Top News: Russian Aviation Authority Bans EgyptAir Flights to Russia; Egypt Says Plane’s Final Seconds to be Analyzed Abroad

Russian aviation agency Rosaviatsia has banned flights by EgyptAir, Egypt’s state-owned flag carrier, to Russia, effective November 14, an official of the Moscow Domodedovo airport reportedly said on Friday. Rosaviatsia declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. Meanwhile, Egypt will send a copy of the sound recording from the Russian Airbus A321 black box abroad for analysis, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamal also announced on Friday. Kamal said, “The last seven seconds of the black box recordings will be transferred to a country that manufactures aircrafts … to analyze the sound and it’s cause.” He did not specify which country would receive the black box recording. On Thursday, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry denied earlier reports that Cairo had green lighted the FBI to join the international investigations. Officials at the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the FBI said on Thursday that neither of the agencies were invited to join the Egyptian-led investigation into the crash. Representatives for the FBI said that the bureau had offered both Egyptian and Russian crash investigators forensic assistance and other investigative help, but as of Thursday its offers had not been accepted. An NTSB spokesman said that for the last several days his agency had been answering technical questions from Egyptian crash investigators on an informal basis. Some questions have related to the plane’s engines, manufactured by the US company Pratt & Whitney, NTSB spokesman said. Meanwhile, Britain’s swift suspension of flights after the crash has revived old grievances in Egypt, with newspaper columns, television broadcasts, street conversations, and government websites repeating a daily chorus of accusations that Britain pre-empted the investigation when it said the plane was likely to have been brought down by a bomb. Kazakhstan is the latest to join the list of countries suspending tourist flights into Sharm al-Sheikh in the wake of the crash. Sharm al-Sheikh International Airport Director Abdel Wahab Ali, however, said the airport expected fifty scheduled international and domestic flights on Thursday, carrying tourist groups from different countries, including eight flights from Ukraine carrying 1,100 tourists, two from Belgium and Saudi Arabia, one from Italy and Jordan and eight domestic flights. Nineteen Russian and nine British flights were scheduled to arrive without passengers to pick up Russian and British tourists. According to an unnamed airport official, around 2,227 tourists arrived in Sharm al-Sheikh on Friday. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, AP, 11/13/2015]


Next parliament can be bought with money says Nour Party
The composition of Egypt’s forthcoming parliament will reflect the influence financial bribes had on voters, said the Salafi-led Nour Party, continuing to voice anger over its electoral failure in the first phase of elections. “After the squandering of electoral money we have witnessed under a useless electoral system, any wealthy businessman can now buy Egypt’s parliament for his own benefit for no more than $100 or $200 million,” Party Chairman Younis Makhioun said on his Facebook page Friday. “That number is nothing for businessmen, it is the price of a tower overlooking the Nile or a tourist resort.” According to Makhioun, the influence of financial luring will put the next parliament in “a bad condition because of people who do not care for the country’s best.” The Salafi Call, which the party represents, supported Makhioun’s criticisms. “The elections saw the most obvious use of political money,” the organization’s deputy chairman, Yasser Borhamy, told Al-Masry al-Youm. He criticized the “state’s disregard for flagrant violations….where votes were bought outside polling stations.” Borhamy also indicated that businessmen-owned satellite channels also violated the electoral laws. “They broadcast unequivocal propaganda for specific candidates at the expense of Nour Party candidates who were the focus of attacks.” The High Elections Committee has acknowledged violations occurred, but said they were on a very limited scale. [AMAY, 11/13/2015]

EIPR report probes laws passed by executive order since 2011 uprising
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) said in a report on Wednesday that over 300 laws have been issued by executive order since the 2011 uprising. It raised doubts on whether the issuance of these laws in the absence of parliament was a matter of urgent necessity. According to the constitution, the Egyptian president holds legislative power in the absence of a legislature to pass necessary laws. In a launch event for the report, Amr Abdel Rahman, head of the organization’s civil freedoms unit, said that the over-active issuance of laws over the past five years have affected almost all aspects of public life. The report criticized several of the laws issued by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, including ones related to investment. It also criticized laws on criminal justice, saying that the state has issued many laws that create harsher penalties “unnecessarily” and that raise fines to “unprecedented levels.” The upcoming parliament is required by law to review these laws, some of which have been the subject of fierce societal debate, within fifteen days of convening. Many are questioning whether the parliament will be able to discuss such a huge number of laws within the set timeframe. The parliament will address the legality of numerous controversial laws enacted since 2011 including the protest law and several put in place to combat terrorism. [Aswat Masriya, 11/12/2015]

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US fund aims to increase investment in Egypt to $1 billion over three years
The Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund aims to increase its investments in the Egyptian market to $1 billion, according to the fund’s board member Hani Sarie-Eldin. The fund recently acquired a 20 percent stake of Fawry for e-payments through a deal worth $20 million. Sarie-Eldin said another deal worth $65 million was recently signed, however he refused to provide additional details. Sarie-Eldin said the fund has a capital of $300 million. The fund aims to support financial inclusion and  increase foreign and local investment in Egypt.[DNE, 11/12/2015]

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  • Egypt’s market ends a week of losses in green | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Egyptian non-oil exports rise 0.5 percent in October | Ahram Online
  • Egypt signs oil and gas exploration deals with Eni | Ahram Online, SIS
  • Egyptian companies to complete five metro stations for first time | Cairo Post
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Twelve NGOs dissolved over suspected Brotherhood ties
Egypt’s Social Solidarity Ministry dissolved Thursday twelve non-governmental organizations, claiming they have ties with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Wali said the assets and funds of those organizations will be redirected to the ministry’s NGO assistance fund. She said the measure comes in line with a court verdict that requires activities and assets held by Brotherhood-affiliated NGOs to be banned and frozen. The statement from the minister added that this decision brings the total number of organizations dissolved to 545. [AMAY, Cairo Post, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 11/12/2015]

Amnesty petition gathers nearly 145,000 signatures to release “anti-torture T-shirt” detainee
Amnesty International gathered the signatures of nearly 145,000 people from 138 countries in a petition calling for “the immediate and unconditional release” of nineteen year-old student detained for wearing an anti-torture T-shirt in Egypt, the group said in a statement Thursday. Mahmoud Mohamed Hussein has been in jail since 2014, when he was arrested on the third anniversary of the January uprising for wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words “nation without torture.” He has been in jail for more than 600 days. Amnesty sent a petition to Egypt’s public prosecutor with a total of 144,593 signatures calling for Hussein’s release. He is due in court on November 16 where the judge will either renew his detention order or release him. According to Amnesty International’s statement, Hussein has not been formally charged or tried for any crimes. [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 11/12/2015]

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  • Fisherman drowns, two injured in Kafr al-Sheikh | MENA
  • Ministry investigates statement about imams visiting resort cities | AMAY
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  • Housing Minister removes illegal encroachments on state land in Sohag | Cairo Post


Imprisoned student Ayman Moussa may be allowed to attend father’s funeral says MOI source
Detained student Ayman Moussa may be let out of prison to attend his father’s funeral on Friday, an anonymous Interior Ministry source told state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram. Moussa, a 21-year-old engineering student and athlete at the British University in Cairo, is serving a fifteen year sentence at Wadi al-Natrun Prison. He was arrested with sixty-two others during the dispersal of a protest on October 6, 2013, in the vicinity of the Supreme Court building in downtown Cairo. After Moussa’s father died on Tuesday, his family made a public plea to the Ministry of Interior to allow him to attend the burial on Thursday, but the ministry did not respond. Sympathizers with the imprisoned student launched a social media campaign called #سيبوا_ايمن_يدفن_ابوه (Let Ayman bury his father) to pressure officials to grant a temporary release. [Mada Masr, 11/12/2015]

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Sisi meets with CEO of defense contractor Lockheed Martin
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi met the CEO of top US defense contractor Lockheed Martin, Marillyn Hewson, in Cairo on Thursday. Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef said in a statement that Sisi had praised the current cooperation with the company, which has provided Egypt with a number of F-16 fighter jets. The world’s largest defense contractor, Lockheed Martin manufactures F-16, F-22, and F-35 fighter jets as well as warships and other multibillion-dollar arms systems sold worldwide. “Sisi is hoping for a continued cooperation in the framework of Egypt’s keenness on reinforcing its security and stability, especially in the light of current regional challenges,” the presidential statement read. Hewson asserted the importance of Egypt’s role in supporting the base of stability and security in the Middle East, especially given its notable role in the international fight against terrorism, according to the statement. She said that her corporation is dedicated to continued cooperation with Egypt in all fields, providing Egypt with its needs to achieve security and promote its capabilities. [Ahram Online, SIS, AMAY, 11/12/2015]

Sisi orders finalization of procedures with Russia for nuclear plant project
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has asked top officials to finalize all the legal and technical procedures in order to implement a Russian bid to establish a nuclear power plant on the country’s Mediterranean coast, the presidency said in a statement on Thursday. Sisi met with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, Minister of Electricity Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Finance Hani Qadry, and the head of the financial affairs authority for Egypt’s armed forces. “Both the electricity and the finance ministers displayed the benefits of the Russian nuclear power plant,” the statement read, adding that “the president asked officials to complete the final procedures in order to approve the Russian offer and launch the construction of the project officially.” [Ahram Online, SIS, Cairo Post, 11/12/2015]

Also of Interest

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