt tourism revenues more than double in third quarter | Reuters
Government delivered only fifty-seven units from its one million residential-unit project, says EIPR study | DNE
Kuwaiti fund loans Egypt $102 million for power station | DNE
Saudi Shaheen Group invests 500 million Egyptian pounds in Egypt | DNE
Japan still considering whether to participate in Egypt’s economic summit, says Kagawa | DNE
Government finishes subsidy lifting scheme pending approval by next parliament | Egypt Independent
PGESco fraud case shines light on corruption in Egypt’s power sector | Mada Masr


Full Egypt NGO database will be ready in early December
Egypt’s social solidarity ministry will complete an online NGOs database for 45,000 NGOs in Egypt early December, manager of the database project at the ministry, Abir al-Helw said at a press conference late Sunday. Social Solidarity minister Ghada Waly said the database aims to make information about NGOs accessible online so that people are able to know which organizations to assist or donate to, as the ministry prepares to set “efficiency criteria.” The ministry found out that five to seven percent of existing NGOs are not working, and will be closed down. Helw said 310 ministerial administrative councils gathered information on 32,000 NGOs to this point regarding their activities, board of directors’ names, bank accounts, revenues and expenditures, licenses, and sources of funding for transparency purposes. [Ahram Online, 12/8/2014]

Also of Interest
Human rights group criticizes investigation into celebrity protesters | DNE
ANHRI: November saw a remarkable surge in protests | Egypt Independent
Freedom House: Egypt down in freedom ranking for 2013-2014 | Egypt Independent
Evangelical community submits recommendations on personal status draft | Egypt Independent
Al-Azhar, Vatican to resume dialogue after four-year suspension | Egypt Independent
Helwan steel workers continue renewed strike action for second day | Mada Masr


Army conscript ‘seriously injured’ by explosion in Rafah
An army conscript was injured on Saturday when an improvised explosive device (IED) went off at a security checkpoint on the Arish-Rafah international road in North Sinai, a security source said. The 22-year-old conscript suffered deep wounds to his face. The IED was planted by unidentified assailants near a checkpoint in Sadout area along the international road, the source, who preferred to remain anonymous, added. The conscript was transferred in critical condition to the Rafah Military Hospital for treatment. [Aswat Masriya, 12/6/2014]

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Power of arrest: Who has it, what can they do with it? | Mada Masr


Several embassies in Cairo close, update security status
A number of diplomatic missions in Cairo have either closed their doors or updated their travel advice to citizens over the last few days, citing “security reasons.” The British embassy in Cairo suspended public services on Sunday for security reasons. Britain’s Foreign Office said public services were suspended and people shouldn’t come to the embassy building. Egypt’s foreign ministry said the suspension of the British embassy office in Cairo is “just a precautionary measure.” An email sent on Monday morning to Canadian citizens living in Egypt stated that the Canadian Embassy will remain closed over security concerns. A statement on the embassy’s website reads, “The ability to provide consular services may occasionally be limited for short periods due to unsettled security conditions.” An Egyptian security official told the Associated Press that Canadians asked for all roads around the embassy shut down and more security. Shortly after the Canadian Embassy’s announcement, the Cairo security director said that all embassies in Cairo are “highly secured.” However, a security source told Reuters that a recently-detained suspected militant had confessed to Egyptian authorities “plans to target foreign embassies.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, 12/8/2014]

US Navy engineer charged for ‘trying to pass details to Egypt’
A Saudi-born US navy civilian engineer was arrested Friday on charges of trying to steal schematics of a new nuclear aircraft carrier and send them to Egypt, the Justice Department said. Federal prosecutors said Mostafa Ahmed Awwad was arrested on two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and technical data. Prosecutors said Awwad tried to steal technical data in the designs of the USS Gerald R. Ford in late October. Awwad provided computer drawings downloaded from the Navy to an undercover FBI agent posing as an Egyptian intelligence officer. No statements had been posted on the websites of either Egypt’s ministry of defense or foreign affairs regarding the news on Saturday. While several privately owned media outlets in Egypt have covered the story, state-owned publications have not. [AFP, AP, Mada Masr, 12/6/2014]

Interpol seeks arrest of controversial Egyptian cleric Qaradawi
The international police agency Interpol has issued an arrest warrant for influential Qatar-based Muslim cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi, head of the International Union for Muslim Scholars and a lifelong Muslim Brotherhood supporter. Interpol stated that Qaradawi is wanted by the judicial authorities of Egypt to serve a sentence. He is charged with agreement, incitement, and assistance to commit premeditated murder, facilitating a prison escape, as well as involvement in arson, vandalism, and theft. In addition, Interpol has placed another forty-one Muslim Brotherhood figures on its watchlist. Qaradawi denied inciting murder on his Facebook page Monday. His statement reads, “I did not kill, and I never incited to murder so that Interpol would put me on the wanted list.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday criticized Egypt for its move to have Interpol issue an arrest warrant for Qaradawi. [DNE, Egypt Independent, AFP, Ahram Online, 12/8/2014]

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Egyptian ministers head to Beijing ahead of Sisi visit | Ahram Online
Egypt to sign agreement on nuclear power with Jordan | Ahram Online
Hamas leader calls for committee on Egypt relations | Ahram Online
UK-Egypt discussing legal cooperation on return of stolen assets, says source | Ahram Online
Shoukry asks Britain to support Libya’s ‘legitimate government institutions’ | DNE
Shoukry warns against sectarian and ethnic conflict during Bahrain summit | DNE