Top News: PM Forms Committee to Prepare and Study Draft Laws

CBE Reuters.jpg

Prime Minister Hesham Qandil has moved to form a High Committee for Legislative Affairs that would prepare and study draft laws, presidential decrees and the prime minister’s resolutions.


PM forms committee to prepare and study draft laws
Prime Minister Hesham Qandil has moved to form a High Committee for Legislative Affairs that would prepare and study draft laws, presidential decrees and the prime minister’s resolutions. The committee would be headed by the prime minister, and comprised of the justice minister and the chairman of the Shura Council’s Legislative Committee, as well as representatives of the president’s office, the Cabinet, Parliament, the National Council for Human Rights, Al-Azhar, the Church and the assistant justice minister for legislative affairs. At least 10 legal experts and public figures would also sit on the committee. [Egypt Independent, SIS, 1/11/2013]

Facing dissent from within, Egypt’s Constitution Party holds internal polls
Egypt’s liberal Constitution Party has announced that it began internal party elections after last month’s constitutional referendum. Some party members, however, have continued to demand the resignation of certain unelected party officials. For the fifth day in a row, some 200 party members continued their sit-in at Constitution Party headquarters in Cairo to protest recent decisions by party chief Mohamed ElBaradei and demand the resignation of party spokesman Waleed El-Sheikh. [Ahram Online, 1/10/2013]

Draft law on recovery of stolen Mubarak regime assets
The Egyptian justice ministry has proposed a new draft law for the repatriation of stolen money sent abroad by members of the Mubarak regime, Ahram Online can reveal.  The new law will allow for investigations to be carried out in a “more efficient and professional way,” a source at the ministry said. The ministry has already introduced the final draft to Prime Minster Hisham Qandil’s cabinet. [Ahram Online, 1/11/2013]

Also of Interest:
Brotherhood’s Freedom & Justice Party elects new secretary-general | Ahram Online
Egypt govt agrees to allocate 5000 acres to displaced Nubians | Ahram Online
Justice Ministry writing law to create new govt council | Egypt Independent 


Judges Club condemns assault on lawyer
The assault on lawyer Raga’i Atteya was “brutal,” the Judges Club said in a statement that harshly condemned the attack. Atteya was assaulted by citizens in a court in Abbasseya. Security forces arrested one of the suspected attackers, but Atteya did not press charges. “Those who attacked me were a group of troublemakers,” Atteya told Al-Masry Al-Youm, denying the attack was political and dismissing it as insignificant. "We are absolutely confident that this cowardly attack on one of the most prominent law scholars and bright Islamic thinkers will not achieve its objectives in withholding his free voice, and will not break his will or impair his determination,” The Judges Club said in a statement Friday. [Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic), 1/11/2013]

Rally planned to protect Supreme Constitutional Court from Islamists
The Popular Current announced it would participate in a rally in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) on 14 and 15 January alongside revolutionary forces. The rally will take place on the day of the SCC’s first assembly since it was besieged by Islamists, with the goal of protecting the court from such an attack happening again. Heba Yassine, the party’s spokesperson, said the rally would meet on Monday at the Ettihad Square in Maadi, then march to the SCC. The rally would last until Tuesday to protect it, and the judges, from the alleged “Muslim Brotherhood militias” who besieged the court at the end of 2012. [Egypt Independent, 1/11/2013]

Also of Interest:
Lawyer presses charges against Morsi for ‘assaulting judiciary’ | Egypt Independent 


Hisham Ramez replaces Farouq El-Oqda as Central Bank of Egypt governor
President Mohamed Morsi on Thursday named Hisham Ramez, a former deputy central bank governor, as the new head of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) after accepting the resignation of longstanding CBE governor Farouq El-Oqda, who has headed the bank since 2003. Ramez will formally take up the position on 2 February. His first term will expire on 23 November 2015. [Ahram Online, Daily News Egypt, Egypt Independent, Reuters, 1/11/2013]

Egypt signals $2 bln Qatar loan already spent
Egypt’s central bank said on Thursday that a $2 billion loan from Qatar arrived in December, implying that the money had already been eaten up defending the currency before the foreign reserves crisis became public late last year. In addition, Egypt’s ambassador to Turkey said Ankara had transferred $500 million into Egyptian coffers on Thursday. [Reuters, 1/11/2013]

Islamic bonds law draws controversy
A recently drafted law on how the government will issue sukuk (Islamic-sanctioned bonds) has drawn criticism from religious figures and financial scholars alike, although state officials tout the bonds as the way out of the nation’s financial crisis. The sukuk, which would ostensibly help finance the country’s growing budget deficit, represent the first serious step taken to promoting Islamic banking practices since President Mohamed Morsi came to power. Sukuk have become a common financial option in many Islamic countries and several European countries, such as France and Germany. But adopting Islamic banking law has drawn significant scrutiny from civil society and religious figures — an indication of how the president and Parliament may struggle over Sharia-based laws in the future. [Egypt Independent, 1/10/2013]

Also of Interest:
Cellular networks raise rates in anticipation of new tax hikes | Daily News Egypt
Economy on the right path: Egypt’s FM reassures US ambassador | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, EGYNews (Arabic)


Our journalists have never been freer, Morsi proclaims
The country has never known anything like the past six months in terms of the sheer freedom of the media, President Mohamed Morsi declared during a meeting with a delegation from the Arab Journalists Union on Thursday.Karem Mahmoud, the syndicate’s secretary general and financial secretary of the union, said that he called on Morsi during the meeting to halt the lawsuits filed by his office against media figures and journalists accused of defaming the president. Presidential spokesperson Yasser Ali responded to those calls in a press conference at the Ettehadiya Presidential Palace, claiming that “the president welcomes constructive criticism” and “is most keen on expressing opinions freely. [The Morsi administration] doesn’t object to criticizing opinions, but rather objects to false news that includes clear accusations against the president. Therefore, the legal affairs department has to press charges to prove if they are true or false.”  [Egypt Independent, 1/11/2013]

Ex-Brotherhood figures to form new group devoted to preaching
A group of former Muslim Brotherhood members who resigned or were disaffiliated from the group plan to set up a new ‘parallel’ association to the Brotherhood, the group from which Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi hails. The new association will focus primarily on education and Islamic preaching rather than political activism. Initially dubbed ‘the Revival, Building and Development Association,’ the organisation is expected to include a number of former Brotherhood officials and a number of young former Brotherhood members. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 1/10/2013]


Half ton of explosives seized in Suez
Suez police forces seized 500 kilograms of explosives on Friday believed to have been en route to South Sinai. Major General Abdel Refaat, the Suez security chief, was notified that smugglers in Cairo were preparing to transport the explosives, which are used to create tunnels through mountains for mining. [Egypt Independent, 1/11/2013]


Dubai police chief renews Twitter attack on Egypt’s Brotherhood
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood has failed to implement its "political schemes" in the Gulf, Dubai’s police chief, Dahi Khalfan, has said. Moreover, the Islamist group might conduct "fraud operations" to acquire Gulf currencies to solve Egypt’s economic crisis. Khalfan’s comments on Twitter were reported on Friday by the UAE’s Al-Bayan newspaper. "This is an expected scenario amid a financial crisis and fears of bankruptcy," he added. Regarding the Egyptians arrested in the UAE for allegedly forming a Brotherhood-linked cell, Khalfan described them as ""tax collectors" who professionally steal money for their masters in the movement."  [Ahram Online, 1/11/2013]

Turkey removes tariffs on Egyptian cotton yarn imports: Trade minister
Turkey has cancelled protective tariffs on cotton yarn imports from Egypt and other countries, effective as of 1 January 2013, Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Hatem Saleh stated on Thursday. The decision represents a "great opportunity" for Egypt to increase exports of cotton yarn to Turkey, the minister said, noting that the tariffs had previously impeded such exports. [Ahram Online, 1/10/2013]

Photo: Reuters

Image: CBE%20Reuters.jpg