Top News: Prime Minister Extends North Sinai Curfew for Three Months

Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab has extended for three months a curfew in North Sinai, according to a decree issued in the government’s official gazette on Saturday. The designated areas of the curfew include Rafah, al-Arish and Sheikh Zuweid cities, and surrounding areas. North Sinai residents responded, demanding the curfew be lifted, according to independent daily, Al-Masry al-Youm. Meanwhile, attacks in North Sinai continued over the weekend, and into the beginning of the week. An explosion in North Sinai’s Sheikh Zuweid town injured two military officers and a conscript late Friday, security sources said. A roadside bomb exploded early Sunday on a coastal road in al-Arish, injuring eighteen soldiers, security sources told Al-Ahram. Hospital officials confirmed the casualty figure and said none of those hurt had life-threatening wounds. The attack was claimed by Sinai State, an Islamist militant group formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, and , an affiliate of the Islamic State. A conscript was also wounded in the arm on Sunday by a sniper while he was on duty at a checkpoint south of Rafah. A woman was killed and two children were injured when their house in North Sinai was hit by a shell from an unknown source on Sunday, medical sources said. The shell struck the house after clashes between security forces and militants, an eyewitness told Aswat Masriya. Unknown gunmen kidnapped a local man at gunpoint on Monday, taking him to an unknown destination. Eyewitnesses said the kidnapping could be attributed to the victim’s cooperation with security services. [Ahram OnlineReutersSISDNEEgypt Independent, 7/27/2015]

New Suez Canal to bring fresh development projects to Egypt says Sisi
Egypt will witness the establishment of several development projects following the inauguration of the new Suez Canal August 6, according to a presidency statement quoting President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, following his meeting with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Cairo on Saturday. The new national projects aim at compensating Egyptians in long-missed development, Sisi said during the meeting. Meanwhile, a trial run of Egypt’s new Suez Canal channel was successful and “proves to the world that Egyptians are capable of achieving major projects,” a canal official was quoted as saying on Saturday. Suez Canal Authorities will hold a lottery to decide who will attend the opening ceremony of the New Suez Canal, the head of one of the companies responsible for promoting the Canal said on Sunday. A French FREMM frigate will sail bearing the slogan of “Long Live Egypt” and led by a crew of officers and members of the Egyptian navy to arrive in Egypt on July 30 and participate in the celebration of the New Suez Canal on August 6. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Reuters, Egypt Independent, 7/27/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • FM: Egypt restored regional, international role after presidential polls | Egypt Independent
  • Female community leaders fear electoral competition against Muslim Brotherhood | DNE
  • Internet Revolution group requests Sisi dismiss Telecommunications Minister | Egypt Independent
  • Salafi Call elects Abu Idris president | Egypt Independent, DNE  

Cairo court fines TV host Ahmed Moussa for slander, again
A Cairo misdemeanor court fined controversial TV hosts Ahmed Moussa and Khaled Bakr EGP 15,000 (around $1,900) on Sunday for slandering lawyer Tarek al-Awady. The accusation of slander came after the duo claimed that Awady, the lawyer for hardcore Zamalek club’s Ultras White Knights fan group, was spying and receiving foreign funding. This accusation against Awady was launched on Moussa’s show, which is broadcast on Sada al-Balad private TV channel. This is the second case Awady has won against Moussa. [Ahram Online, 7/27/2015]  

Six sentenced to death in absentia over Ghad-al Thawra Party storming case
Six people were served death sentences on Sunday by a Cairo Court after being tried in absentia and convicted for several charges, including attempted murder. Other charges included use of force, endangering public safety and illegal possession of weapons, state-owned Al-Ahram reported. The defendants are Qasem Ashraf Qasem, Islam Hassan, Islam Abdel Hafez, Hussein Nassef, Marco Abdel Messih, and Hossam Mohamed. The case stems from the torching of the headquarters of the liberal opposition party in Cairo’s Downtown in February 2013. The incident allegedly came after party founder, Ayman Nour, said he wouldn’t mind taking up a leadership position if invited by then President Mohamed Morsi. Egyptian law provides a retrial for a person sentenced in absentia once he or she is in custody. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 7/27/2015]    

Egyptian court rules in favour of firing striking court employees
Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court on Saturday ruled that four employees of the State Council, a judicial body, should be fired for striking. Judge Ibrahim Ismail of the Administrative Court had filed a complaint with the Administrative Prosecution in April accusing the four employees of trying to storm into one of his court sessions and stop the trial process. The judge also accused the four state council employees of attempting to cut off electricity to the courtroom by turning off the mains switch during their protest.  The employees were initially punished with six months’ suspension from work. The decision was appealed before the court. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, 7/27/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • Witness in torture case beaten into unconsciousness in Rashid | DNE
  • Ten Bibliotheca Alexandrina employees sentenced to a year in prison, eight acquitted | Mada Masr
  • Tourism Ministry investigates death of British tourist in Sharm al-Sheikh | Egypt Independent
  • Sentence of Egyptian belly-dancer ‘inciting debauchery’ reduced to six months | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian Imam Gibril files complaint against travel ban | Ahram Online
  • Judge accused of ‘sexual bribery’ | Egypt Independent
  • Government: Egypt detains 119 Brotherhood members in one week | Egypt Independent  
  • Military court sentences two Brotherhood members to prison | Egypt Independent
  • Morsi’s health condition stable | Egypt Independent
  • Port Said ‘prison clashes’ trial postponed to August 10 | DNE
  • Journalists, police officers involved in Media City quarrel released on bail | DNE
  • 100 alleged Muslim Brotherhood members acquitted of violence charges | DNE
  • Suez Cell trial adjourned to August 19 | DNE
  • Ajnad Misr trial postponed to October 17 | DNE
  • Two UWK trials postponed to September | DNE

Egypt allocates EGP 1 billion in state funds to develop slums
Egypt will allocate EGP 1 billion of its 2015/2016 budget to developing a number of urban slum areas, the planning ministry said in a statement on Saturday. The amount is part of EGP 6.85 billion in targeted investments for local development programs. Another EGP 650 million of the state’s budget for the fiscal year will be allocated to develop a number of the country’s most impoverished villages, which make up 9.5 percent of impoverished rural areas nationwide. In January, the Ministry of Urban Renewal and Informal Settlements launched a three year plan aimed at eradicating 258 urban slum areas. [Ahram Online, 7/25/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Tourist influx up by 16.5 percent in May 2015 | Egypt Independent, Mada Masr
  • Three types of pesticides banned, deadline for companies to get rid of stock | Egypt Independent
  • Suez Integrated Oil Industries Company workers demand re-opening the factory | Egypt Independent
  • Electricity consumption 5.6 percent higher than last year | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt to repay part of its debt to foreign oil companies by end of 2015 | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt considers extending exception for French wheat with high moisture levels | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt’s stock market retreats amid profit-taking | Aswat Masriya
  • BG Egypt appoints oil and gas veteran as new president | Reuters
  • Egypt signs update of agreement with Eni following gas discovery | Ahram Online

Four children killed, twenty-seven injured by medication in Egypt’s Beni Suef
A dehydration medication has killed four children and injured twenty-seven others in Beni Suef, prompting Health Minister Adel Adawy to refer the case to the public prosecutor on Sunday, state news agency MENA reported. The pharmacy’s manager was also referred to investigations. Three hospitals in Beni Suef received twenty-seven children who had symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, fever and stomach aches – which means they lost fluids and minerals and needed medication for rehydration – according to a health ministry statement. When they took ‘Rehydran’ medication, they got seizures, after which the medication was immediately halted, according to the statement. The seizures were dealt with medically. Seven children’s health condition improved, while ten were transferred to bigger hospitals, of which eight got better. [Ahram Online, 7/27/2015]

Egypt’s ‘Warraq boat’ driver turns himself in to police
The driver of a party boat that sunk in the Nile leaving thirty-eight dead has turned himself in to police on Sunday, state news agency MENA reported. A security source told MENA that the driver, aged 20, was referred to the prosecution for questioning on Sunday. He will reportedly be detained for four days pending investigations. The man, who officials blamed for the accident, confirmed reports the boat was carrying more than its maximum capacity of passengers. On Saturday, civil protection workers were still searching for the last two victims. Meanwhile Nile barges will be banned from passing through Cairo from sunset to sunrise until the end of September, according to a Sunday decree by  Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab. Mahlab also ordered a halt to issuing new licenses for marine and Nile cargo, as well prohibiting the use of loud music amplifiers used by passenger boats, according to Al-Ahram. The Cabinet will also issue EGP 60,000 in compensation to families of all deceased. The decisions were made during a meeting early Sunday attended by Mahlab, the ministers of transport, environment, irrigation, interior and justice to review legislation applicable to management of the Nile River. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 7/27/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Churches settle majority of disputes over draft divorce law | Egypt Independent
  • Endowments Ministry workers protest outside cabinet | DNE
  • Journalists insist on abolishing Article 33 of the anti-terrorism law | Egypt Independent
  • Luxor’s Valley of the Kings reopened | Egypt Independent
  • Occupancy rates in Alexandria, Ras al-Bar 100 percent | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt to dig new canal allowing a two-way traffic north of Port Said | Cairo Post
  • 778 labour strikes in 2015: Study | DNE

US-Egypt strategic dialogue delayed to August 2
Strategic US-Egyptian dialogue, which has long been in the pipeline, recently faced an apparently final postponement, as the Foreign Ministry announced the talks will be held on August 2. In a meeting between Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and foreign correspondents, Shoukry highlighted “the strength and importance of the continuing partnership between Egypt and the US,” according to a ministry statement. [DNE, Ahram Online, 7/27/2015]

Egypt and Sudan discuss release of detained fishermen: Egyptian foreign ministry
Cairo and Khartoum are holdings talks about the 101 Egyptian fishermen who are currently detained in Sudan and who were expected to be released earlier this week, an Egyptian diplomat said. The fishermen were detained in April off the coast of Sudan and put on trial, which was adjourned on Wednesday until July 28. An official in a provincial Egyptian fishermen’s union had said on Thursday that their release was expected, but on Friday, Egypt’s foreign ministry said that Sudanese authorities had backtracked on the decision to release them. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry met with the families of the detained fishermen on Monday. Shoukry assured the families that the ministry is working on releasing their relatives as soon as possible, according to an official statement. [Ahram Online, DNE, 7/27/2015]  

Also of Interest