Top News: Sinai Blasts Injure Six Peacekeepers, Including Four Americans, Pentagon Says

Six soldiers including four Americans were injured on Thursday in two blasts in northeast Sinai caused by improvised explosive devices, the Pentagon said. The Multinational Force and Observer peacekeepers were evacuated “by air to a medical facility where all are receiving treatment for non-life-threatening injuries,” Captain Jeff Davis said in a statement. The four Americans were struck by the second blast as they were en route to help the soldiers hurt in the first, according to Major Roger Cabiness. Cabiness said the Pentagon remains concerned about the deteriorating security conditions in the region. “We are considering what, if any, additional measures might be needed to ensure force protection. This includes bringing in additional equipment if necessary,” he told Reuters. An official from the Multinational Force and Observers’ peacekeeping mission in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula says their vehicles that were hit with explosive devices are similar to ones used by the Egyptian army, but were painted white. The US Defense Department said Thursday the soldiers were being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. [Reuters, AP, 9/4/2015]


Politician Abul-Ghar resigns from Egyptian Social Democratic Party
Prominent politician Mohamed Abul-Ghar has resigned as head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party citing a schism within the group ahead of the long-awaited parliamentary elections. Abul-Gahr, 75, said his exit was prompted by destructive splits, “polarization” and failed attempts to “heal the rift” within the party. “It strikes me that my desire for the party to have a clear social democratic ideology, to be popular, and to self-finance is impossible with these disagreements raging,” Abul-Ghar said in his resignation letter. Ahmed Fawzy, the party’s Secretary General, said disagreements in the party are merely “differences of opinion over political stances.” He added that the party has not yet accepted the resignation, saying its board will convene on Saturday to decide on a course of action. If they accept the resignation then Ziad Bahaa El-Din, the party’s second in command who served as Deputy Prime Minister under an interim government following Mohamed Morsi’s 2013 removal, will take over as acting head until a new leader is elected. [Ahram Online, 9/3/2015]

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Court refers three to Mufti to consider death penalty for murder of officer
A case against three people was referred to the Grand Mufti on Thursday, signaling a death sentence for the murder of an officer in Alexandria on August 14, 2013. Major Hossan Bahey of the Central Security Forces was securing the Library of Alexandria, the largest cultural complex in Egypt, when assailants shot him. The shooting occurred as part of wide-scale violence across Egypt after police forcibly dispersed the pro-Mohamed Morsi Raba’a al-Adaweya sit-in, killing hundreds of protesters. Judges seek the Grand Mufti’s unbinding religious opinion on death sentences. The judge scheduled the sentencing for September 28, after which defendants may appeal. [Cairo Post, 9/3/2015]

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  • Egypt sentences belly dancers to six months for racy music videos | AP


Yuan effect chokes Egypt as trades signal pound peg too high
Traders are convinced Egypt will not resist the pressure to weaken the pound for long. The black market for dollars on Cairo’s streets has reemerged for the first time since April, signaling that investors and businesses are betting the pound’s official rate of 7.83 per dollar no longer represents its true value. Egypt may follow nations such as Kazakhstan and Vietnam that were forced to depreciate their currencies after China’s yuan devaluation on August 11. Egypt weakened its currency peg twice in 2015, most recently in July. The country cannot afford the loss of export competitiveness as it seeks to boost foreign-exchange holdings that have barely recovered since 2011. The Central Bank’s decision to keep the pound’s dollar peg steady risks exacerbating an already widening trade deficit and turning away foreign investment. [Bloomberg, 9/3/2015]

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  • Cultural tourism declines against coastal tourism in Egypt | DNE
  • Egypt may establish holding company for cinema says Culture Minister | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt gains EGP 5.6 billion, index up by 2.03 percent| SIS
  • Egypt, US discuss fostering expertise exchange in cultivating rice, cotton | MENA
  • IMF official: New Suez Canal to boost Egypt’s development march, increase growth rates | SIS
  • 1356 ships crossed New Suez Canal since inauguration: SCA | Cairo Post


Egypt’s population grows by over 3.5 million since 2014: CAPMAS
Egypt’s population increased by 2.2 million in the year following January 2014 to reach 87.9 million in January 2015, and by 1.5 since then to reach over 89 million, data from the national census authority shows. Cairo hosts the most people of the country’s twenty-seven governorates with 10.5 percent of the populace, over nine million people, according the statistical yearbook released this week by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). The yearbook said the country’s population stood at 85.78 million in January 2014 and increased by 2.56 percent over twelve months to 87.9 million in January of this year. But the CAPMAS population ticker now stands at over 89.4 million, meaning Egypt’s population has increased by over 1.5 million since January, representing a 1.7 percent change in eight months. [Ahram Online, 9/3/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Residents worried after police attempt to evacuate Giza slum | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s business tycoon Sawiris offers to buy island as home for migrants | Ahram Online, AFP


Head of US Air Forces Central Command visits Egypt
United States Air Forces Central Command (USAFCENT) commander Lieutenant General Charles Q Brown Jr. met the Egyptian Air Force’s Commander-in-Chief Air Marshal Younes Hamed in Cairo during a two-day visit to Egypt, the US embassy in Cairo has announced. According to a Wednesday statement by the US embassy, Lt Gen Brown arrived in Egypt on Monday. USAFCENT is the air component of the United States Central Command responsible for US air operations across twenty countries in South West Asia and the Middle East. The two men discussed Egypt’s vital role as a force for regional stability and the “importance of a prosperous, stable, democratic Egypt as a bulwark against terrorism,” the statement added. The two commanders also discussed military cooperation between their countries. [Ahram Online, 9/3/2015]

Egypt’s Sisi arrives in Jakarta, last stop of Asian tour
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi arrived in Indonesia’s Jakarta early on Friday, Egyptian state television reported, in the final stop on a weeklong Asian tour which included stops in Singapore and China. Sisi will hold bilateral talks with his Indonesian counterpart, Joko Widodo, on Friday, and the men will sign a memorandum of understanding between the two countries relating to a number of sectors. Sisi will also meet the secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) at the association’s headquarters. The Egyptian president is also expected to sign a number of agreements. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, SIS, 9/4/2015]

Twenty-six Egyptian fishermen drown near Tripoli says Fishermen’s Syndicate
Twenty six Egyptian fishermen have drowned off the Libyan coast by the city of Khoms, the head of the national fishermen’s syndicate Ahmed Abdou announced on Thursday. Speaking to Al-Ahram, Abdou said twenty-six Egyptian fishermen on two fishing boats and the boats’ six Libyan owners drowned off Khoms, one hundred kilometers east of Tripoli, due to extreme weather conditions. Abdou also said four Egyptian fishermen were saved and have been detained pending investigation in a Khoms prison. Meanwhile, a Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said three Egyptian fishermen drowned in Libya’s territorial waters. [Ahram Online, 9/4/2015]

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  • Chinese fleet arrives in Egypt for five day visit | Cairo Post,  DPA
  • First German’s charter flights to land in Luxor | SIS
  • Pope Tawadros II meets US Congressional delegation | Cairo Post