Top News: Obama Nominates Ambassadors for Key Egypt and Iraq Posts

President Barack Obama said on Thursday he would nominate two career diplomats with extensive experience in the Middle East as ambassadors to Egypt and Iraq.

Sabbahi addresses supporters following Friday prayers
Presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi addressed his supporters following prayers at the Ibrahim Dosouqi Mosque in Kafr al-Sheikh. In his brief remarks he asserted that the coming days are “bright for the oppressed and dark for oppressor” in Egypt. He drew on his working class roots saying that he is “the son of the Egyptian farmer, the hunter, worker, and simple employee.” Sabbahi’s remarks come just two days after he gave a televised interview in which he distinguished himself from his opponent by saying that he would pardon those imprisoned under the protest law and that the “The Armed Forces are the people’s property.” [AMAY (Arabic), 5/9/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Sisi and Sabbahi supporters continue electoral advertisements in Alexandria | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Egypt’s cabinet agrees on three demands for striking doctors | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s Sisi lowers expectations for change | Reuters


Fayoum court acquits fourteen Brotherhood supporters
The Fayoum Criminal Court acquitted fourteen pro-Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters, including an ex-parliamentarian, after they had been charged with committing acts of violence. The court acquitted thirteen Brotherhood supporters and members who were arrested between five to seven months ago in Fayoum. The thirteen were charged with demonstrating without a permit, joining a banned group, damaging public and private property, and terrorizing citizens, a security source said. [Aswat Masriya, 5/9/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • June 30 Fact Finding Committee: We will not receive complaints from those presently in military prisons | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egypt’s annual inflation eases to 9.1 percent in April
Annual inflation in Egypt fell to 9.1 percent in April from 10.2 percent in March. Despite slowing annual inflation, monthly inflation is increasing. Monthly inflation rose by 0.6 percent. A 0.7 percent price hike in basic food products, including fish, tomatoes, onions and garlic, mainly drove this increase. Prices for clothing and footwear, another contributor to headline inflation change, went up 3.2 percent. [Ahram Online, 5/8/2014]

Egyptian stocks continue to slump on Thursday
Egypt’s main index was down for the second consecutive day on Thursday as some investors become concerned by presidential frontrunner Sisi’s statements in an interview regarding future economic policy, including statements regarding initiatives to control inflation or prices. Egypt’s main stock index EGX30 fell 1.46 percent to 8,211 points. [Ahram Online, 5/8/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s Amer Group posts 87 pct drop in Q1 profit | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s GB Auto posts 5.8 pct rise in Q1 net profit | Ahram Online
  • US investor takes stake in Egyptian developer Palm Hills | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s natural gas quagmire | Mada Masr
  • Stock Market loses 300 million EGP during past week | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Morsi, Sisi supporters demonstrate in Cairo and Alexandria
The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy called on its followers to demonstrate throughout the week, rejecting the presidential candidacy of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. In Alexandria, hundreds of demonstrators gathered after prayers carrying pictures of Mohammed Morsi and chanting slogans. Several skirmishes broke out between demonstrators and local residents before security forces intervened and dispersed the demonstration with tear gas, arresting six protestors. Elsewhere, hundreds supporters of Sisi gathered to voice their support for his presidential campaign. Students supporting Morsi broke the locks of Cairo University’s main gates on Thursday in an attempt to protest outside the campus. At Al-Azhar University, students clashed security forces when they tried to block traffic in front of the university on Friday. Protesters responded to tear gas by throwing rocks before dispersing. [AMAY (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 5/9/2014]

Rights groups criticize Court of Urgent Matters, press freedom in Egypt
The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) slammed recent rulings by the Urgent Matters judiciary, accusing it of issuing politicized verdicts, the rights group said in a statement Thursday. The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters ruled this week to ban members of the dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP) from the upcoming parliamentary elections. CIHRS said that the court has released a verdict that it is not entitled to issue, because it falls under the jurisprudence of other courts. The court has also issued verdicts banning the April 6 Youth Movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, and labeling Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis a terrorist organization. In its annual report on media freedom, the Support Center for Information Technology (SCIT) stated that 2013 witnessed the highest level of crackdowns on the press, with 581 violations, compared to 185 cases in 2012, and 280 cases in 2011. [Mada Masr 5/9/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • NASL considering new initiative to restore national unity | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt may ban Hajj pilgrimage as MERS virus spreads | Ahram Online
  • AUC students hold forum over colleague’s five-year prison sentences | Ahram Online
  • Egypt Islamists call for dialogue with revolutionaries in Brussels charter | Ahram Online


Police recruit killed in shootout with militants in Qalyub
A police recruit was killed while exchanging fire with militants during a chase on the ring road in Qalyub on Friday. The authorities were eventually able to track down the accused and arrest them. The accused have been handed over to the prosecution for investigation. In other news state media reported that unidentified assailants opened fire at a police car on Thursday injuring a police officer and a police conscript. The two policemen were driving to Hawamdia suburb in Giza, known to be a stronghold of supporters of the ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. The two were transferred to a nearby hospital, while the attackers fled. [EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 5/9/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Militants opened fire on peace-keeping forces in North Sinai | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Farmer and five others arrested in Minya for involvement in violence | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Authorities arrest twenty accused of burning police cars and assaulting police stations in several governorates | Shorouk (Arabic)


Obama nominates ambassadors for key Egypt and Iraq posts
President Barack Obama said on Thursday he would nominate two career diplomats with extensive experience in the Middle East as ambassadors to Egypt and Iraq. Robert Stephen Beecroft, who has been US ambassador in Baghdad since 2012, was nominated for the Cairo post, the White House said. US ties with Egypt, a key Middle East ally, have been strained since the Egyptian army’s ouster of an elected president last year. US officials disclosed on Wednesday that the administration planned to nominate Beecroft. [Reuters, AP, 5/8/2014]

Tamarod refuses to meet with US embassy delegation
A spokesman for the Tamarod movement said that the group had refused to meet with a delegation from the American embassy in Egypt. Mahmoud Badr, one of the founders of the movement, said on Thursday on his official Twitter account that the newly appointed US ambassador to Egypt, Robert Stephen Beecroft, had asked to meet with the movement. “We refused the ambassador’s request and asked him to improve US relations with Egypt, Syria, and the Arab countries instead,” Badr tweeted. On Friday, Tamarod spokesperson Mohamed Nabawy confirmed that US diplomats have tried to meet with representatives of the group several times since the ouster of Morsi, but the movement has always refused. [Ahram Online, 5/9/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s Amr Moussa: Hamas must recognize Israel | Ahram Online
  • Al-Azhar denounces Indian Muslims massacres | Ahram Online
  • Brotherhood International Organization meets with British official to stop prosecution of the group in Europe | Egypt Independent
  • Equatorial Guinea will invite Egypt’s next president to AU summit | MENA