Top News: US to Release Additional Funds to Egypt upon Congressional Approval

Washington said on Wednesday it would move forward with releasing $650 million in funding for Egypt, continuing to ease a partial aid suspension following the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi last year and a violent crackdown on his supporters.


Elections committee says no challenges from Sisi or Sabbahi

Chancellor Abdel Aziz Salman, secretary-general of the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) said on Wednesday that he did not receive any objections or challenges from the presidential candidates against each other. This came on the second day of receiving objection applications, the closing date of which is next Wednesday evening. Sources speaking on condition of anonymity said that the examination of the candidates’ application documents would be finished early due to the fact that none of them objected to the other. The PEC began on Thursday to grant media passes to journalists covering the presidential elections. Journalists have been asked to submit their information via the PEC website. [Egypt Independent, 4/24/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Sabbahi campaign in France: We are working to organize visit to Paris | Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Bahareya security refuses to hold Sisi conference after Sabbahi series cancelled in the governorate | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Commander of Second Army: 25,000 troops to secure elections | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Sabbahi meets Dostour Party figures | DNE


Family of Jazeera journalist urges Egypt to free him

The family of an Al-Jazeera reporter detained in Egypt since August and on hunger strike since January 21 said on Wednesday his health is deteriorating and called for his release. Abdullah Elshamy, a journalist for the pan-Arab satellite news network, was arrested on August 14 when police dispersed supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi at the massive Raba’a al-Adaweya protest camp in Cairo, killing hundreds in clashes. Writing from prison, Shamy, who is entering his fourth month on hunger strike, said “I decided that until I am released I will give up all liquids except the small amount of water I need to sustain me.” On Wednesday Shamy’s brother, Mosa’ab Elshamy tweeted that the court had once again postponed making a decision on his detention to May 3. [AFP/Ahram Online, 4/23/2014]

Ex-interior minister Mahmoud Wagdy testifies in Morsi ‘jailbreak’ trial

Former interior minister Mahmoud Wagdy gave his testimony on Wednesday in the trial of deposed president Mohamed Morsi on charges of breaking out of Wadi al-Natroun prison during the January 2011 uprising. Wagdy claimed that “Egyptian borders were raided from Gaza” and that “factions on four-wheeled vehicles and motorcycles entered and destroyed all that is linked to the police in [Sinai’s] al-Arish.” The former minister also accused members of Hamas of kidnapping three police officers in Sinai during the January 25 revolution. He added that phone calls between Brotherhood leaders and Ramadan Shalah, an official from Hamas, were traced by the ministry. However, when the judge asked Wagdy about the identity of the Brotherhood leaders, he replied that “he couldn’t remember.” The trial was adjourned to 30 April to continue hearing more testimonies. [Ahram Online, 4/23/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Belly dancer released following charges of unlicensed broadcast | Mada Masr
  • Chief suspect in the murder of Shi’a leader Hassan Shehatah arrested | EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic)
  • Political activists released on bail | DNE


New law to lure investors to Egypt could feed corruption, critics say

A new Egyptian law that prevents third parties from challenging contracts made with the government may encourage foreign investors but critics say it will increase scope for corruption. President Adly Mansour on Tuesday approved the law that will restrict the right to challenge state business and real estate deals to only the government, the institutions involved and business partners. “Uncertainty over the legality of contracts has been one factor behind the lack of foreign investment into Egypt since the Arab Spring revolution, and so this law could provide the protection that some investors have been craving,” said Jason Tuvey, assistant economist at Capital Economics. [Reuters, 4/24/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Electricity Control: No power cuts last week because people rationalized consumption | Egypt Independent
  • Egypt aiming for $8.3 billion in foreign investment for oil drilling within the year | Aswat Masriya (Arabic)


Twenty Azhar students arrested in Assiut; Cairo court sentence students and professors to three years 

Egyptian security officials in Assiut ordered twenty students from Al-Azhar detained while they are investigated for burning a bus. In Cairo, the Nasr City misdemeanor court on Wednesday sentenced ten students and three professors from Al-Azhar University to three years prison for illegal protesting. These events come just one day after security forces stormed into Al-Azhar University buildings and attacked student protesters on Wednesday after a night of violence between the two sides, according to a spokesmen from Al-Azhar Student Union and Al-Azhar University Youth Movement. Students, who were calling for the release of students arrested under the controversial protest law, were protesting inside the university near the faculty of medicine’s building, which is far away from the management’s building where the security forces are located, said Ahmed Adel, spokesman for Al-Azhar Student Union. Student activists estimate 673 Al-Azhar students are currently detained. [Shorouk (Arabic), 4/24/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Tahrir metro to re-open but only for transit | Mada Masr
  • NASL calls on supporters to demonstrate against economic situation | AMAY (Arabic)
  • Press syndicate head says Egyptian journalists need life insurance | Ahram Online


Clashes erupt in Upper Egypt over arrests of Islamists

Clashes erupted Thursday morning between security forces and supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi in Beni Suef governorate, south of Cairo, as police raided homes to arrest Islamists. Fights broke out in al-Maymoun village after alleged members of the Muslim Brotherhood group blocked railway tracks and set tires on fire to protest the arrest of several group members in the northern village. The governor of Beni Suef reported that Brotherhood supporters burnt a police car during clashes. Police fired rounds of teargas to scatter the protesting crowds. Skirmishes continued at the time of publishing as forces blocked off roads in and out of the village. A security source said ten Brotherhood members had been arrested in raids. Train movements to and from the country’s southern governorates was brought to a halt for six hours due to the clashes, before they resumed in the afternoon, a railway authority official said. [Ahram Online, 4/24/2014]

Egypt’s army says has “complete control” over Sinai Peninsula

Egypt’s military said on Thursday it had gained “complete control over the situation” in the Sinai Peninsula, where Islamist insurgents have been carrying out attacks against security forces for several months. “There is obvious stability in Sinai despite rumors that there are still terrorist elements and tunnels in north Sinai,” said Major General Mohamed al-Shahat, who heads Egyptian forces in the peninsula, in comments carried by state news agency MENA. He added the army had destroyed more than 1,500 tunnels that ran under the frontier between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, which borders North Sinai, in an attempt to stop the illegal flow of arms. The army’s statements come as interim President Adly Mansour called for the eradication of terrorism in the Sinai. [Reuters, 4/24/2014]

Also of Interest:

  • Police arrest two suspects in Aswan tribal clashes | Ahram Online
  • Former security official: 75 percent of the state budget must be directed to security | Egypt Independent
  • Assistant Interior Minister: Returning campus guard difficult | Egypt Independent, Mada Masr
  • Driver and teacher burn employee car because of his support for Sisi | EGYNews
  • Militant group Ajnad Misr claims Sixth October City bombing | Ahram Online, AP, Mada Masr


US to release additional funds to Egypt upon congressional approval

Washington said on Wednesday it would move forward with releasing $650 million in funding for Egypt, continuing to ease a partial aid suspension following the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi last year and a violent crackdown on his supporters. State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said unlocking the $650 million in financing for the fiscal year 2014 was the next step to “support these critical security efforts and continue to fund contracts for other goods and services.” The measure hinges on two congressional notifications that Egypt is sustaining the strategic relationship with the US and maintaining its obligations under the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, the spokesperson told a regular press briefing. In related news, Egypt’s foreign minister along with an Egyptian delegation will be visiting Washington in the coming days to discuss bilateral ties between the two countries. [Ahram Online, 4/24/2014]

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