Top News: US Secretary of State Kerry to Visit Egypt on Sunday

US Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Cairo on Sunday for his first visit to Egypt since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July, state media said. 


Tamarod and ESDP announce electoral alliance
The Tamarod campaign and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) announced on Thursday that they will form an electoral alliance. During a press conference at ESDP headquarters, party chairman Mohamed Aboulghar said the alliance forms part of a broader alliance that will be comprised of “all patriotic political powers.” Tamarod founding member Mohamed Abdel Aziz said in the press conference that the campaign would carry out meetings with political powers to agree on the procedures to form the intended broad civil alliance. [DNE, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk  (Arabic), AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Gate, Egypt Independent, 11/1/2013]

Cabinet gives security forces right to enter university campuses
Police forces will be present at university gates going forward to help maintain security, verifying entrants and inspecting cars, according to Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawy. Beblawy said in a press conference after Thursday’s cabinet meeting that university presidents will have the right to request the entry of police forces into campus in case of “threats to individuals, entities and students.” Since the start of the academic year, supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi have organized several protests across Egyptian universities. Their demonstrations have often escalated into clashes with students supportive of the military. Meanwhile, director of the Arab Center for Human Rights Activists Hagag Nayel denounced the government’s decision concerning the presence of the university guard outside universities, to enter the campus whenever clashes occur between students, after taking permission from the university head or the prosecution. However, the Head of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights Organization Naguib Gobrail approved on Friday Article 34 of the Criminal Procedure Law. The article guarantees the right to university guards or security forces to enter university campuses in case of protests without the prosecution’s permission, Gobrail added. [DNE, Ahram Online, Cairo Post, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 11/1/2013]  

Also of Interest:
Beblawy: protest law does not undermine freedoms | Cairo Post


Constitution Committee bans religious parties; Forbids state media censorship
Younes Makhioun, the head of the Nour Party, condemned on Thursday the decision by Egypt’s constitutional committee to ban the formation of political parties on a religious basis, Al-Ahram reported. Earlier on Thursday, the fifty-member committee announced on Twitter that Article 54 of the charter would ban parties founded on a religious basis. The decision mainly affects the Islamist parties that emerged after the January 2011 popular uprising, including the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist Nour Party. Meanwhile, constitutional committee spokesperson Mohamed Salmawy announced on Thursday that the committee has approved an article to ban censorship of state media in Egypt. “An article was approved on Thursday to ban censorship of official media, including state-owned newspapers, TV, and radio, except in certain conditions such as war or public mobilization,” Salmawy stated. Salmawy clarified that foreign media would be guided by different criteria with regards to censorship, confiscation, and closure.” An exceptional, limited censorship can be allowed for foreign media during war or public mobilization,” he announced. Finally, an anonymous source told Al-Shorouk that the army representatives in the constitutional committee has called for the extension of the presidential term to five years instead of four, so that it is equal to the parliamentary term. The army representatives are also in favor of not appointing a vice president. [AMAY (Arabic), Ahram Online, Ahram Gate (Arabic), DNE, Egypt Independent, Shorouk (Arabic), Cairo Post, 11/1/2013]

No evidence against Morsi: Legal spokesperson
The legal spokesperson of deposed president Mohamed Morsi has dubbed the trial of his client and other leading Muslim Brotherhood members as politically motivated cases facing a lack of evidence. “There is no evidence in Morsi’s 4 November trial. Besides the homeland security investigation report and the reports from criminal investigations, no other evidence is available,” Mohamed al-Damaty told Al-Ahram on Thursday, adding that these reports were biased and not to be trusted. Meanwhile, Khaled Abu Kerisha, a member of the Lawyers’ Syndicate Council, told Youm7 that the syndicate will not allow foreign lawyers to defend Morsi. Finally, the Supreme State Security Prosecution, Thursday, ordered the detention of Morsi for another fifteen days pending investigation over charges of espionage. Freedom and Justice Party head Saad al-Katatny and Muslim Brotherhood deputy Supreme Guide Khairat al-Shater were also detained fifteen days pending investigation on the same charges. [Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Cairo Post, 11/1/2013]

Also of Interest:
Court rejects Ultras Ahlawy appeals against their detention | Egypt Independent
No political prisoners in Egypt, says prosecutor general | Ahram Online


Egypt plans to borrow EGP 63 billion from banks by November
The Egyptian Finance Ministry is planning to borrow EGP 63 billion from banks and the domestic market through various maturities of treasury bills and bonds, compared to EGP 76.5 billion, an actual cost of borrowing during October 2013. The Ministry has significantly focused on short term treasury bills which reached EGP 48 billion within November in its timetable, in order to finance the budget-deficit that exceeded EGP 20 billion monthly, in addition paying earlier benefits, worth 80 percent of the target month. [Amwal al-Ghad, 10/31/2013]

Also of Interest:
Cabinet passes amendments to real estate tax law | Shorouk  
Ziad Bahaa-Eldin leaves for New York for World Bank meetings | Shorouk  (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic)
Private Nile River port opens in Egypt | Ahram Online
Egypt stocks close week in the green with slight gains | Ahram Online
Sawiris family plans to inject EGP4 billion in investments in Egypt in early 2014 | Amwal al-Ghad


Thousands of Morsi supporters protest across Egypt ahead of trial
Thousands of supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi have taken to the streets across Egypt on Friday in protest of his upcoming trial, due to begin next week. In the greater Cairo area, marches have begun following Friday prayers in several districts including Heliopolis, Maadi, Gesr al-Suez, Ain Shams, Nasr City, Shobra, Haram, Mattariya, Mohandiseen, Helwan, and Warraq. Outside of Cairo, rallies took place in Suez, Giza, Kafr al-Sheikh, Alexandria and Sharqiya. In Mattariya, police intervened to break-up clashes between protesters and anti-Morsi locals. In Nasr City, skirmishes took place between residents and protesters who were chanting against the leadership of the army. Alexandria witnessed both pro-Morsi and pro-military rallies, and in the Sidi Beshr area, police fired tear gas to end clashes between rival protesters. Security forces also arrested tens of pro-Morsi protesters. In Qalyubeya, security forces were on alert, with a heavy security presence around vital installations. Egypt’s army forces also tightened security around Cairo and Giza, closing off all entrances to Cairo’s central Tahrir Square against traffic, while the Raba’a al-Adaweya, Nahda and Mostafa Mahmoud Squares were sealed off. Meanwhile, the Youth Against the Coup Movement has called for a protest outside the Egyptian Stock Exchange on November 12, and in a statement on the Freedom and Justice Party’s Facebook page, for demonstrations on Mohamed Mahmoud Street on November 19 to commemorate the third anniversary of the clashes under SCAF rule in 2011. [Ahram Online, AP, Aswat Masriya, EGYNews (Arabic), Ahram Gate (Arabic), 11/1/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt’s Al-Azhar University suffers EGP 10 million in losses in violence | Ahram Online


Egypt army arrests head of Sinai radical militant group, dozens others
Egypt army said on Friday its forces were able to capture thirty-six “terrorists” in North Sinai, including leader of radical Islamist group al-Takfir wal Hijra and one of his associates. Military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali said in a statement on his official Facebook page that the army captured Ali Abd al-Fattah Salem describing him as “one of the most significant terrorist leaders currently wanted.” Meanwhile, the army also said it arrested twenty-five “extremists” accused of attacking army and police sites in the restive peninsula, in addition to eight people suspected of involvement in terrorism crimes. Three tunnels used for smuggling people and goods were discovered and destroyed. Eight vehicles, eleven motorcycles, and fifteen havens were destroyed during security campaigns in the cities of Arish, Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid, and Be’r al-Abd.[Ahram Online, Egypt Independent, Aswat Masriya, 11/1/2013]

Also of Interest:
Egypt tightens security measures ahead of protests, Morsi trial | AP, Shorouk
Police seize explosives in 6th of October City | Egypt Independent
Gunmen open fire at Cairo hotel in drinks dispute, no casualties | Aswat Masriya
Minister of Interior rewards 729 policemen for their efforts | Cairo Post
Fourteen jailed for trying to storm Azhar head’s office | Cairo Post


US Secretary of State Kerry to visit Egypt on Sunday
US Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Cairo on Sunday for his first visit to Egypt since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July, state media said. Kerry’s visit comes one day before Morsi goes on trial, and at a time of strained relations between the traditional allies after Washington suspended some military aid to Egypt. Egypt’s official MENA news agency said on Friday that Kerry would stay in Cairo for “several hours.” A delegation from the US State Department arrived in Cairo on Friday to prepare for the Kerry’s visit. [AP, AFP, Egypt Independent, Reuters, 11/1/2013]

Also of Interest:
US embassy warns citizens in Cairo to stay away from Friday’s Brotherhood protests | Ahram Online
Popular delegation visits UAE | Tahrir (Arabic)

Image: Photo: US State Department