Top News: Prime Minister says Elections to be Held before Ramadan

Prime Minister Mahlab said in a phone call to Al Nahar TV on Monday that parliamentary elections could be held before the beginning of Ramadan.


Prime Minister says elections to be held before Ramadan
Prime Minister Mahlab said in a phone call to Al Nahar TV on Monday that parliamentary elections could be held before the beginning of Ramadan. Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Transitional Justice ‎Ibrahim al-Heneidy reiterated this statement on Monday, saying that the first stage of parliamentary elections could be held ahead of Ramadan, scheduled to begin on June 18, and then continue after ‎Ramadan. Their statements came ahead of a second round of talks between Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab and Egypt’s political forces on Tuesday. Several party leaders and public figures attended the talks to review a new batch of proposed amendments to the parliamentary election laws. The Popular Alliance, Dostour, Nour, Popular Current, and Adl parties attended the meeting, while the Karama Party boycotted. Meanwhile, Free Egyptians Party spokesman, Shehab Wagih, said in a press conference on Monday that expanding amendments to the election laws will lead to further postponement of the elections and could threaten the third and final step of the roadmap. [Ahram Online, DNE, Shorouk (Arabic), 4/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt to amend Sinai development’s law for Suez Canal project | Egypt Independent
  • Sisi discusses efforts for correcting religious discourse | SIS
  • Sisi probes civil society’s role in achieving development | SIS
  • Brotherhood establishes administrative bureau for its members working abroad | Shorouk (Arabic)


Global campaign marks 600 days in prison without trial for photojournalist Shawkan
A Twitter campaign was launched Monday in solidarity with detained photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid, also known as Shawkan, who has been in prison for 600 days without trial. Activists on Twitter called for his release, using the hashtag #FreeShawkan, while Amnesty International called for his unconditional release in a statement, calling him a prisoner of conscience. Shawkan is detained in Tora Prison with other political detainees, despite others accused in the same case having been released pending trial, according to his brother Mohamed. [DNE, Egypt Independent, 4/6/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Trial of 227 defendants in activist killing case adjourned | Egypt Independent
  • Trial of forty over violence charges on January 25 second anniversary in Suez adjourned to April 12 | AMAY (Arabic)


Kuwait fund to lend Egypt $1.5 billion over the next five years
The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development plans to lend Egypt $1.5 billion over the next five years, extending $300 million each year, the fund’s Director-General said. He did not provide details of the loans. The fund is the Kuwaiti government’s agency for aiding developing countries in areas including agriculture, transport, and energy. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have provided billions of dollars of aid to Egypt in the past two years.  [Reuters, 4/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s reserves down to $15.3 billion in March  | Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online
  • Egyptian petroleum companies to raise EGP8.5 billion in capital | Ahram Online
  • New deliveries from 1 million residential units’ project next week | DNE
  • Finalizing procedures of $3billion loan in June says EGPC Chairman | DNE
  • Agreement between PBDAC and EHCSS to use bank’s land to store wheat | DNE
  • Four public petroleum companies to be listed on EGX | DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Petroleum Minister says fifty-six new agreements signed to explore petroleum, gas | SIS


On-arrival visas to be scrapped within six to eight months says Tourism Minister
Egypt will no longer allow tourists from certain countries to obtain a visa on arrival at the airport “within six to eight months” said the country’s tourism ministry on Tuesday. The change in policy was first announced in March to be activated in May, but was postponed amid widespread criticism from tourism operators. A foreign ministry statement said that the change in policy would be implemented when a new e-visa system was in place. Egypt’s Tourism Minister Khaled Ramy said that the new e-visa system will work on drawing tourists to the country while at the same time ensuring that Egypt’s internal security won’t be jeopardized. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 4/6/2015]

April 6 claim police harassment dogged anniversary plans
The April 6 Youth Movement says it had to commemorate its eighth anniversary “in the desert” on Monday to avoid police harassment. The movement, along with breakaway group April 6 Democratic Front, held the press conference in the desert as a message to the current regime that “no one can stop” the voice of the young, Democratic Front group leader Sherif al-Roubi said. Security agencies cancelled a reservation the group made for the conference in Fatimid Cairo, according to the group’s official Facebook page. [DNE, Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 4/6/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s media regulator issues warning to controversial show discussing Islam | Ahram Online
  • Azhar presses charges against controversial TV preacher | Mada Masr
  • Cement workers protest over annual bonus deductions | Egypt Independent
  • Drug Control Fund says Legalizing hashish threatens society | Egypt Independent
  • Endowments minister says only judiciary can dictate death penalty | Egypt Independent
  • Endowments Ministry scrutinizes Islamist schools | DNE
  • 9.2 million Egyptian children live in poverty | Egypt Independent
  • Campaign calls for conference on labor rights as protests surge in 2015 | Egypt Independent
  • FJP says they defend detainees regardless of their political affiliation | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt to be free of shantytowns in one year says Housing Minister | Ahram Online
  • Prime Minister says soccer effective way to counter-extremism and bigotry | Shorouk (Arabic)  


Egypt prepares for third phase of Gaza buffer zone
Security services have nearly completed the second stage of the buffer zone between Egypt and Gaza, which aims to tighten security and help eliminate the numerous cross-border smuggling tunnels. The second stage of the buffer zone, created to protect Egypt from militant encroachment, has involved the destruction of more than 1,150 out of a total of 1,220 houses near the border with Gaza. The third phase, of which residents in the area were informed late March, will further expand the buffer zone, forcing even more people to lose their homes. “The government will definitely expand the area of the buffer zone to start the third phase, which includes an additional 1,000 meters, in order to guarantee the destruction of the border tunnels and prevent armed groups from using them for attacks against police and military,” a security source said Monday. [Egypt Independent, 4/6/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Three injured in explosion in Aswan | Ahram Online
  • Security forces arrest seventy-five middle-ranking Brotherhood members in past 24 hours | Shorouk (Arabic)


Houthi leader says Sisi’s call for dialogue is a positive step
Mohamed Ali al-Houthi, president of Yemen’s Revolutionary Council, said that remarks by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, after his meeting with the Supreme Council of Armed Forces on Saturday, were ‘positive,’ appreciating Sisi’s call for political dialogue in Yemen. He also hoped for more support in this regard, away from military action. Houthi, who is the second most influential person in the Ansarullah movement after Abdel Malik al-Houthi, also denied that any Houthi leaders had been injured during the Decisive Storm airstrikes, led by Saudi Arabia. Speaking about the situation of Egyptians based in Yemen, he said: “They are our brothers and they have their rights. We would not remain silent if we knew any of them are hurt or if we received information about ill-treatment by citizens.” However, he added, “the Egyptian authorities should send a plane to transfer whoever wants to return to Egypt and we will secure their exit. Egypt should secure the landing and the takeoff of the civil plane from and to Yemen, in view of the airstrikes.” So far 785 Egyptians have returned from Yemen, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday. [Egypt Independent, Al Masdar (Arabic), 4/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt’s Defense Minister heads to Pakistan for military cooperation talks | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
  • Libyan official says border crossings into Egypt coordinated | MENA, SIS
  • Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta denounces anti-Islam ads on Philadelphia buses | EGYNews (Arabic)