Top News: Sisi for Climate Change Deal, but Demands Western Funding

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, representing African nations at a UN summit on climate change in Paris, said African countries are, compared to developed nations, less responsible for emissions of greenhouses gases that cause climate change. At the Summit, Sisi called for more funding and “clearly defined commitments” from Western nations to provide African nations the ability to combat the effects of climate change. “All African nations are contributing less to the total harmful emissions and are the most affected by climate change,” Sisi told global leaders. He added, “Africa demands an international, just, and clear agreement that considers disparity of burdens between developed and developing countries.” He called for “bolstering the ability of developing countries to cope with climate change,” while urging a funding of $100 million yearly by 2020 to developing countries to fend off the phenomenon. He also cited a UN environmental report putting the financial gap in funding to Africa at $12 million a year by 2020—a gap that is expected to widen. He also called for the creation of an international accord to address the issues of climate change and place a legally binding agreement in place to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 12/1/2015]


Egypt holds final two days of voting in parliament elections
Egyptian polling centers in nearly half of the country, including in the capital of Cairo, have opened their doors to voters amid tight security for the final round of runoffs in parliament elections. State newspaper Al-Ahram reported delays in the opening of 107 polling stations in the Delta’s Menoufiya governorate. Three secular political forces—the Free Egyptians Party, Future of Homeland, and the Wafd Party—are expected to win the lion’s share of the seats in the parliament. They have so far gained 87 seats, and have 145 candidates in the run-off round. The Nour Party, on the other hand, has only four candidates in the run-off, all competing in the Nile Delta governorate of Kafr al-Sheikh. On Tuesday morning, representatives of international organizations monitoring the runoffs noted that the elections were well secured but turnout was low in the polling stations they visited. An estimated 9,870 Egyptian expatriates voted on the first day of the run-off at 139 embassies and consulates worldwide, Foreign Minister Aide Hamdy Louza said Monday. [AP, Ahram Online, MENA, SIS, Cairo Post, 12/1/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Minister highlights plight of Egyptian child migrants | DNE
  • MP wants use of parliamentary passport be limited to official travels | AMAY


Egyptian court grants doctors ‘contamination allowance’ of EGP 1000
Egypt’s administrative court issued a “historic” decision Saturday to grant doctors a contamination allowance—an amount of money given in compensation for the risk of contracting diseases. The Doctors Syndicate announced the decision in a statement, saying it had requested an increase from EGP 15-30 to EGP 1,000 monthly. The administrative court accepted the syndicate’s request, canceling a previous decision to reject it. The decision will be implemented by a decision from the Prime Minister, according to the 2015 civil service law. The syndicate said it will take legal measures in order for the government to announce the court decision so it can come into effect. [Ahram Online, 11/30/2015]

Amr Nohan’s sentence for photoshopping picture of Sisi upheld by military court
The Masra Matrouh military court rejected an appeal Tuesday on lawyer Ahmed Nohan’s three-year jail sentence for photoshopping President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi with Mickey Mouse ears. According to media reports, he was tried in a military court because he was a conscript at the time. Nohan was arrested on October 10 on charges of mocking state icons, as the picture spread on social media. Nohan’s arrest resulted in the picture becoming even more widespread on social media, with many activists denouncing his arrest and republishing the picture in a show of support. [DNE, 12/1/2015]

Islam Beheiry released on bail pending blasphemy trial
A misdemeanor court in Cairo has released controversial TV host Islam Beheiry from jail on a EGP 50,000 bail, pending consideration of his appeal following a five-year sentence over charges of blasphemy. Beheiry was sentenced to five years in prison in May for insulting Islam during his nightly show on satellite TV channel Al-Qahera wal Nas. Beheiry said in earlier statements that he was facing more than forty lawsuits related to his program. On Monday, the court postponed his appeal to December 28. [AMAY, 12/1/2015]


Central Bank of Egypt unable to meet EGPC’s dollar requirements
The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) is unable to provide the monthly requirement of $700 million to import petroleum materials and natural gas. An official from the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) said the state gas company requested $700 million per month from the CBE in the second quarter of the current fiscal year to import petroleum materials and natural gas. However, in October the CBE provided only $160 million, which placed pressure on the EGPC to provide the remaining dollar requirements to meet the market’s needs. The official said the CBE told the EGPC that it is unable to provide all the monthly dollar requirements due to pressure on foreign currency reserves and Egypt’s credit rating. Meanwhile, the Federation of Egyptian Banks (FEB) on Monday rejected the Egyptian Tax Authority’s effort to register a value-added tax (VAT). A source said that the FEB drafted a memorandum detailing the banks’ rejection of the VAT registration and submitted it to new CBE Governor Tarek Amer.  [DNE, 11/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • EBRD allocates $500 million for Egypt’s solar program | DNE, EBRD
  • MSCI, economy worries sink Qatar; Egypt down on FX fears | Reuters
  • Egypt central bank says clears $547.2 million backlog owed to foreign investors | Reuters
  • Egypt’s Eastern Company appoints new chairman | Reuters
  • 9.3 percent decrease of tourists in October says CAPMAS | Cairo Post
  • Ukrainian tourist numbers drop by nearly half compared to last year | Aswat Masriya
  • Egypt expects EGP 700 million in investments for building materials, electronic products | DNE
  • Egypt needs EGP 100 billion to meet water sanitation needs | Ahram Online


Sinai expert detained upon arrival at Hurghada airport
National security forces detained investigative journalist, sociopolitical researcher, and Sinai expert Ismail Alexandrani upon his arrival at the Hurghada Airport early Sunday, his wife Khadeega Gaafar wrote on her Twitter account Monday. Alexandrani flew in from Berlin, where Gaafar alleges the Egyptian embassy had issued the warrant for his arrest on charges related to collaborating with international rights organizations. According to human rights lawyer, Gamal Eid, embassies are not authorized to issue arrest warrants, but do send reports on the activities of Egyptians abroad to local authorities that can result in disciplinary action. A source told Al-Ahram that prosecutors had issued a warrant for Alexandrani’s arrest, and that he was referred to State Security prosecutors for questioning, while security officials reportedly assured his friends he would be freed. At time of publishing, there was still no news on the results of the ongoing interrogation, which is said to have lasted 19 hours, or whether Alexandrani will face charges. Meanwhile, Sherif al-Afify, a member of the Ultras Ahlawy group, has been missing for six days according to his family. Afify’s sister said security forces stormed their house in Nahia, Giza, Thursday afternoon and took the young man into custody. They remain unaware of his whereabouts.  [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, Mada Masr, 11/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptians ask minister if he can live on EGP 2 per day | DNE
  • Police officers who allegedly tortured Luxor resident deny accusations | AMAY
  • Interior Ministry has strong disciplinary system says Abdel Ghaffar | DNE
  • Renowned Egyptian novelist Edwar al-Kharrat dies | Ahram Online
  • NGO hopes Bedouin hospitality and landscape will lure visitors to Sinai after Russian plane crash | Reuters
  • Bassem Youssef explains why he does not come to Egypt | AMAY
  • Living without a name: Paternity disputes in Egypt ruin thousands of lives | Aswat Masriya


Security forces continue raids in Saqqara to arrest murderers of four policemen
Security forces reportedly continued raids on Monday in the mountainous areas near South Giza where masked assailants on a motorbike shot dead four policemen. A source said Sunday that “important information” had been received on the identity of the assailants after security services reviewed “files” of Muslim Brotherhood members living in Saqqara and interrogated a number of “suspects.” Meanwhile, the prosecution talked with three policemen present when the shooting took place, as civilian eyewitnesses told the prosecution the police did not pursue the perpetrators of the attack. The three policemen, however, told the prosecution Monday that they did not chase the assailants because their armament were “weak” compared to the machine guns the militants were using. Another security source added that a number of recently rented apartments and farms in the area were also raided in the aftermath of the shooting. [Cairo Post, 11/30/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Police academy student shoots three wedding guests in Delta’s Mahala | Cairo Post


Egypt, France worry about foreign fighters joining militants in the Middle East
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve expressed on Tuesday their concerns over the phenomenon of foreign fighters joining militant groups in the Middle East. Sisi and Cazeneuve discussed several issues related to fighting terrorism and the importance of coordinated efforts. Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef said in a statement that Sisi expressed his condolences for the victims of the recent Paris attacks, praising the French security apparatus for showing professionalism and prompt reaction. The statement added that the French Interior Minister praised Egypt’s role in combating terrorism, whether on a domestic, regional, or international level. Both sides stressed the need to target the sources of funding for militant groups. Sisi was also informed of measures taken by French authorities regarding an assault on Monday in Paris on members of Egyptian media outlets. A video went viral online showing three men verbally and physically assaulting TV presenter Ahmed Moussa in Paris, a strong supporter of Sisi. The attackers on the clip spoke in what appears to be an Egyptian dialect. Cazeneuve said that the group was arrested and is currently under investigation. [Ahram Online, 12/1/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Tourism Minister discusses British-Egyptian joint plan to resume flights | DNE, SIS
  • Sisi affirms Egypt’s efforts to establish Palestinian state in meeting with Abbas | DNE, SIS, Cairo Post
  • Three remaining fishermen released from Tunisia | DNE
  • Sisi meets French Senate speaker | SIS
  • Egypt-EU ties to witness progress following parliamentary polls | SIS
  • Egypt, UNDP in talks on sustainable development | SIS