Top News: Sisi Tells American Jewish Committee Resolving the Palestinian Issue is Key to Counter ‘Terrorism’

Resolving the Palestinian issue will eliminate one of the most important reasons why people join “terrorist organizations,” President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi told the American Jewish Committee (AJC) on Monday. Sisi met a delegation, headed by Stanley Bergman, from AJC in Cairo to discuss Egypt-US relations. He added that international guarantees should be provided to increase Palestinian hopes of establishing an independent state, and encourage Israeli leaders to achieve peace. AJC emphasized the importance of promoting the strategic Egypt-US relationship and developing it politically, economically and militarily. “Egypt, a vital ally of the United States, faces stiff challenges – but we come away from our latest visit to Cairo impressed by President Sisi’s resolve to confront them,” said Bergman, after the group’s two-hour meeting in the presidential palace. “The battles Egypt is waging against the jihadist threat, and the course it is pursuing to recover from years of stagnation and political upheaval, are critical to the region and to the world.” [Cairo Post, 7/8/2015]

Health Ministry to amend pharmacy law
The Ministry of Health announced on Wednesday that it will prepare a draft to amend Egypt’s pharmacy law in order to combat unlicensed pharmaceutical products and illegal pharmacies. The renewal of the pharmacy law includes amendments to regulate nearly all pharmaceutical products. The ministry’s statement promised tougher penalties for running illegal pharmacies and for selling counterfeit medicine or unlicensed products. According to the new draft, the maximum penalty is life in prison if humans sustain lasting damage or death from illegal or unlicensed products. Another amendment aims at prohibiting advertisements for medical products without the consent of the relevant health authority. Penalties range from a minimum of five years in prison and a fine of 200,000 Egyptian pounds to life imprisonment with hard labor and a minimum penalty of 1 million Egyptian pounds, depending on if violation of the law leads to damage to human health or death. [DNE, 7/8/2015]

Free Egyptians Party leader dismissed over new administrative capital comments
Essam Khalil, acting head of the Free Egyptians Party, dismissed Sherif Habib, chairman of the party’s committee on housing, on Tuesday after Habib’s statements regarding the new administrative capital. Habib called for the project to be postponed until parliamentary elections are held and said that the completion of construction works in Sadat City could be more useful and less expensive. Shehab Wagih, a spokesman for the party, said Habib’s comments about the new administrative capital were personal and did not express the position of the party, which has declared its support for the project. [Egypt Independent, 7/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt appoints new Foreign Ministry Spokesperson | Ahram Online
  • Egypt’s political parties slam anti-terror draft law | Ahram Online
  • Nour Party wants anti-terror bill withheld for debate | Egypt Independent
  • Sources say Sisi receives daily reports on social networking sites activity | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt’s first Information Minister Abdel Kader Hatem dies at 93 | Ahram Online, SIS  

Egyptian show host sentenced to ten years in absentia for inciting regime overthrow
An Egyptian misdemeanor court sentenced a television show host to ten years in prison in absentia on Wednesday. Moataz Matar, a presenter at the Istanbul-based al-Sharq satellite channel, was sentenced to five years in prison and fined EGP 500 for “inciting the overthrow of the regime” and five years and fined EGP 200 for “spreading false news.” Egypt accused al-Sharq of being a “terrorist” channel affiliated with the banned Muslim Brotherhood. In March, Matar also received a one year prison sentence on charges of spreading false news and publicly defaming Judge Khaled Mahgoub, who handled former president Mohamed Morsi’s Wadi al-Natroun prison break trial. Matar has worked with the satellite channel Misr 25, which was owned by the Muslim Brotherhood, under the rule of ousted President Mohamed Morsi. [Aswat Masriya, DNE, Egypt Independent, 7/8/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • Sameh Kamal sworn in as new Administrative Prosecution head | DNE  
  • Video shows building knocked down in Alexandria for construction violations | Cairo Post

Egypt halts cotton imports in bid to boost local crop
Egypt has halted all cotton imports in a bid to assist the production and marketing of its local crop, signaling a change of course just six months after announcing an end to support for its farmers. “The decision aims to protect local production of cotton and resolve its marketing problems,” the ministry said in a statement. The ministry had halted all state support for cotton growers in January and told farmers not to grow cotton unless they had contracts in place to sell it. The halt in imports is stirring fears that the country’s textile industry could end up paying the price, as it is highly dependent on imported short-staple cotton, a crop rarely grown in Egypt. [Reuters, Ahram Online, DNE, 7/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egypt bear run continues; Saudi soft on oil | Reuters
  • Tax Authority says 90 percent of the 2014-2015 target has been collected | Egypt Independent
  • Source says regulations of new investment law to be issued within hours | Egypt Independent
  • State authorities’ tax arrears worth 35 billion pounds | Aswat Masriya
  • Bank official says Egypt to repay Qatar final tranche of CBE deposit | AMAY (Arabic)

Egypt dissolves fourteen Brotherhood-linked NGOs; Health Ministry running forty Brotherhood hospitals
Social Solidarity Minister Ghada Waly dissolved fourteen non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on Tuesday in Minya, Beni Suef, and Damietta for being associated with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, Al-Ahram reported. Twenty-one other NGOs in Qena, Fayoum and Daqahliya will have a new board of directors, so that they do not stop offering their social services. Waly said that the NGOs were dissolved after consulting the Union of Non-Governmental Organizations and Institutions. The decisions have not been applied yet, as an inventory is still being prepared of the NGOs’ assets. Up to 434 NGOs have been closed by court order so far, according to Al-Ahram. Meanwhile, the committee managing the Brotherhood’s funds decided Tuesday to seize a hospital owned by a top Brotherhood leader. The Committee Secretary General Mohamed Aboul Fottouh said the hospital is currently operating under the Ministry of Health. According to Youm7 the Health Ministry is currently running forty Brotherhood-owned hospitals. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 7/8/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Egyptian media on the offense against dissident celebrities | Egypt Independent
  • Fine Arts Syndicate chairman says New Suez Canal memorial done unprofessionally | Egypt Independent
  • Coptic Pope says same-sex marriage an ‘abnormality’ | Egypt Independent
  • NGOs condemn anti-terrorism law | Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
  • EIPR says anti-terror draft law is ‘unofficial state of emergency’ | DNE
  • Ferry connection between Hurghada and Sharm al-Sheikh to be reopened next week | Egypt Independent  
  • Family planning methods usage decline to 58 percent in 2014 | Egypt Independent
  • Four ancient burial chambers unearthed in Daqahliyah | Egypt Independent 
  • Two new hepatitis C drugs to be available in November in Egypt | Cairo Post

Police disperse Brotherhood protests in Qalyubiya
Security forces in Qalyubiya dispersed two demonstrations on Tuesday held by supporters of former president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in two different localities. Demonstrators hoisted banners with the name of the ousted president, chanted anti-army and anti-police slogans, and lit up fireworks. They left the scene once security forces arrived on the site. [Egypt Independent, 7/8/2015]  

Five civilians killed in North Sinai shelling police sources say
Five civilians were killed and four others were injured when a house in the North Sinai town of Sheikh Zuweid was shelled on Wednesday, police sources said. The shell targeted a security camp, the sources said, adding that it nevertheless derailed and landed in the middle of a residential area in Sheikh Zuweid. The injured civilians were transferred to the al-Arish General Hospital to receive treatment, a medical source said. [Aswat Masriya, 7/8/2015]  

Also of Interest

  • Police conscript wounded by smugglers on Rafah border | Egypt Independent
  • Cairo metro train hits two people | Ahram Online
  • Police leaders discuss securing New Suez Canal inauguration ceremony | Egypt Independent
  • ‘Patriotic mission’ of security firm Falcon renewed at nine universities | Cairo Post

Libyan Prime Minister in Cairo for security talks
Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni arrived in Cairo Wednesday to discuss the developing security situation in his Libya with his Egyptian counterpart Ibrahim Mahlab and other top officials, state media reported. The United Nations (UN) brokered Libyan peace talks held in Morocco are at the top of the agenda for the talks. The rival Tripoli-based government rejected on Tuesday a peace proposal by the UN and the parliament based in Tobruk. Meanwhile, Egyptian border guards on Wednesday stopped 328 people from crossing to Libya through the southern gate of Salloum City and the Siwa oasis, Al-Ahram reported. They arrested five people from Sudan, and 323 from Cairo, Alexandria, Minya, Assiut, Beni Suef, Sohag, Beheira, and Fayoum. [Ahram Online, DNE, 7/8/2015]

French student arrested, deported from Egypt
A French student from a Parisian university was reportedly deported from Egypt last Friday after being arrested by security forces due to her research on the 6 April youth movement. The political sociology student said she was in Damietta to interview April 6 members for her master’s degree when on July 2 a unit of ten police and intelligence officers arrested her from her hotel room during the night. She said that after her arrest, she was taken to Damietta police station for four hours while officers examined her computer, phone and bags. “The only reason that I was told by those who arrested me was ‘we are arresting you for your own security,’” she told Daily News Egypt. [DNE, 7/7/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Israel says Islamic State’s Sinai assault aimed to help Hamas get arms | Reuters
  • Sisi receives Indian Special Envoy | DNE, SIS
  • Interior minister, EU official confer on efforts to combat human trafficking | SIS