Top News: Too Early to Judge Iran Deal, says Egypt Presidency

In a meeting Wednesday with the media delegation accompanying President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on his visit to Russia, spokesman Alaa Youssef said that the Egyptian presidency believes it is too early to judge the nuclear deal signed by six leading world powers and Iran. Youssef added that there were still doubts regarding commitment to the terms of the deal. He expressed hope, however, that the Middle East will become a nuclear-weapon-free zone. Youssef also stated that the security of the Gulf countries was a priority and a commitment. Regarding the situation in Syria, Youssef expressed hope that there will be a common Arab agreement with international support to solve the crisis in the war-torn country. Youssef also told the Egyptian reporters that the Sisi was going to meet Jordanian King Abdullah II in Moscow early Wednesday.  [Ahram Online, 8/26/2015] 

Endowments ministry asks preachers not to run for parliament
The endowments ministry will suspend religious duties of preachers that decide to run in the upcoming parliamentary elections, said Head of the Religious Sector of the Endowments Ministry Mohamed Abdel Razeq. The ministry also warned its employees in a statement Monday not to use their religious job titles for campaigning if they want to run in the elections. It added that additional legal measures will be taken against preachers who try to use their position to gain votes during the electoral campaign. [Egypt Independent, 8/26/2015]  

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Egypt administrative court rejects call to ban Facebook
A Cairo administrative court issued a ruling on Tuesday rejecting a lawsuit proposed by Egyptian lawyer Mahmoud Guweily aiming to shut down Facebook in Egypt. The lawsuit claimed that Facebook facilitates prostitution and propagates false information. The court said that self-censorship and media are the best ways to face any violations on Facebook. It reasoned that freedom of expression allows self-censorship, and that objective media coverage can reduce the potential harm caused by false information on Facebook and other social mediums. The court said that any violations on Facebook that constitute facilitating prostitution, engaging in racism, or creating misleading fan pages should be dealt with on an individual basis. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Cairo Post, 8/25/2015]   

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  • Justice Minister assigns two judges’ sessions to be held in Police Academy | DNE

Hundreds of investors, policymakers expected to participate in Egypt’s Euromoney conference
The two-day Euromoney Egypt Conference is scheduled to begin in Cairo on September 7. The conference will focus on Egypt’s future finances and subsidy programs, according to Euromoney Conference Middle East Director Victoria Behn. “This year’s event will discuss possible alternatives to raise the needed finance to bolster Egypt’s economy in the coming period,” she said. Expected attendees include 600 major investors and and 1,000 policy makers from around the world. “Euromoney Egypt’s conference is particularly timely as Egypt’s investment promise is being turned into reality. We’re looking forward to seeing how the projects launched at [the Economic Development Conference] are being realized,” Behn added. Egypt’s Finance Minister Hany Kadry Dimian and Investment Minister Ashraf Salman are both expected to attend the conference. [DNE, Cairo Post, 8/25/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Competition among travel agencies affects tourism in Red Sea | Egypt Independent
  • Minister says Egypt to build largest fish farm in Middle East | Egypt Independent  
  •  Egypt’s government to auction EGP 8 billion in T-bills Thursday | Cairo Post

Campaign to boycott meat gains steam as government voices support
In response to a popular call to boycott meat in protest of rising prices, Agriculture Minister Salah Helal announced government support for the campaign and the sale of meat at EGP50 per kilogram at ministry outlets, the Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported on Tuesday. The campaign, Balaha lahma, which translates loosely as “Let’s forget about meat,” began earlier this month in Upper Egypt as meat prices started skyrocketing ahead of the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday, when sheep are traditionally slaughtered. Prices shot up to over EGP100 per kilogram in certain areas. The campaign has also gained support from TV presenters Youssef al-Hosseiny and Gaber al-Karmouty, while the April 6 Youth Movement also backed the campaign. Supply Minister Mahmoud Diab announced on Sunday that the government does not oppose the campaign, state-owned Al Ahram reported. Mohamed Gad, the campaign’s spokesperson, based in Aswan, said the boycott has reached seventeen governorates so far and that they are currently working on coordinating and uniting local initiatives. [Mada Masr, 8/25/2015]

Also of Interest

  • Campaign calls for boycott of Alexandria taxis without meters | DNE
  • Health Ministry to launch vaccination campaign against measles in October| Egypt Independent
  • Egyptian antiquities ministry receives no donations for Sekhemka statue | Egypt Independent
  • Socialists back September demos on civil service law | Egypt Independent

Two policemen gunned down in North Sinai
Three gunmen in a speeding car shot and killed two policemen in the restive northeastern part of the Sinai Peninsula on Wednesday, Egyptian officials said. The attack was later claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) group. The security officials said the gunmen opened fire on the two, who had been guarding a post office, with automatic weapons before speeding away. Later, a claim of responsibility by the Sinai State, the Egyptian affiliate of ISIS formerly known as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, circulated on social media accounts of supporters, with photos purporting to show the shooting. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief journalists. [Ahram Online, DNE, Egypt Independent, AP, Aswat Masriya, 8/26/2015]    

Second prisoner dies in Fayoum police station in three days
A second prisoner died Monday in the Abshawi police station in Fayoum, due to a lack of medical care, marking the second case of death in police custody since Saturday. The Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms said that the deceased, 52-year-old Shaaban Abdel Aal, “was prevented medical treatment.” Abdel Aal asked to be taken to hospital, but was denied by officers at the station, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) reported. It was reported that Abdel Aal died shortly afterwards. The police station, however, said that he was taken to the hospital. The Ministry of Interior was not available for comment on the incident. The Freedom for the Brave group reported that the head officer at the station denied Abdel Aal’s transferral to hospital, citing a lack of soldiers to secure the police station. The FJP further reported that the detention room where Abdel Aal died was “very tight and not well ventilated.” It added that medicine is not allowed in the detention room. [DNE, 8/26/2015]

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Grand Egyptian Museum to be managed internationally, says Antiquities Minister
Egypt’s Antiquities Minister said Tuesday that the long-planned Grand Egyptian Museum will have an independent, international directorship in an effort to overcome bureaucracy. Minister Mamdouh al-Damaty said the awaited museum near the Pyramids of Giza will be run “independent” of the government, similar to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. “We have a plan for it to have independence and an international board of trustees like the Library of Alexandria,” he said. Former antiquities minister and famed Egyptologist Zahi Hawass told The Associated Press in June that the museum must be international because “government routine cannot work for museums.” Private, international sponsorship was needed, he said, suggesting that the names of individual donors be written on the walls of the museum as an incentive. [AP, 8/26/2015]

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  • Georgia reduces visa fees for Egyptians to $20 | Egypt Independent
  • 129 Syrian refugees leave Cairo heading to Germany | Egypt Independent
  • Al-Azhar ready to support Muslims in Panama | SIS
  • Egypt’s stability needs to be maintained says Russia parliament chairman | Cairo Post
  • Thirty-two Egyptians deported from Saudi over expired residency, sponsor disputes | Cairo Post