Top News: Universities Consider Enforcing Protest Law on Campuses

A number of Egyptian universities, including Cairo, Ain Shams and Helwan Universities are studying the possibility of applying Egypt’s newly passed protest law on their campuses. 


Interim president issues three decrees, changes voting for Egyptians abroad
Egyptians living abroad will be able to vote at polling stations separate from embassies and consulates following a decree issued by interim President Adly Mansour on Wednesday night. The decree gives the Egyptian embassies and consulates the right to have polling stations outside their headquarters, so that the number of voter in each station not more than 1000. The number of the Egyptian voters registered at each polling stations will not exceed 1,000 voters, according to the decree. Diplomatic staff, rather than judges, will supervise the elections and referendums taking place abroad, it added. Mansour also issued two additional decrees. The first stipulates that the license for a service vehicle, which dates back to more than twenty years shall not be renewed. The service vehicles referred to in the law include taxis and other vehicles, which offer transportation as a service. The second is an amendment to a presidential decree concerning prison lands. The new law entrusts the Interior Ministry Trust Fund with selling lands owned by prisons and to use the money to renovate and buy new equipment for already existing prisons or to build new facilities. [EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), Tahrir  (Arabic), Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), DNE, Mada Masr, 12/5/2013]

Salafi Nour Party urges Egyptians to back constitution; Jama’a Islamiya yet to decide
The Salafi Nour Party announced on Thursday that it will vote “yes” in the constitutional referendum and asked the Egyptian people to do so as a way to “take an important step towards fulfilling stability in the country.” Passing the constitution will bring stability and “spare the country more anarchy,” party head Younes Makhioun said in remarks reported by Reuters. Meanwhile, Mohamed Abu Samra, the secretary-general of the Islamic Party affiliated with Islamic Jihad, said on Wednesday that the party, would try to mobilize people for what he described as “hindering the referendum on the new constitution.” He stressed his rejection of the draft constitution, in principle, explaining that the party, which belongs to the Pro-Mohamed Morsi National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, and Islamic Jihad would not allow the new constitution to see the light of day. “The final decision of the alliance to express this rejection has not been made yet,” he told Al-Masry Al-Youm. On the other hand, the Construction and Development Party, the political arm of the Jama’a al-Islamiya, denied the news of the Alliance holding a press conference on Thursday to announce boycotting of the referendum on the draft constitution. The party said in a statement on Wednesday, “the final decision of the alliance, according to the last meeting, is to defer the declaration of [our] stance position until the end of the consultations.”  [Reuters, Mada Masr, DNE, Tahrir (Arabic), Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), Aswat Masriya  (Arabic),  Egypt Independent, 12/5/2013]

Also of Interest:
An alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood is unlikely: Bakkar | AMAY (Arabic)  


Egypt prosecutors send Douma, Maher and Adel to criminal court
Egypt’s public prosecution referred three activists to trial on Thursday on charges of violating protest law and assaulting police. Activists Ahmed Douma, Ahmed Maher, founder of the April 6 movement, and Mohamed Adel, who is at large, are accused of protesting without notifying the authorities as required by the newly-enacted law. The first session is scheduled to take place on Sunday. The charges stem from a protest outside the Supreme Court in downtown Cairo on Saturday, during which seven policemen were allegedly assaulted. Meanwhile, a judicial source denied Thursday an arrest warrant had been issued against prominent Egyptian labour lawyer and activist Haitham Mohamadein and Tahrir singer Ramy Essam for participating in protests during the past two weeks. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, DNE, AP, 12/5/2013]

Morsi’s lawyers and family prevented from visiting him in prison
Members of ousted president Mohamed Morsi’s defense team, along with members of his family, were denied permission to visit him on Thursday at Alexandria’s Borg al-Arab Prison. According to the ousted president’s defense team, his lawyers and his family headed to Borg al-Arab Prison after obtaining a visitation permit from the general prosecution, but the prison administration did not allow them to see him. Morsi’s lawyers announced they would attempt to visit him again next week. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, 12/5/2013]

Also of Interest:
Ahmed Ezz’s retrial adjourned until March 4 | AMAY (Arabic)
Egypt Court of Cassation sets February 6 for ‘Port Said massacre’ verdict | Ahram Online
Dar al-Iftaa won’t guide voters in constitution referendum | Aswat Masriya
Trial of sixty-two Morsi supporters in Ramses events adjourned to January | Egypt Independent
Ahmed al-Zend says stability not possible without transitional justice | SIS


Egypt needs $20 billion investment a year: Finance Minister
Egyptian Minister of Finance Ahmed Galal, speaking at the Egypt-GCC Investment Forum, said that his country’s partnership with the GCC is based on mutual benefit. He said that the government’s plan was to achieve high growth rates in order to increase its spending on social services. He noted that gross savings reached 15 percent of GDP, but the level needs to increase by at least 10 percent. He stressed that the Egyptian economy will need investments of $20 billion yearly in order to achieve a growth level of 4 percent. So far, the budget deficit hit EGP 240 billion. [QNA, 12/5/2013]

Egypt agrees timetable to pay $3 billion to oil firms
Egypt has agreed a timetable to pay $3 billion of the $6.3 billion it says it owes foreign oil companies, the state news agency reported, as part of the drive to revive confidence in its economy hammered by nearly three years of political turmoil. The most populous Arab state struck deals to pay the amount in monthly installments until December 2017 and is negotiating payment on the remaining $1.8 billion owed, state news agency MENA said. On Wednesday Egypt announced it would pay down $1.5 billion of the money it owes foreign oil firms. [Reuters, 12/5/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt exchange ends week in green with conclusion of Egypt/GCC forum | Ahram Online
Egyptian Iron and Steel Company problems to be solved soon: chairman | Ahram Online
Iron and steel workers’ grievances to be resolved soon: Ministry of Manpower | DNE
Hotel occupancy rates will rise in February: Tourism Minister | Egypt Independent  
Egyptian Pound steady on official market | DNE
Egypt plans energy exploration tender this month | Egypt Independent


Universities consider enforcing protest law on campuses
A number of Egyptian universities are studying the possibility of applying Egypt’s newly passed protest law on their campuses. Cairo University’s Vice President for Education and Student Affairs told Al Masry Al Youm that they will discuss a framework for applying the law during the upcoming University Council’s meeting. The head of Ain Shams University has also decided to form a committee of professors from the Faculty of Law to study how to implement the protest law on campus, while the Vice President of Helwan University told Al Masry Al Youm that the university has yet to decide on whether or not to apply the law on its campus. The issue will be discussed during their next University Council meeting. Amid these discussions, student protests have shown no signs of abating. Hundreds of engineering students from Al-Azhar and Cairo University led protests and marches on Wednesday to denounce the heavy-handed security measures which have recently led to the death of one student and the arrests of tens of others. Meanwhile, in Alexandria University, students locked the gates to the Faculty of Engineering with chains, in protest against the arrest of students and deployment of security forces at university campuses. [AMAY (Arabic), Mada Masr, DNE, 12/5/2013]

Pro-Morsi coalition calls for three-day protests starting Friday
Egypt’s main Islamist alliance, the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy, has called Thursday for new protests over the weekend, in commemoration of slain demonstrators and in solidarity with workers on strike. The coalition called on its supporters to take to the streets Friday in commemoration of slain protesters, Saturday to support the twenty-one female Alexandria protesters sentenced to eleven years of jail, and Sunday in solidarity with striking workers. “The struggle of the student movement, the workers’ courageous escalation … shows to all that the revolution is the will of a people that seeks to eliminate the assassins and the remnants of (Hosni) Mubarak’s regime despite the sacrifices,” the anti-coup coalition said in its statement. [Ahram Online, Shorouk (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 12/5/2013]

Also of Interest:
Tamarod launches constitution referendum campaign | Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic)  
Alexandria University’s student suspend their strike | Shorouk (Arabic)
Bassem Youssef: I want to continue broadcasting my show from Egypt | Ahram Online, Reuters, Mada Masr, AP
Egypt has failed to meet January 25 Revolution demands: Amnesty | Ahram Online


Aswan police kill four Eritreans near Sudan border  
Four Eritreans have been killed and ten others wounded in what was described as an exchange of gunfire with police forces from the Aswan Security Directorate, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported Thursday. The Eritreans were trying to illegally enter Egypt through its southern border with Sudan, according to the newspaper. The report said that police went to the border area, east of the Oweinat district, after receiving information that undocumented migrants were attempting to enter the country from Sudan. For several years, Eritreans en route to hoped-for asylum in Israel or Europe have fallen victim to kidnappers and human traffickers operating in Sudan and the Sinai Peninsula. Thousands of Eritreans leave their country every year, fleeing human rights abuses, including a state policy of using forced labor and compulsory and indefinite periods of military service. [Mada Masr, 12/5/2013]


United States withholds judgment on Egypt draft constitution
On Tuesday, the US State Department refused to be drawn on whether a new Egyptian constitution would pave the way for democratic reforms, saying it was up to Egyptians to approve the draft charter. “As we’ve said all along, we look to this constitution to protect the fundamental freedoms and rights of all Egyptians,” deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said during a press briefing. But she refused to pass judgment on the draft, saying: “We don’t want to prejudge the outcome of a referendum.” “This is up to the Egyptian people to decide whether or not they approve of this draft constitution,” she added. Harf stressed that Washington had made its concerns known during the drafting process over such issues as “the fact that we think civilians should be tried in civilian courts, for example.” “We’ve said when we have specific issues, but we’re not going to go through in advance of a popular referendum and do a line-by-line analysis. That’s not really our place to do here,” she added. [AFP/Ahram Online, 12/4/2013]

Also of Interest:
German diplomatic delegation reviews latest developments in Egypt | SIS
China to reiterate support for Egypt during Fahmy’s upcoming visit | SIS

Image: Photo: DNE