Top News: Two Policemen Killed in Minya Church Attack

Unknown assailants killed two policemen on Tuesday during an attack on a church in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya. 


Popular Current will not run in parliamentary elections
The Popular Current announced Monday that it will not run in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The party said in a statement that the electoral law issued by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi late December “allows for the return of figures from the toppled regime of Hosni Mubarak and Muslim Brotherhood followers to the political scene.” The party blamed the government for ignoring their calls to amend the law and announced it does not believe the current political climate allows real competition and neither promotes the holding of fair elections nor proper communication between political entities and people. The party also cited “restrictions” on political activities due to security apparatuses’ recent practices and the protest law as further reasons behind the boycott. [DNE, Aswat Masriya, 1/6/2015]

Government moves to implement new tuition system at state universities
Draft amendments to higher education laws seem to indicate that the Egyptian government is poised to eliminate free university education. The newly formed presidential advisory council for education and scientific research affairs announced that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has approved a package of recommendations for education reform. Chief among those is a decision to tighten government expenditures on higher education by offering free tuition on a merit-only basis. Students with an average grade of more than 70 percent would receive a full tuition waiver. Students under that line would be required to pay partial tuition, while those with less than a 50 percent average would pay full tuition. [Mada Masr, 1/5/2015]

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Prime minister signs document to protect Nile River | Egypt Independent


Twelve policemen in Sohag sentenced to prison for assaulting the judiciary
The Sohag Criminal Court on Tuesday sentenced the former deputy sheriff of the Saqalta Police Station to three years in prison, another police officer and two police corporals to life imprisonment in absentia, and eight other policemen to ten years, all for assaulting the judiciary and storming the Saqalta Prosecution headquarters. [Egypt Independent, 1/6/2015]

Egypt court rejects Mohamed Soltan’s defense team’s recusal request
A Cairo criminal court rejected a request by the defense team for Egyptian-American Mohamed Soltan, who has been on hunger strike for almost a year, to recuse itself from an ongoing case against him. It was the first request of its kind at the trial of Soltan, who is charged with setting up an operation room during at the pro-Mohamed Morsi protest camp at Raba’a al-Adaweya in July-August 2013.  Fifty others are accused in the case, including Mohamed Badie, the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood. US diplomats attended Monday’s court session. [Ahram Online, 1/5/2015]

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Trial of Irish-Egyptian teen jailed in Egypt set to start Monday | Egypt Independent
Lawyer files complaint over army’s controversial hepatitis cure | Egypt Independent
Mass trial for al-Fatah Mosque clashes postponed to February | DNE


Egypt’s foreign reserves fall to $15.33 billion
According to the Egyptian Central Bank, Egypt’s foreign currency reserves fell to $15.33 billion at the end of December from $15.88 billion the previous month. Foreign reserves fell sharply after the 2011 uprising but had risen again with the inflow of billions of dollars of aid from the Gulf countries. In November, Egypt repaid to Qatar a $2.5 billion central bank deposit received under former president Mohamed Morsi, which according to some traders could have a negative impact on reserve levels. [Reuters, Mada Masr, 1/6/2015]

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Study: Egyptian-Kuwaiti cumulative investments exceeded $16 billion over past four decades | Egypt Independent
Egypt’s cabinet approves issue of international bonds | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya
Egyptian market drops on global losses | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent
Egypt’s Bisco Misr shareholders agree to sell stake to Kellogg | Reuters, DNE
Egypt plans new hydroelectric power stations in cooperation with China | Egypt Independent
Egyptian business sees fastest growth in three months in December – PMI | Reuters
Egypt money supply up 15.65 percent in November – central bank | Reuters


Rights group urges release of defendants in 2014 presidential palace protests
A human rights organization has petitioned the presidency for the release of twenty-three young activists jailed for breaking the protest law during demonstrations outside the presidential palace last year. The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights urged the presidency to release the defendants sentenced to prison over the June 2014 protests outside the Ittihadiya Presidential Palace, where they demanded the release of friends also detained for breaking protest laws. [Egypt Independent, 1/5/2015]

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Port Said ‘football massacre’ victims’ families protest upcoming Al-Masry game | DNE
Police disperse Brotherhood protesters burning police car on ring road | Egypt Independent


Two policemen killed in Minya church attack
Unknown assailants killed two policemen on Tuesday during an attack on a church in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya. Unidentified gunmen shot the officers while they were guarding the Church of the Virgin Mary a day before Egypt’s Coptic Christmas. A state of emergency was declared in the city as security forces are investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the two policemen. Dozens of policemen gathered in the vicinity of the Minya University Hospital, protesting the attack. Meanwhile, at least one policeman was killed in an explosion Tuesday near a police station in Haram, Giza. Hany Fatouh, who was an explosives expert, was killed after attempting to dismantle a bomb near Talbeya police station in a densely-populated working class area. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, Egypt Independent, Reuters, AP, 1/6/2015]

Two police officers detained for shooting dead brothers at Suez checkpoint
Egypt’s top prosecutor ordered the detention of two police officers who shot dead ‎two brothers after refusing to stop at a security checkpoint in Suez on Monday.‎ Prosecutor-General Hisham Barakat ordered the officers’ detention for four days ‎pending investigation.‎ The officers told the prosecution that the shooting was not intentional. They said they ‎were shooting into the air; the bullets hit the victims “by mistake.” Suez Security Director Tarek al-Gazzar said Monday that the two ‎killed men were driving an unlicensed motorbike, which aroused suspicion among ‎security forces at the checkpoint. The men sped away when an officer asked them to ‎stop, Gazzar said, prompting the officer to fire at them.‎ Egypt’s police fired teargas at the funeral of the two brothers, dispersing the procession due  to fears that angry mourners would storm the city’s security headquarters as they passed near it. [Aswat Masriya, 1/5/2015]

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Conscript commits suicide in Aswan television headquarters: Security director | Ahram Online


Foreign ministry denies Egyptians kidnapped in Libya are free
The Foreign Ministry Spokesman Badr Abdelatty denied Tuesday morning that there are “developments” in the situation of kidnapped Egyptians in Libya.  “I have no confirmed information about their situation,” Abdelatty said. A tribal leader in the Libyan city of Sirte, Moftah Marzouk, had announced the release of the thirteen kidnapped Coptic Egyptians, according to Libyan news portal Al-Wasat. Marzouk, however, denied that the Egyptian nationals were kidnapped, and said they were detained by a trafficker over a money related dispute as they headed to Harawa village, east of Sirte. [DNE, 1/6/2015]

Also of Interest
Egypt to send winter supplies to Tunisia | Ahram Online
Political parties urge Egyptians in Libya to return | Egypt Independent
Sources: Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb to visit Russia in February | Egypt Independent
Kuwait parliament chief recommends military alliance with Egypt | Egypt Independent
Sisi, Kuwaiti Emir in talks on boosting ties | SIS