Top News: Parliamentary Elections to be Held Before End of March

Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Monday that Egyptian parliamentary elections will take place before the end of March 2015.


Parliamentary elections to be held before end of March; Cabinet to discuss district law
Egypt’s president Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said on Monday that Egyptian parliamentary elections will take place before the end of March 2015. Meanwhile, in a plenary meeting on Wednesday, Egypt’s cabinet is scheduled to ‎discuss the semi-final draft of a long-awaited law aimed ‎at redrawing the country’s electoral districts. ‎According to Minister of Transitional Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ibrahim al-Heneidy, the bill ‎was prepared by a seven-member technical committee ‎formed three weeks ago by ‎Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab, comprising court judges and‎ law professors. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 11/11/2014]

Legislative reform committee prepares unified personal status law for Christians
The Minister of Transitional Justice and Parliamentary Affairs and rapporteur of the legislative reform committee Ibrahim al-Heneidy submitted a copy of the bill on Christians personal status to the committee for revision. “Heneidy asked the three churches to urgently prepare their suggestions and submit them to the committee to approve the bill as soon as possible,” said the sources. Andrea Zaki, deputy head of the Evangelical Church, said he would meet with Safwat Bayady, head of the sect, Thursday to study the bill. [Ahram Online, 11/12/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt’s Nour Party to take legal action against ‘sex scandal defamers’ | Ahram Online
Egypt warns Salafists over planned protests | Ahram Online
Egypt’s Islamists try to distance themselves from ISIS | Al Monitor


Court refers Khaled Ali to prosecution for “fomenting chaos” during trial
A Cairo criminal court has adjourned the trial of prominent activist Ahmed Douma and 286 others to November 22 and referred one of their lawyers Khaled Ali, a former 2012 presidential candidate, to prosecutors over “fomenting chaos in the courtroom.” During Wednesday’s session, Ali raised his voice at the judge overseeing the case, Mohamed Nagy Shehata, accusing him of bias against the defendants. Ali, the fifth lawyer referred to prosecution by Shehata, announced on Wednesday afternoon that he will file a complaint regarding his referral to the prosecution. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 11/12/2014]

Leading trade unionist investigated for Facebook posts
Egyptian prosecutors ordered the detention of a Cairo Airport employee on Tuesday pending investigation into charges of insulting the president and joining a terrorist organization. Mahmoud Rehan, an administrative employee at the airport and vice president of the Independent Trade Union for Airport Workers, was investigated by police and National Security officers after they read Facebook posts that were critical of the authorities, Rehan’s lawyer Sameh Samir said. “Rehan was suspended from his job due to leading protests during the time of the Brotherhood’s rule and was allowed back when they were ousted. It’s ridiculous that he’s facing such charges,” he added. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 11/11/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt’s former antiquities minister Hawass faces fresh corruption charges | Ahram Online, The Guardian
Judges Club officially joins International Association of Judges | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
Drivers referred to court over deadly Beheira school bus crash | Ahram Online
Trial of Abdel-Fattah, twenty-four other activists, adjourned to November 17 | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr
Nine Germans, Egyptians sentenced to prison over Cheops cartouche theft | Egypt Independent


IMF to visit Egypt for assessment mission on Wednesday
For the first time in three years, a mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will visit Egypt to begin Article IV consultations to assess the Egyptian economy. Aiming to enhance investor confidence, Egypt’s government had asked the IMF to conduct an assessment of its economy ahead of the Egypt Economic Summit early next year. [Ahram Online, 11/11/2014]

First quarter deficit reaches 2.7 percent of GDP
Egypt’s first quarter deficit reached 65.8 billion Egyptian pounds, or 2.7 percent of GDP, according to figures released by the finance ministry. It also said Egypt is still on track to reach a 2014/15 year-end deficit of 240 billion Egyptian pounds, representing 10 percent of GDP. Figures show that Egypt’s GDP grew by 2.2 percent in the 2013/14 fiscal year, driven by public and private consumption and investments. The fourth quarter, from April to June 2014, was particularly strong, with year-on-year growth registering 3.7 percent. [Mada Masr, 11/12/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt’s currency black market to disappear within a year: CBE governor | Ahram Online
Egypt’s stocks dwindle; shrug Q3 results | Ahram Online
Egypt to finalize twenty more oil and gas concessions by year end: Minister | Ahram Online
US Chamber of Commerce: Businessmen from forty countries to meet in Cairo next May | Egypt Independent
Egypt wheat stocks to last until end of March -minister | Reuters
Telecom Egypt profit hit by license fee, tax costs | Reuters
Egypt’s CIB reports 5.6 percent rise in Q3 net profit | Reuters
Egypt in talks with investors over more coal-fired power plants | Reuters
Egypt meeting with commodities firms on hub project -minister | Reuters


Conflicting reports on minister’s statements on NGO deadline
Egyptian civil society groups unregistered under any law will be facing a “worrying condition” according to words from the ministry of social solidarity, hours after an ultimatum was given to these groups to register under a controversial NGO law expired on Tuesday. Minister of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali said that the ministry will address NGOs to inquire about the nature of their activities, their funding and the mechanism of their work starting Wednesday. According to Mada Masr, however, local media reported that Wali decided to postpone looking into the registration of NGOs, pending the issuance of a new law pertaining to civil society, at the request of Minister of Transitional Justice Ibrahim al-Heneidy and Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 11/11/2014]

Rights group details 184 assaults against foreign journalists in Egypt
In Egypt the situation for media and foreign journalists, in terms of freedoms, accessibility of information, personal safety has deteriorated noticeably within the past year, according to an NGO report issued Monday. The Association for Freedom of Thinking and Expression (AFTE), a Cairo-based NGO concerned essentially with media and students freedoms, says thirty-four foreign journalists have been arrested since June 30, 2013. AFTE’s “Report on the situation of foreign correspondents in Egypt,” counted 184 assaults that targeted foreign journalists between 2011 and 2014, in addition to five incidents of sexual assaults against foreign female reporters.  A collective attitude of “xenophobia” is partly responsible for charges against journalists and activists receiving foreign funds and allegedly aligning with foreign agendas. Meanwhile on Tuesday, French journalist and Chief Editor of Le Monde Diplomatique Alain Gresh was held for two hours, along with two Egyptian journalists, in a downtown café after they were overheard discussing politics. A woman who overheard the conversation stepped outside the café and proceeded to talk with security forces, who came and interrogated Gresh on his reasons for being in Egypt, confiscating the journalists’ ID cards, but eventually releasing them. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 11/12/2014]

Also of Interest
Twenty-three al-Azhar students expelled amid ongoing crackdown | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
Supreme journalism council sides with journalists against press industry chamber | Egypt Independent
Student allegedly arrested with Orwell’s 1984 released | Egypt Independent


Gunmen kidnap son of Egyptian officer on his way to school
The son of a high level Egyptian security officer was abducted by unknown assailants early on Wednesday, on his way to school. Gunmen stopped a private car at a road in the satellite city of 6 October, on the outskirts of Cairo, and took the boy at gunpoint into another private car as another armed group secured their escape. Investigations are currently underway to locate the perpetrators. [Ahram Online, 11/12/2014]

Blasts hit Sinai, Nile Delta, Beni Suef on Tuesday and Wednesday
Egypt was hit by a series of blasts Tuesday and Wednesday in North Sinai, the Nile Delta and Beni Suef. On Tuesday morning, a bomb detonated in Beni Suef, while two other homemade bombs were discovered in the area and were defused before they could go off. Late on Tuesday, ten civilians were injured when a car bomb exploded in North Sinai’s al-Arish. The victims included four women and two children. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Unidentified assailants also fired two mortars at a security checkpoint in Rafah. Nobody was killed or injured. On Wednesday morning,  one person was killed and another injured in a blast on the ring road in Giza. Two men were driving through the ring on a motorbike carrying an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). A security source told MENA that security forces arrested the injured perpetrator. An explosion also occurred on the Sharqiya railroad early Wednesday, leaving no injuries. Train services have since resumed. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 11/12/2014]

Also of Interest
Presidency denies news over Sisi’s assassination attempt | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent


United States to assess Egyptian militant group’s links to ISIS
The United States has said it will “assess” the potential implications of an Egyptian jihadist group’s pledge of allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). US Department of State spokesperson Jen Psaki said on Monday that her country needs to look into what it means for Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis to swear loyalty to ISIS. The Egyptian army, which is carrying out a major operation against an expanding jihadist insurgency in Sinai, has not yet commented on the issue. [Ahram Online, 11/11/2014]

US trade mission upbeat on Sisi leadership; vows investment
The largest-ever US business mission to Egypt concluded its visit to Cairo on Tuesday with praise for Egypt’s reform-minded government and promises of future investment. Senior officials and representatives from over sixty-five US companies met with President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi on Monday and were upbeat about his leadership. The mission vowed to whip up support for an economic summit through which Egypt plans to present projects to international investors in March 2015. [Ahram Online, AP, 11/12/2014]

Also of Interest
Sinai buffer zone no solution to militancy in Egypt-Amnesty | Reuters