Top News: Presidential Decree Expels Azhar Students, Faculty for Protests, Appoints New Deans

 President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree on Thursday amending a law regulating Al-Azhar’s institutions, allowing the expulsion of staff members and students in cases involving violence.


Egyptian political parties stand with NGOs against new draft law
Six political parties announced their solidarity with civil society groups against a controversial new draft law for NGOs, accusing the government of continuing policies of “repression.” In a strongly worded statement issued on Thursday, parties condemned the government for launching a “fierce attack” on civil society groups, denouncing the new legislation as yet another episode of “escalation” in the crackdown on NGOs. The parties, which include Constitution Party and Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said the state is reintroducing draft legislation from 2002, the era of ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak, which critics say gives authorities wide sway over the activities and funds of civil groups. In response, minister of social solidarity urged civil society groups not to prejudge the new draft law. The minister said the draft was still open to revision and could be further amended by parliament, which she hopes will pass the law after elections expected later this year. [Ahram Online, Reuters, 10/23/2014]

Nour Party confused as civil parties reject its inclusion within electoral alliances
Sources from the Salafi Nour Party said that party leaders suffer from a lack of Coptic candidates on its electoral lists to fulfill the legal condition of including Copts on all lists. Sources indicated a dearth of candidates for both party lists and single-winner seats. Youness Makhyoun, the party leader, commented on the civil forces remarks rejecting alliance with the party, saying, “These groups are adopting the exclusion policy, which they suffered from under the Muslim Brotherhood rule.” Salah Abdel Maaboud, member of the party’s politburo, said the party is ready to cooperate with all the figures and parties that target serving the country. [Egypt Independent, 10/23/2014]

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Sisi renews logistics powers for defense minister | Ahram Online
NASL calls for week-long protest “bring down the regime” | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
Ministry of Endowments says EGP500 million allocate for the reconstruction of 732 mosques | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Egyptian judge accused of political activity suspended by court
Cairo’s appeals court decided on Thursday to suspend a judge accused of engaging in politics. Former assistant prosecutor general Hassan Yassin was hit with the suspension decision after being accused of signing a statement supporting ousted president Mohamed Morsi shortly after his removal from power in the summer of 2013. Yassin is one of sixty Egyptian judges whom were referred to a disciplinary board on Monday after investigations concluded that they support a political faction—the banned Muslim Brotherhood. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 10/23/2014]

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Juvenile court acquits five children from accusations of violence | Ahram (Arabic)
Complaint filed against Ahmed Mousa for insulting January 25 revolution | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)


Egypt’s government has to deliver growth to survive
According to Egypt’s investment minister, Egypt’s government has to deliver economic growth in order to survive. It should not let complex laws and bureaucracy discourage foreign investment. Currently it takes foreign investors up to six months to secure the licenses and permissions needed to operate in Egypt. [Reuters, 10/24/2014]

Egyptian pound steady on official, weaker on black market
Egypt’s pound held steady at a central bank dollar sale on Thursday but weakened on the black market. The bank said it sold $40 million, the full amount on offer, at a cut-off price of 7.1401 pounds per dollar on Thursday, unchanged from the last sale on Wednesday. In the unofficial market, the pound was trading at 7.48 to the dollar at midday on Thursday, weaker than Wednesday’s rate of 7.43 to the dollar, one trader said. [Reuters, 10/23/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt’s main index ends week of gains in red | Ahram Online
Finance minister: Egypt considering $1.5 billion foreign bond as it repairs economy | Reuters
CAPMAS: Egypt’s industrial production index up 4.6 percent in August | Egypt Independent
PM says Egypt working on creating atmosphere for luring investments | SIS
Presidential decree to establish renewable energy body to attract private investors | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Presidential decree expels Azhar students, faculty for protests, appoints new deans
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued a decree on Thursday amending a law regulating Al-Azhar’s institutions, allowing the expulsion of staff members and students in cases involving violence. According to the new amendment, faculty members, university staff and students may be expelled if they are found to be involved in acts that obstruct the educational process or undermine the status of Al-Azhar University. President Sisi also appointed deans of ten colleges in Egypt. Pro-Brotherhood group “Egyptian Revolutionary Council” launched an international campaign in solidarity with Egyptian university students, calling on states and organizations of the international community to “pressure and keep the hands of the aggressor away from students.” [Ahram Gateway (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Ahram Online, AMAY (Arabic), 10/23/2014]

Also of Interest
EU Human Rights rep meets with Alaa Abdel-Fattah | Egypt Independent
Hamzawy: I will not leave Egypt | Egypt Independent
Did producer lead Al-Jazeera coworkers straight to jail? | Al-Monitor


Assailants torch two Saudi consulate cars in Suez
Assailants torched two cars that belong to the Saudi consulate in Suez’s Arba`in district early on Friday, said Tariq al-Gazzar, security director of Suez. “Investigations proved that two members of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood threw Molotov cocktails at 4 a.m. on Friday at two cars with license plates indicating that they belong to a Saudi Arabian political entity,” Gazar said. He added that the identity of the perpetrators has been identified and that they will be captured. The embassy of Saudi Arabia in Cairo declined to comment on the incident. [Aswat Masriya, Reuters, EGYNews (Arabic), 10/24/2014]

Cash withdrawal exposes Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis member in North Sinai
Security forces arrested Thursday a member of Sinai-based militant group Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis while he was withdrawing cash from Banque Misr in North Sinai’s Arish city. Security services assigned to the bank arrested the militant, an employee at the financial affairs department of the Sheikh Zuweid City Council and an architect, after he withdrew EGP42,000, a security source said. They were referred to investigation at the designated authority, the source added. [Aswat Masriya, EGYNews, 10/23/2014]

Also of Interest
Arrest of leader of ISIS cell in Sharqiyya | AMAY (Arabic)
Five conscripts killed and sixteen wounded in APC explosions in Sinai | AMAY (Arabic)
Cairo court May bombing suspect arrested in North Sinai: source | Aswat Masriya
Assailants throw Molotov at 2 police cars in Nile Delta, 3 injured | Aswat Masriya
Ten Muslim Brotherhood members arrested in Alexandria protest | EGYNews (Arabic)


USAID tamped down internal criticism over Egypt work
Auditors and employees at the US Agency for International Development (USAID) say critical assessments of the agency’s work in Egypt were removed from a report before it was released by the agency’s inspector general, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. The report was trimmed to cut the payment of $4.6 million in what was described as bail money to the Egyptian government in 2012 to free sixteen US NGO workers who had been arrested, the newspaper said. The final report released five months later had excised those findings and other criticisms, the newspaper said. It also cited USAID employees who said the agency’s OIG, which is supposed to act as an internal watchdog, had become an in-house defender. [Reuters, 10/24/2014]

Egyptian FM discusses Libyan crisis in meeting with Algerian president
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said Egypt is coordinating with Algeria regarding the crisis in Libya, after a meeting between the minister and the Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on Thursday. Shoukri stressed the importance of working closely on developments in the country bordering Egypt and Algeria, saying the long borders between Libya and them poses a common threat, namely the infiltration of terrorists to both countries. Shoukri said that Libyan unity and the legitimacy of its official government must be safeguarded, assuring Egypt and Algeria see eye-to-eye on the crisis. Shoukri also mentioned discussing Egypt’s energy needs with the Algerian president, who said the delivery of gas shipments promised to Egypt is underway, pending technical and logistical procedures. Both countries agreed to support Libyan institutions, on top of which they declared is the elected parliament in Tobruk. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic), 10/24/2014]

Also of Interest
Interior minister discusses counterterrorism cooperation with new UK ambassador | EGYNews (Arabic)
UK review clears terrorism links: Brotherhood Press Office | DNE
Sisi talks with Tanzania president on the phone | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)
Egypt welcomes “Arusha Declaration” to resolve problems in South Sudan’s ruling party | Ahram Gateway (Arabic)