Top News: Security Forces Arrest Senior Brotherhood Figure Hassan Malek

Egyptian security forces arrested Hassan Malek, a leader of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, security officials said. A statement issued early Friday by the Interior Ministry said Malek, and four other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, were arrested after the National Security Agency received information that the group was planning to harm the Egyptian economy by “gathering foreign currency from the market” in order to “destabilize the price of the US dollar” in Egypt. The five are accused of using foreign exchange companies affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood to smuggle money, especially foreign currency, out of the country. Malek’s family posted the news of his arrest on his daughter’s Facebook page. All of Malek’s assets have been frozen since September 2014 when the North Cairo Criminal Court upheld a decision by the prosecutor general to freeze the assets of prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders. [Ahram Online, Reuters, Aswat Masriya, Cairo Post


Nour Party ready to withdraw from political arena
The Nour Party is ready to withdraw from the political arena to protect Egypt from collapse and from the dangers threatening other countries in the region, said Nour Party Chairman Younes Makhioun. Makhioun told TV channel al-Hewar, which is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, that the party garnered votes in the first stage of the elections equal to the votes garnered by all other parties, despite fraud allegations. “We entered the elections in an unfair atmosphere that lacked the most basic rules of fairness and justice, which was revealed in the whole atmosphere of fraud,” he added. Makhioun said fraud was not limited to votes, but was present in the whole electoral process. Many, especially youth, have called for a withdrawal from the elections due to the injustice placed on the party, particularly in the media, the party said in a statement Thursday. The state has not taking action against those who attacked the Nour Party in the pre-election silence, Borhamy added. Meanwhile, the Upper Egyptian governorate of Minya alone saw ten Coptic candidates competing in the run-offs, in an unprecedented phenomenon, particularly for a tribal province that regularly makes headlines for its sectarian tensions. There are more than ten other Coptic candidates participating in the run-offs for individual seats. [AMAY, Mada Masr, 10/23/2015]

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Court bans anti-protest law movement Bedaya
The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters banned anti-protest law movement Bedaya Thursday and ruled that its properties be confiscated. Lawyer Ashraf Farahat had filed the lawsuit against Bedaya, saying it is a part of “the biggest conspiracy in history against Egypt.” Farahat added in the lawsuit that the group aimed to restructure the Interior Ministry and release jailed terrorists. He also claimed that Bedaya is a cover for the April 6 Youth Movement to “spread chaos in the country.” April 6 was banned by the same court in April 2014. [Cairo Post, 10/22/2015]


Can Egypt’s new central bank chief calm currency crisis?
New leadership at the top of Egypt’s Central Bank (CBE) has raised hopes of impending change to a monetary policy that has failed to stabilize the pound, angered importers, and become personally associated with current CBE governor Hisham Ramez. Tarek Amer, who begins his four-year term on November 27, is seen as a dynamic and collaborative manager credited with transforming the fortunes of Egypt’s largest bank. Bankers and importers say Amer’s arrival gives the CBE an opportunity to reverse some existing policies without losing credibility. However, Amer has difficult choices to make. While the CBE faces pressure to devalue the pound, many oppose such a move, fearing it appeases business but stokes inflation in an import-reliant country. When President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi named Amer to take over the CBE, he stressed the need to prioritize vulnerable Egyptians by controlling inflation and ensuring their access to food, medicine, and fuel. Calls by some businessmen to link the pound to a trade-weighted basket of currencies or to float the currency altogether carry considerable risks. On Thursday, the CBE fixed the price of the dollar against the pound in the first tender being offered to sell dollars to banks since Ramez’s resignation. [Reuters, 10/23/2015]

World Bank, AfDB reaffirm commitment to boost Egypt’s economy
A World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) delegation met on Thursday with Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to reaffirm commitment to assisting the country’s economy. Representatives from several of Egypt’s ministries also attended the meeting. Ismail stressed the Egyptian government’s determination to cooperate with international financial institutions in order to revive Egypt’s economy and improve the investment climate, Cabinet Spokesman Hossam Qaweesh said in a statement. Last week, Egypt started negotiations over a $3 billion loan from the World Bank, in addition to $1.5 billion from the AfDB to support development programs in the state budget. The government is negotiating the exact value of the loans. [Amwal Al Ghad, 10/22/2015]

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Egypt’s official cabinet website hacked
Egypt’s official cabinet website was hacked early Thursday by an anonymous group of hackers in solidarity with protesters killed in August 2013 in the dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi Raba’a al-Adaweya sit-in. The group, calling themselves ‘Anonymous R4BIA Team,’ also hacked the website of the Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC), the Egyptian cabinet’s official think tank. The group, which says it is not a Muslim Brotherhood group, said that it was defending the rights of the people who were killed in the dispersal of the Raba’a and Nahda Square sit-ins. According to the IDSC, the hackers were unable to infiltrate the main system or gain access to confidential information. [Ahram Online, AMAY, Aswat Masriya, 10/22/2015]

Shrine closed for Shia commemorations says Ministry
The shrine of Al-Hussein will be closed by the Ministry of Religious Endowments from Thursday to Saturday, during the religious Shia Ashoura celebrations, state-owned news agency MENA reported. An official statement from the ministry said the reason behind the closure was to prevent “Shia rituals that don’t belong to Islam,” and the “Shia lies” that take place during the celebrations. Endowments Ministry Undersecretary Mohamed Abdel Razek said, the Endowments Ministry and Al-Azhar are fighting the “Shia tide in the Arab region and Egypt in particular,” adding that the imams of the mosques were ordered to report any celebration activity to the police. [Ahram Online, 10/22/2015]

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Egyptian police officer killed by explosive device in North Sinai
A police captain was killed and three security personnel were injured when an IED detonated in North Sinai on Friday, the Interior Ministry announced. A statement by the Ministry issued Friday afternoon said that Central Security Forces Police Captain Mohamed Gouda was killed while a policeman and two conscripts were injured. The IED was placed in a car and detonated as the security personnel passed it on the International Highway in al-Arish. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry released a statement announcing that a police officer and a soldier were injured by shrapnel when members of a bomb squad were defusing an IED in the Haram district of Giza. [Ahram Online, AP, Cairo Post, 10/23/2015]

Muslim Brotherhood member killed in Assiut
A Muslim Brotherhood member was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police in Assiut on Thursday, State Information Service (SIS) said in a statement. According to SIS, the Brotherhood member, Ahmed Zakaria was wanted over charges of joining a terrorist organization and torching a police vehicle. The statement added that Zakaria was fatally wounded after the exchange of fire with police, and died after he was taken to a local hospital. [SIS, 10/23/2015]


Egypt, Sudan agree on opening Arjin crossing
The Egyptian-Sudanese joint committee tasked with overseeing border crossings approved the opening of the Arjin crossing, resulting in the creation of a land road extending from Alexandria to Cape Town in South Africa. During the committee’s sixth meeting that was hosted by the Sudanese Foreign Ministry in Khartoum, representatives from both sides hailed the cooperation between the two Arab neighbors that resulted in the inauguration of Qastal-Ashkeet border crossing on April 30, 2015. They reviewed the operation at the crossing and lauded it on economic, security, and social levels, according to State Information Service (SIS). SIS added that the committee decided to host a monthly meeting attended by Egyptian and Sudanese officials running the border crossing and called on the committee to discuss ways to facilitate the movement of goods-carrying trucks on both sides. First Undersecretary of International Cooperation and head of Egypt’s side to the Committee Fathi Mahmoud Abdel Azim said that the inauguration of Arjin crossing will contribute a great deal to increasing the movement of trade and investment. The Arjin crossing will provide Egyptian exports access to the heart of the African market, and give Sudanese goods access to Europe through Alexandria, SIS added. The two sides will continue to meet to ensure the viability and successful operation of the crossing. [SIS, 10/13/2015]

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