Top News: Presidential Decree Creates New Police Rank with Power of Arrest

Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree on Monday to create a new police rank with arrest powers, the move will increase the number of law enforcement staff. 


Presidential decree creates new police rank with power of arrest
Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree on Monday to create a new police rank with arrest powers, the move will increase the number of law enforcement staff. Spokesperson to the presidency, Alaa Youssef said in a statement that the decision aims at creating a new rank of ‘police aides’ who will be appointed and trained according to specific criteria. The low ranking police positions will be limited to 19 to 23 year-olds who have completed preparatory school. Officers with this rank will follow the same rules and procedures that apply to policemen, except for certain regulations that have to do with promotion and study requirements. [Ahram Online, DNE, Mada Masr, 12/15/2014]

Elections commission approves draft law regulating electoral districts
The High Electoral Commission approved on Tuesday an amended version of a draft law regulating electoral districts, in preparation for the coming parliamentary elections. Commission Spokesman Medhat Idris told the press on Tuesday that the commission “approved the draft unanimously and without any observations.” Egypt’s State Council had introduced some changes to the draft to make sure that it is in line with Egypt’s new constitution, before submitting it back to the cabinet which originally drafted it. [Aswat Masriya, EGYNews (Arabic), 12/16/2014]

Also of Interest
Minister: Re-demarcation of governorates part of urban development plan | Egypt Independent
Minister justifies protest law because it was ‘enacted a century ago’| Egypt Independent
Sisi’s approval rating shows signs of slipping, suggests poll | Mada Masr
Egypt’s June 30 coalition loses support | Al-Monitor


Another 340 Brotherhood members referred to military courts
The Egyptian prosecution in Ismaillia referred 300 Muslim Brotherhood figures to military courts on Monday. Among the figures are Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, along with other prominent leaders in the organization, including Mohamed al-Beltagy, Essam al-Erian, and Safwat Hegazy. The defendants are charged with inciting violence and torching the Ismaillia courthouse building in July 2013, following the dispersal of the pro-Morsi camps in Raba’a al-Adaweya and al-Nahda squares. The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, announced late Monday that 40 defendants, including nine women, were also referred to military prosecution in Ismailia over charges of “joining a banned group and illegal protesting.” The Hisham Mubarak Law Centre confirmed the incident and added that four of the female defendants are high school students. [DNE, Reuters, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 12/16/2014]

Court recognizes two Morsi-era killed protesters as January 25 uprising “martyrs”
Egypt’s administrative court recognized on Tuesday two protesters killed during the tenure of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi as “martyrs” of the January 25 uprising. The Cairo-based Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) had filed a lawsuit calling for the recognition of Mohamed Gaber Salah, known as ‘Jika’ and Mohamed Hussein, known as ‘Christy’ as “revolutionary martyrs.” The killed protesters’ families would consequently be able to benefit from a fund established by the state to provide financial support for those killed and injured during the January 25 uprising. [Aswat Masriya, 12/16/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt jails crew members of Kuwaiti ship which crashed into sunken Red Sea boat | Aswat Masriya
Morsi Ittihadeya trial postponed to December 17 | EGYNews (Arabic)
Judges for Egypt trial postponed to December 26 | EGYNews (Arabic)


World Bank urges Egypt to make reforms before investor conference
A senior World Bank official has called on Egypt to implement promised legal and bureaucratic reforms ahead of the international investor conference scheduled for march 2015, which would allow the country to have better chances at attracting more than $12 billion in investments. The government reportedly announced it would amend the investment regulations, but until now only general outlines have been drafted, making it difficult for foreign investors to plan and expand investments in the country. [Reuters, 12/16/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt’s Weekly dollar bids rise to four times a week | MENAFN
Egypt market bounces back on foreign buying | Ahram Online
Egypt looking to mend economy with energy moves | Oxford Business Group
Petroleum prices drive stock market down: Experts | DNE
Trade Ministry orders formation of Egyptian-Chinese Business Council | Egypt Independent, DNE
3 billion Egyptian pounds for ministries of supply, transport, and electricity: minister of finance | DNE
Egypt’s Suez Cement to convert two factories to run on coal | Reuters


Egypt second in the world for arrested journalists says Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders (RWB) ranked Egypt as the second country in the world for the number of journalists arrested, and fourth “biggest prison” for journalists in an annual report released Tuesday. RWB said 46 journalists were arrested in Egypt throughout the year on pretexts such as “being Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers, endangering national unity or inciting violence or riots.” Egypt ranks second after Ukraine by a difference of one journalist, with 47 arrested in Ukraine. [DNE, Egypt Independent, 12/16/2014]

Authorities cite conflicting accounts on closing of ‘atheist’ coffee shop
Cairo authorities have given conflicting accounts surrounding the closure of the so-called “atheist” coffee shop on Falaki street has stirred controversy in media and social media platforms over the past two days. Major General Gamal Mohamed Mohie, head of the Abdeen district, said he made the decision after receiving complaints over suspicious practices by the coffee shop customers. However, a statement by Cairo governorate on Monday attributed the closure of the coffee shop to violation by the coffee shop owner who turned a housing unit to an unlicensed coffee shop, extending it to the pavement, which hindered passage of passers-by. Abdeen municipality announced it was launching a campaign against all businesses committing legal violations in the downtown Cairo area. Several cafés have been closed down and street vendors removed as part of the campaign, the state-owned news site EgyNews reported on Monday. [Egypt Independent, 12/16/2014]

Rights group seeks to investigate Egyptian officials linked to CIA torture report
Egyptian rights group National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) is following up on rendition and torture claims that took place in Egypt under the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak. The Council’s move follows the release of the US Senate report on CIA torture last week. “The report was released with undisclosed information, but it is a matter of days before more information is revealed,” NCHR member Hafez Abu Seada said on Monday. “When that happens, all information related to Egypt must be investigated by local authorities.” Despite a lack of clarity on procedures handling such investigations, NCHR spokesperson Amgad Fathy said this was a major human interest issue of global interest. He said that Egypt must take a step in response to the official report. [DNE, 12/15/2014]

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Military reveals investigation findings of Rea Sea collision | DNE
Rescue operations in Red Sea retrieve 4 more bodies of missing fishermen | Ahram Online
29 injured in Alexandria as hundreds rush to apply for job vacancy | Ahram Online
Montazah residents face possible eviction by Endowments Authority | DNE
Five killed, one injured in Assiut buildings collapse – ministry of health | Aswat Masriya


New militant group in Sinai splinters off Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis
The Jihadi Ribat, a group purporting to be an offshoot of the Sinai-based militants Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, announced on Monday its break with the latter organization due to its allegiance with the Islamic State. The Jihadi Ribat declared in its first statement that jihad is not subject to allegiances with certain groups or states, but rather only pledges allegiance to God under the slogan, “There is no god but God, and Mohamed is his prophet.” The statement warned Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis to follow the teachings of Islamic scholars and stop following its own interpretation of religion. [Mada Masr, 12/15/2014]

Also of Interest
Art police raid Voice of Egypt channel headquarters | Egypt Independent
Checkpoint shooting in Alexandria injures two policemen | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
Seventeen “terrorists” killed in Sinai says armed forces spokesman | Aswat Masriya
Three “extremists” killed in North Sinai – sources | Aswat Masriya
Alexandria security forces arrest man in possession of three bombs | EGYNews (Arabic)


British embassy in Cairo resumes public services
The British embassy in Cairo resumed “full public services” Tuesday, said the British ambassador to Egypt, John Casson, on his official Twitter account on Monday morning. The public services office of the embassy had closed on December 7 due to security reasons. In a press release, the embassy said that the resumption of its services came “after security issues related to the building were resolved in cooperation with the Egyptian government.” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond expressed his gratitude for the Egyptian government for making “this reo-opening possible”. “Britain and Egypt have strong bonds between our people, essential commercial links, and cooperate closely in a number of areas,” Hammond said in the statement. “This same cooperation also sees thousands of British holiday-makers heading off for the Egyptian sun every Christmas and New Year.” British Ambassador to Egypt John Casson stressed that “Britain’s commitment to Egypt’s success is as deep and strong as ever.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, AP, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 12/16/2014]

Egyptian presidency approves US-Egypt agreements
Egypt’s presidency approved cooperation agreements with the United States on Monday, presidential spokesperson Alaa Youssef said. The agreements included an 55 million Egyptian pounds aid agreement between Egypt, the US and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) for Egypt to finance a power plant in the southern city of Assiut. Youssef stated that other agreements approved include development cooperation in the fields of science and technology, higher education, agricultural development, trade and investment. [Ahram Online, SIS, 12/15/2014]

Also of Interest
Russian Deputy prime minister in Cairo ahead of 2015 Putin Visit | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
Shoukry, Kerry discuss Palestine ahead of Abass bid to UN | Ahram Online
Egypt’s top religious authority condemns Sydney attack | Ahram Online
Returning Egyptian fishermen outline problems faced in Libya conflict | DNE