Top News: Security Approval Required for Egyptian Travelers to Turkey and Iraq, Says Interior Ministry

Egyptians wishing to travel to Turkey or Iraq are now required to get security approval from passport control authorities. General Ayman Hamed, chief of the media bureau for the interior ministry said that the decision came earlier this week during “exceptional timing” for the region.


Cabinet preliminarily passes law regulating electoral districts
Egypt’s cabinet approved on Wednesday a draft law regulating electoral districts, in preparation for the coming parliamentary elections. The law is yet to be issued by the president to come into effect, and the draft was referred to the State Council and the Supreme Electoral Commission for revision.  Egypt’s coming parliament will be made up of 567 seats, as per the draft law; 420 members will be individually elected, 120 will join the parliament through electoral lists, and 27 members will be appointed by the president. The draft divides Egypt into 232 electoral districts. The State Council’s legislative body said it would finish reviewing the draft law within two days. [Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 12/10/2014]

Mubarak’s former prime minister to compete in upcoming elections
Ahmed Shafiq, prime minister under former president Hosni Mubarak and former presidential candidate, will lead the Egyptian Patriotic Movement’s list in the upcoming parliamentary elections, according to Yahia Qadry, the movement’s Vice President. Qadry, who is also Shafiq’s lawyer, said in a statement that he has presented a request for the prosecutor general to remove his client’s name from the ban lists. He also said in an interview that the return of his client to the political scene will give the elections “more stability.” He added that Shafiq’s running will also “prevent elements of the Muslim Brotherhood group participating in the elections.” Meanwhile, the Egyptian Front has submitted a list of forty-one names it wants to run on the electoral list of former prime minister Kamal Ganzouri, in a sign that an agreement for a joint list has been sealed. Ganzouri served as prime minister under president Hosni Mubarak and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). Egyptian Front spokesman Mostafa Bakri said the coalition was still preparing its list of candidates for the individual seats. [DNE, Ahram Online, 12/10/2014]

Also of Interest
Cabinet approves six month subsidy for families evacuated for buffer zone | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


TV host sentenced to prison for insulting fan group’s lawyer
An Egyptian misdemeanor court sentenced on Wednesday a television host to six months’ hard labor on a  5,000 Egyptian pound bail for insulting the lawyer of a football fan group. Ahmed Moussa, television host in a privately-owned satellite channel, was also ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 Egyptian pounds and an equal sum of money as compensation. He is accused of “spreading false news” and libel against Tarek al-Awady, the lawyer of the Zamalek Sporting Club’s Ultras fan group, Ultras White Knights (UWK). [Aswat Masriya, 12/10/2014]

Also of Interest
Two Brotherhood members arrested for opposing the police and military on the Internet | EGYNews (Arabic)
Morsi Ittihadiya trial postponed to December 16 | Aswat Masriya (Arabic), EGYNews (Arabic)
Yasser Ali case postponed to January 14 | EGYNews (Arabic)
Court tries Zawahiri and 67 others for establishing terrorist organization | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egypt has only begun to tackle subsidy problem says World Bank
According to a World Bank chief economist, Egypt still has “a long way to go” in the overhaul of its economy before it can regain the confidence of foreign investors. Steps by the government in July to reduce energy subsidies were “tremendous,” Shantayanan Devarajan said in an interview in Cairo yesterday. “But keep in mind that the gasoline price in Cairo today is one quarter of the world price.” Egypt will hold an economic conference in March in an attempt to attract more funds. Investors who attend will be looking for signs of the government’s commitment to restoring economic stability, such as lower subsidies, Devarajan said. [Businessweek, 12/9/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt’s inflation slows to 9.1 percent in November | Ahram Online, DNE, Reuters, Aswat Masriya
Egypt’s government to spend 1.8 billion Egyptian pounds on pensions raise | Ahram Online, SIS
Tourist spending increases 15.8 percent per night during second half of 2014 | DNE
BG in advanced talks with BP over Egypt deal | Reuters
Egypt needs legal reforms for Suez Canal hub to succeed, says consultant | Reuters
Egypt’s Orascom to sell assets to Accelero Capital | Reuters
Who benefits from Sisi’s decree increasing pensions? | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
EU offers new trade agreement to Egypt and MENA countries | Daily News Egypt


Protest law amendment ‘necessity’ says Egypt’s state human rights body
Egypt’s state body for human rights has reiterated calls to amend the controversial protest law, under which hundreds have been arrested, including key icons of the 2011 uprising. The National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) said that amending the law was a “necessity.” It also called on authorities to set a maximum period for preventive detention, which critics say is increasingly used as a punishment. In a statement marking the international day for human rights, the NCHR also stressed the role of the NGOs in supporting human rights advocacy. [Ahram Online, 12/10/2014]

Also of Interest
Power cuts back for lack of fuel | Egypt Independent
Urban Communities Authority allocates land for three churches, Azhar city | Egypt Independent
Report: Governments turn up the heat on atheists | Reuters
Fatwa issued to call for communication with youth to reduce spread of atheism| Shorouk (Arabic)
Ministry of social solidarity says NGOs grants reached 22.5 million Egyptian pounds in November | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Five militants killed in North Sinai army raid; Curfew scaled back
Security forces killed five members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis during a raid in North Sinai on Wednesday. The operation was part of the Egyptian military’s ongoing counter-insurgency operations in the region. Two people were also arrested during the raid in Sheikh Zuweid, an anonymous security said.  The raid destroyed fifteen hideouts and two vehicles without license plates, which authorities say are used in militant attacks. Meanwhile, President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi announced Tuesday decreasing the curfew hours in North Sinai areas to eleven hours a day. After a meeting between the president, prime minister and local development minister with representatives of Sinai tribes, the president announced scaling curfew hours down “to make things easier for Sinai’s locals and helping them to earn their livings.” [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, EGYNews (Arabic), 12/10/2014]

Also of Interest
Bomb goes off in Cairo’s Abbasiya | Ahram Online
Bomb defused near Arish school complex, said security sources | Aswat Masriya
Congress report: Egyptian trained jihadists on resilience facing interrogations | Egypt Independent
Sound bomb goes off at Al Azhar Girls University, no injuries reported | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
Man killed by security forces at Rafah border trying to access tunnel in buffer zone | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)
Roadside bomb targeting security forces explodes in Arish, no injuries reported | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Security approval required for Egyptian travelers to Turkey and Iraq, says interior ministry
Egyptians wishing to travel to Turkey or Iraq are now required to get security approval from passport control authorities. General Ayman Hamed, chief of the media bureau for the interior ministry said that the decision came earlier this week during “exceptional timing” for the region. Hamed mentioned that the decision only affects travelers between 18 and 40 years of age. The new decision does not affect Libya, which has only recently stipulated that Egyptians acquire a visa to cross the border after decades of unrestricted border movement. The new measure is aimed at preventing Egyptians from joining militant groups in Syria and Iraq by travelling through Turkey, the Ministry of Interior’s spokesman Hany Abdel-Latif said. [Ahram Online, 12/10/2014]

Qatar’s foreign minister says there is no feud with Egypt
Qatar’s Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiya said during a Gulf conference that Egypt’s strength serves all Arabs, adding that there is no feud between Qatar and Egypt. “There was no feud between Egypt and Qatar in the first place in order to be in need for reconciliation,” he told a press conference at the summit in Doha. The six Gulf countries participating in the summit confirmed their support for the Egyptian government and its people. [Aswat Masriya (Arabic), Ahram Gateway (Arabic), 12/10/2014]

Also of Interest
Egypt minister of defense meets with US Central Command General| SIS, Shorouk (Arabic)
Leading British Muslim group urges Qatar not to transfer Qaradawi to Egypt | Ahram Online
Sisi to visit China on December 23 | SIS
Egypt committed to providing security protection for all diplomatic missions, says FM | EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic)
Indian president reiterates readiness to strengthen ties with Egypt | EGYNews (Arabic)
Sisi holds talks with the president of Guinea | Shorouk (Arabic)