President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with a delegation from the US House of Representatives headed by Congressman Darrell Issa Sunday at the Presidential Palace, state-owned MENA news agency reported.



Leftist and liberal parties officially announce Egyptian Front Coalition
A group of leftist, liberal parties and syndicates formed Sunday the “Egyptian Front” coalition, in preparation for Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections, reported state-run MENA.The coalition includes civil parties formed during ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s rule, including leftist al-Tagammu Party and the liberal Ghad Party. The coalition also includes the Conference Party, My Homeland Egypt Party led by former MP Mostafa Bakry, the Egyptian Patriotic Movement founded by former prime minister and 2012 presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, and the Modern Egypt Party. Also joining the coalition are the Egyptian Trade Union Federation, the Federation of Craft Unions, and the General Union of Peasants. The coalition’s agenda constitutes a series of ten major points and considers state reform, national security, and economic development as essential objectives. Meanwhile, a number of political parties that came into being after the 2011 revolution have said that they are in serious negotiations to join the electoral alliance led by the country’s oldest liberal party, the Wafd Party. Ahmed al-Boraie, a former minister of social solidarity and a leading official of the liberal Dostour Party, said in public statements late on Friday that a meeting is scheduled this week between leading officials of the “Democratic Current” and the “Egyptian Wafd” electoral alliances. [Ahram Online, DNE, 8/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt embarks on long-term education reform program | Ahram Online, Mada Masr
  • Eleven ministries to provide new Suez Canal project labor | DNE


Morsi espionage case adjourned, media gag order lifted
The Cairo Criminal Court postponed on Sunday the trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and 35 other defendants accused of espionage to September 14 and lifted the media gag that had been in place since April for security reasons. The defendants’ lawyer Mohamed al-Damati said that journalists and media organizations would be allowed to report the trial as of the next session. Morsi and other leading Brotherhood figures, including Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, are charged with espionage, disclosing state secrets to foreign countries, funding terrorism, conducting military training to serve an international branch of the Brotherhood, and “endangering the independence, unity and safety of the state.” Meanwhile, an Egyptian court postponed on Monday the trial of Morsi and 130 others in the Wadi al-Natroun prison break case to August 23. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 8/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Salafist preacher Borhamy questioned over Christianity insult | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian detained activists Alaa and Sanaa allowed visit to sick father | Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya
  • Brotherhood ‘Supreme Bureau’ case adjourned to August 30 | Ahram Online
  • Badie’s trial over ‘Raba’a task force’ trial postponed until September 3 | Egypt Independent
  • 119 Muslim Brotherhood members to be tried on September 6 | DNE
  • 11 Muslim Brotherhood members acquitted in Minya | DNE
  • Mubarak’s lawyer appeals verdict on presidential palace funds | Ahram Online


Egypt seeks $10.4 billion loan from IMF
Finance Minister Hani Qadri Demian started serious attempts to convince the government to file new requests to the IMF to resume talks to get US$10.4 billion by 2015 with a 1-2 percent interest rate, especially that the fund praised the steps taken by the government regarding energy and commodities as well as the new tax measures that would increase the state resources. [Egypt Independent, 8/17/2014]

Suez Canal project advances, but many questions left unanswered
The Egyptian government announced that the Suez Canal project will be financed by investment certificates offered to the public, changing its original plan to rely on shares purchases as the financing tool. The investment certificate yields will be paid to certificate-holders from annual revenues one year after drilling the canal, Governor of Central Bank of Egypt Hisham Ramez announced Friday. However, a banking expert said it would have been better for the government to issue shares. Meanwhile, after shortening the implementation period of the new Suez Canal project from three years to one year, several economic analysts expressed concern about the ability and efficiency of companies to conclude the project in that period. Investment expert Hany Tawfik also questioned what appeared to be a lack of feasibility studies, engineering figures, and the management of investment, much of which he said remains a mystery. In addition, promises by Chinese president Xi Jinping to build a “Silk Road” and the Red Med project proposed by Israel were renewed this year, raising concerns about negative implications on the Suez Canal. [DNE, 8/16/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Egypt’s population to reach 87 million on Tuesday: Census | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s unemployment slows in Q2/2014 to 13.3 percent | Ahram Online
  • Egypt received $1 billion from IFC in 2013: MENA general manager | DNE
  • EGP 15 billion investment goal for Suez Canal project telecoms sector: minister | DNE
  • Tourism minister denies offering Egyptian citizenship for sale to foreign investors | DNE
  • 3.7 percent rise in public sector employees in FY 2013/2014: CAPMAS | DNE
  • Egypt to hold economic summit next month: finance minister | Aswat Masriya
  • 42 companies contributing to New Suez Canal Project: army spokesman | Aswat Masriya
  • EGP 15 billion expected to be paid on Suez Canal IT  | SIS
  • EGX gains EGP 2.9 billion | SIS


Egyptian interior minister says Raba’a will be remembered for police martyrs
Egypt’s interior minister said on Sunday that the deadly dispersal of two large protest camps by Muslim Brotherhood supporters last year will be remembered as an anniversary for policemen martyred in the line of duty. Official government estimates put the death toll at almost 650, although Human Rights Watch has said the toll was at least 817 at the main Rab’aa sit-in alone. Eight policemen were killed in the dispersal of Raba’a and two in al-Nahda, according to an official government tally last December. Ibrahim said 114 security personnel were killed in the period from August 14 until August 31 last year. Ibrahim also commended the ministry of interior’s efforts in “securing Egypt’s streets” on the first anniversary of the pro-Morsi Raba’a al-Adaweya and Nahda sit-ins’ dispersal last Thursday. [Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya, 8/17/2014]

138 protests on Raba’a anniversary; CPJ condemns attacks on reporters
Egyptians participated in 138 protests over three days to mark the one year anniversary of the violent dispersal of the Raba’a al-Adaweya an al-Nahda Squares sit-ins, said Democracy Index on Monday. The group, which has collated data on Egypt’s protests in the past, reported that more than 200 people were arrested and 30 explosive devices were defused over the three days, starting on August 14. Mattareya, in eastern Cairo, witnessed violent clashes on Thursday and Friday between police and protesters, leaving three dead. The US-based Committee to Protect Journalism (CPJ) also issued a report Friday denouncing attacks on reporters covering the anniversary protests. According to the CPJ report, at least five journalists were attacked or detained. Yehia Khalaf from the pro-Morsi Yaqeen news website sustained minor injuries after he was hit with birdshot while covering clashes in Giza’s Faisal district. In Cairo’s Maadi, photographers Mohamed Bakkar from Masrawy news website and Ahmed Mostafa from Shorouk were allegedly beaten by police and locals while covering clashes. Ahmed Saad, a reporter for Al-Bawaba news website, was beaten by Muslim Brotherhood loyalists while covering clashes in the Mattareya district. The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information called on Egyptian authorities to quickly investigate the assaults on journalists covering the clashes. [DNE, 8/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Muslim Brotherhood denies army’s accusations of violence | DNE, Egypt Independent
  • Fact-finding mission to present Raba’a report late September | DNE, Egypt Independent
  • HRW researcher: Egyptian authorities were not cooperative | Egypt Independent
  • Lengthy power outages see life grind to a halt in Nile Delta town | Ahram Online
  • TV host Abdel-Rehim Ali taken off air after Sawiris remarks | Ahram Online
  • AIDS-related deaths double in Egypt | DNE
  • National Council for Women asks al-Azhar to change curricula | DNE
  • Ministries of endowments, culture to fight extremism | Mada Masr
  • Dar al-Ifta calls for code of honor regulating social media use | Mada Masr


Egypt arrests 17 Palestinians fleeing Gaza war
Egyptian authorities said on Sunday that 17 Palestinians were arrested while trying to illegally enter the country in an attempt to flee ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip, state-run news agency MENA reported. The Palestinians were arrested after they illegally reached the North Sinai border town of al-Arish via underground tunnels with Gaza. They were headed to Alexandria, from where they intended to illegally cross to Europe, MENA said. [Ahram Online, 8/17/2014]

Egypt arrests six ‘terrorist cells’ over bombing of electricity towers
Police forces arrested six alleged “terrorist cells” over various incidents of bomb blasts in electricity towers, the ministry of interior announced on Saturday. The suspects are allegedly members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In a statement, the ministry said that the cells included 40 suspects who are accused of “targeting electricity towers and transformers, assaulting security and judiciary personnel, and sabotaging public transportation” in the governorates of Giza, Menoufiya, Gharbiya, Kafr al-Sheikh, Sharqiya and Alexandria. Also on Saturday, Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab said that the electricity problem was due to several factors including lack of maintenance of power stations. He added that those responsible for the vandalism are attempting to handicap the state, and that the government will be able to fight back using the law. Meanwhile, in an interview with Daily News Egypt, Hafez al-Salmawy, head of the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency, said that fuel shortages are the reason behind power outages in Egypt. [DNE, Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 8/16/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Armed Forces kill three, arrest 54 in raids targeting alleged terrorists | Mada Masr
  • Border security is a ‘sacred mission’: defense minister | DNE
  • Policeman shot dead in Nile Delta | Ahram Online, DNE, AP, Reuters, Mada Masr
  • Interior Ministry mourns policeman killed in Gharbiya attack | Egypt Independent
  • Small bomb explodes in Cairo’s Abbasiya, no injuries reported | Ahram Online
  • Trains to Upper Egypt temporarily halted after gas cylinders found | Ahram Online
  • Interior ministry studies video of alleged militia in South Cairo | Ahram Online
  • Three shot in clashes between Morsi supporters and police | Ahram Online
  • PM: Egypt safe, South Sinai witnessing real development | Egypt Independent, SIS
  • Army on combat alert to secure homeland | SIS


Palestinians, Israelis return to Cairo for Gaza talks
Palestinian and Israeli delegations returned to Cairo on Sunday to resume indirect talks on the situation in the Gaza Strip as the deadline for a five-day ceasefire looms. The cross-faction delegation put together by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had returned to Cairo by Sunday to participate in the talks, said a Palestinian official with the delegation. He confirmed that the talks are set to start on Sunday and continue into Monday, after which the current ceasefire agreement is expected to expire. Hamas had rejected on Saturday as insufficient offers made in Cairo to Palestinian negotiators seeking to end Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip, and raised the possibility of renewed fighting when the current truce expires. Israel said it had also not yet accepted any proposals made in the Egyptian-mediated talks but, like the Palestinians, its envoys would continue attending them on Sunday. Meanwhile, the European Union on Friday said it was willing to reactivate an EU mission on the Egypt-Gaza border to help stabilize the Palestinian enclave after weeks of war. [DNE, AP, The Guardian, 8/18/2014]

Sisi meets with US Congressman Darrell Issa
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with a delegation from the US House of Representatives headed by Congressman Darrell Issa Sunday at the Presidential Palace, state-owned MENA news agency reported. Issa arrived in Cairo on Saturday for a two-day visit and held talks with senior Egyptian officials over recent regional developments and ongoing events, including the current conflict in Gaza. In their meeting, Sisi and Congressman Issa discussed a number of bilateral issues, including the Egyptian economy and Egypt-US economic relations. Congressman Issa said that the US does not believe that al-Sisi’s visit to Russia last week poses any threat to Washington. “The US allocated half a billion dollars as military aid to Egypt this fiscal year and the number will increase to one billion next year,” he added. “Relations with Egypt are still strong.” They also discussed ways of fighting terrorism in Egypt’s Sinai. [DNE, 8/17/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Norway, Egypt to host Gaza donor conference | Reuters, DNE, AP
  • Health Minister: Egyptian hospitals received 221 Palestinians | SIS
  • UK report into Muslim Brotherhood delayed: Financial Times | Reuters
  • Egypt renews warning against travel to Libya | Ahram Online
  • Egyptian killed on Libya-Tunisia border | Ahram Online, DNE, Aswat Masriya
  • Operation to evacuate Egyptians from Libyan-Tunisian border ended | SIS
  • Egypt says it has new ‘vision’ for Ethiopia’s dam | Ahram Online
  • Sisi receives Sultan of India’s Bohra sect | SIS
  • Sisi received gift from Putin | SIS