Top News: Sabbahi Demands Changes for Constitutional Articles on Freedoms

Constituent Assembly AFP.jpg

Hamdeen Sabbahi, founder of the new Popular Current Party and former presidential candidate, said on Wednesday evening that he agreed with Alliance of the Egyptian Nation head Amr Moussa that 10 articles in the new constitution’s section on rights and freedoms should be amended.


Former parliament speaker rebuffs corruption claims
Former Speaker of the People’s Assembly on Thursday denied charges included in a complaint filed by 42 parliamentary workers accusing him of squandering public funds. The complaint was filed on Wednesday by a group calling itself the Coalition of People’s Assembly Workers at the Public Prosecutor against Mohamed Saad al-Katatny, former speaker of the dissolved People’s Assembly, and the Assembly’s resigned secretary, Samy Mahran. They accused Mahran of complicity with Katatny in allowing him to keep the car and sentry provided to him by the People’s Assembly despite its dissolution in June. [Egypt Independent, ONA (Arabic) 10/4/2012]

President Morsi sacks head of CAOA
President Mohamed Morsi issued Thursday 04/10/2012 a presidential decree to dismiss head of the Central Agency for Organization and Administration (CAOA) Safwat El-Nahass. Morsi mandated Jihan Abdul-Rahman as an acting head of the agency as of Friday. El-Nahass issued a statement in which he said he respected the president’s decision, adding that there was no dispute between him and the president. CAOA employees said that the dismissal came as a surprise. Sources stated that the reason for the dismissal was El-Nahass’ reluctance to provide jobs for protesters injured during the revolution. [SIS, Al Masry al Youm (Arabic) 10/5/2012]

Egypt’s Mursi dogged by own promises in first 100 days
Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has won grudging respect from detractors in his first 100 days by sending the army back to barracks faster than anyone expected and raising Egypt’s international profile in several newsmaking visits abroad. Yet his political fortunes and those of the Muslim Brotherhood which propelled him to power may well depend on his delivering on more mundane issues such as easing traffic congestion and bread and fuel shortages by October 7 as promised. Mursi’s successes have often been overshadowed in the Egyptian media by domestic problems, including industrial action that has served as a reminder of the deep economic problems that fuelled the uprising against predecessor President Hosni Mubarak. [Reuters, 10/5/2012]


Constituent Assembly decides on Sharia, parliamentary elections
The Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the new constitution has agreed to preserve Article 2 of the 1971 Constitution without amendment, and that parliamentary elections would be held within 60 days of approval of the new constitution. The assembly also agreed on how amendments can be made to the constitution in the future. They also agreed that Christians and Jews may follow their own religious protocols in matters of personal status, and choose their spiritual leaders freely and that Al-Azhar should be independent. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online 10/4/2012]

Sabbahi demands changes for constitutional articles on freedoms
Hamdeen Sabbahi, founder of the new Popular Current Party and former presidential candidate, said on Wednesday evening that he agreed with Alliance of the Egyptian Nation head Amr Moussa that 10 articles in the new constitution’s section on rights and freedoms should be amended. Moussa and Sabbahi plan to submit suggestions regarding these amendments to the Constituent Assembly’s Proposals Committee. If the assembly would reject their suggestions, Sabbahi said during a press conference, then 30 assembly members belonging to the civil sector would withdraw. [Egypt Independent, Ahram Online 10/5/2012]


Egypt economic reforms must protect the ‘vulnerable’: IMF
Egypt’s long-awaited economic reform programme should take the protection of the country’s economically "vulnerable groups" as one of its central planks, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday. Reforms, currently being drafted by the Egyptian government to qualify for a $4.8 billion-plus IMF loan, should should "take account of social dimensions and in particular the protection of vulnerable groups," said the fund’s spokesman Gerry Rice. [Ahram Online, 10/5/2012]

New investment projects to create jobs, reduce unemployment, says minister
The government has devised a strategic plan aimed at creating new jobs and reducing the unemployment rate, which Minister of Investment Osama Saleh claims currently stands at 12.7 percent, Saleh said during a meeting with the Egyptian-Lebanese Businessmen Friendship Association on Thursday. Saleh also said that eight multinational corporations have applied to invest in the port of East Port Said and the Silicon Valley project in Ismailia. “We signed contracts for US$1.5 billion for projects northwest of the Gulf of Suez that would provide 40,000 job opportunities,” the minister said. “And we will concentrate on small and medium enterprises.” [Egypt Independent, 10/4/2012]

Egypt Discusses a New Loan with the World Bank
The Egyptian government has started negotiating loan with the World Bank to finance the privatisation and restructuring of the public sector. The former International Monetary Fund’s assistant managing director, Dr. Fakhry El-Fekky, said the government may have to continue the privatisation process started by the previous governments. He said there are indicators the government is willing to reconsider restructuring tax and public sector salary systems. [Daily News Egypt, Al Bawaba, 10/4/2012]


Morsy visits Arish to discuss security, talk to Copts
President Mohamed Morsy visited Arish, the capital of North Sinai, today. State TV broadcast footage of the president performing Friday prayers in a mosque there alongside Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Morsy’s offical Facebook page said the president went to Arish with a number of ministers to take stock of the security situation in the area, and meet with tribal chiefs and political parties. "The visit also includes a meeting with the Christian families residing in Rafah in order to inspire confidence among them," the Facebook statement said. [Egypt Independent, SIS, EGYNews (Arabic) 10/5/2012]


Amnesty for 569 Egyptian prisoners on 6 October anniversary
The prisoners service sector has approved President Mohamed Morsi’s decision to pardon 569 common prisoners for the 6 October national holiday. The pardoned prisoners were chosen by a committee headed by the deputy interior minister for prison affairs, Major General Mohammed Naguib. [Ahram Online, Al Masry al Youm (Arabic) 10/5/2012]

Doctors plan to escalate strike
Doctors plan to treat patients for free in the upcoming week, in what they are describing as the “free treatment strike,” which they say will be their slogan throughout the week. The move is the latest attempt at escalation of the partial strike started by public hospital doctors on 1 October. The strike came as a result of a Doctors’ Syndicate decision taken at their general assembly last month, and will enter its second week on Monday. The strike has been plagued by internal quarrels and conflicting numbers on actually doctor participation in the strike. [Daily News Egypt, Aswat Masriya, Shorouk (Arabic) 10/5/2012]                                                                                                                                                                                

Activists demand SCAF be tried for Maspero massacre as anniversary nears
As the first anniversary of the Maspero violence approaches, activists and political groups are demanding that former SCAF members be put on trial, criticizing what they call “the safe exit of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces” from responsibility for the events. In a statement released on Thursday, the Maspero Youth Union demanded that SCAF members be held legally responsible for the murder of the protesters, given that they ruled Egypt during the interim period after the 25 January revolution. The statement called for the trial of, among others, Major General Hamdi Badeen and Major General Hassan Ruweini, along with former Minster of Defense, Hussein Tantawi.  [Egypt Independent, Masrawy, (Arabic) 10/4/2012]

Egypt has refused aid for NGOs worth hundreds of millions of pounds, says minister
The Ministry of Insurance and Social Affairs has approved LE600 million worth of grants to NGOs since 30 June 2012, but in the same period rejected LE96.2 hundred million for “sovereign and national security considerations,” said Minister Nagwa Khalil during a press conference on Thursday. [Egypt Independent, 10/4/2012]


Hawatmeh holds key meetings in Cairo
In a series of meetings conducted over the week, Secretary General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Nayef Hawatmeh met with Al-Dostor Party leaders. During the meeting on Thursday attended by Ahmed Al-Bor’ei, deputy head of Al-Dostor, Emad Abu Ghazy, its secretary general, and George Ishac, its governorates’ committee rapporteur, huge emphasis was placed on both parties’ rejection of the Israeli-sponsored regional solution to the Palestinian crisis. Meanwhile, Al-Dostor Party cited reservations in regards to the proposed project of setting up a free zone in the area between Gaza and Sinai. [Daily News Egypt, Ahram Gateway, 10/5/2012]

Photo Credit: AFP

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