Top News: US Top Diplomat Arrives in Cairo for Talks

State Department Counselor Thomas Shannon arrived in Cairo on Wednesday morning, ahead of talks hosted by Saudi Arabia to discuss means of combating extremist groups within the region.


Mubarak-era figures to dominate next Egypt parliament, warns analyst
A political analyst has warned that MPs who sat in the discredited 2010 parliament are likely to win at least half the seats at the next election. “The current electoral system gives the biggest chance to those with money, power and tribal influence, and there will be few roles for those with thought, vision and clear (political) programs,” Wahid Abdel-Meguid, of the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, said during an interview. Additionally, he predicted most of the MPs will only be concerned with “narrow interests.” The new parliamentary law, giving individual candidates 80 percent of parliamentary seats as opposed to political lists, has angered political parties who argue that it gives more influence to money and tribal relations.[Ahram Online, 9/10/2014]

Also of Interest:
Nour Party demands electricity minister’s resignation | Mada Masr


Alaa Abdel Fattah to remain in prison amid trial’s postponement
The Cairo Criminal Court postponed on Wednesday the retrial of political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah and twenty-four others to September 15, amid the renewed detention of three defendants. Abdel Fattah and the other defendants were sentenced to fifteen years in prison in June for violating last year’s protest law, among other charges. Family members, friends and activists gathered outside the court on Wednesday in solidarity with the defendants. All the defendants received a fifteen year jail term in June, in absentia, and were ordered to pay a fine of EGP100,000 for rioting, destruction of public property and using violence against security forces. Seven of the defendants that have not been arrested have started a sit-in and hunger strike at the National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) to demand the revocation of the protest law and the release of all political detainees, among other demands. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, EGYNews (Arabic), 9/10/2014]

Eight NGO members to stand trial for ‘exploiting children’
Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat referred eight defendants involved in the Beladi Foundation for Street Children to the Cairo Criminal Court on Tuesday over charges of child abuse and human trafficking. Investigations indicated that the defendants mistreated the children, stripped them of their clothes and forced them to engage in sexual activities. Sameh Samir, one of the defendants’ lawyers, criticized the charges his clients are facing. “Three of the defendants were arrested after they filmed one of the children saying that the ministry of interior pushed him to change his testimony,” he said. Last May, the organization released a statement condemning the arrest of its members and explaining the objectives of the facility. The statement suspected the arrests to be political. [DNE, 9/10/2014]

Also of Interest:
Anti-Coup Alliance condemns military trial verdict for five civilians | DNE
Orphanage manager sentenced to three years for assaulting children | Aswat Masriya
Security forces arrest three Brotherhood members in Suez | EGYNews (Arabic)


Egypt inflation keeps rising in August
Egypt’s annual headline inflation rate registered 11.4 percent in August compared to 11.1 percent the previous month, state statistical body CAPMAS announced on Wednesday. The food and beverages Consumer Price Index (CPI) registered a higher increase of 11.6 percent. [Ahram Online, Mada Masr, Reuters 9/10/2014]

Also of Interest:
Egypt seeks to attract more Chinese investment | DNE
Egypt signs Sahara oil exploration deals with US firm | Reuters
Mahlab: Unemployment rates declined | SIS, Shorouk (Arabic)
Egypt faces power cuts, potential drought | Al-Monitor
Railway sector needs EGP60 billion for development: Transportation minister | DNE
Minister says 15 percent of road accidents caused by infrastructure | Mada Masr


At least twenty-four protesters arrested for violating protest law
Police forces arrested on Tuesday at least twenty-four protesters from downtown Cairo for violating the protest law, a security source said. Those arrested will undergo forensic examination to identify which opposition group they belong to, the security source added. It is unclear whether those arrested are affiliated with the Dank movement that called for protests on Tuesday against the increasingly high cost of life in Egypt. The group claimed on its official Facebook page that “thousands” have peacefully participated in what it called “the metro strike,” however, videos posted online showed limited participation in the protests. [Aswat Masriya, 9/9/2014]

Also of Interest:
HRW condemns Egypt arrests of ‘same-sex marriage’ men | Ahram Online, DNE
How Egypt’s protest law brought down the revolution | Al-Monitor
Al-Azhar dormitory opening indefinitely delayed: Sources | Ahram Online


Egyptian army kills two suspected members of Ansar Bayt al-Maqdes
The Egyptian army has raided suspected militant hideouts in the Sinai Peninsula, killing two and arresting twenty-five on Tuesday, a security source told state news agency MENA. The security source said that they have been targeting militant hideouts in Sheikh Zuweid area; where clashes took place as militants started firing on the military. Two police officers and nine conscripts were injured when an explosion targeted a security vehicle in North Sinai’s Arish on Monday. One officer and ten conscripts were killed last Tuesday in an attack on a security convoy. [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 9/10/2014]

Also of Interest:
Civilian shot dead in North Sinai militant attack | Ahram Online


US top diplomat arrives in Cairo for talks
State Department Counselor Thomas Shannon arrived in Cairo on Wednesday morning, ahead of talks hosted by Saudi Arabia to discuss means of combating extremist groups within the region. Shannon is scheduled to meet with Egyptian officials to discuss several issues of mutual interest. In addition, David Thorn, senior advisor to the Secretary of State, arrived in Cairo from Riyadh late Tuesday and will stay for a four-day visit. This visit comes as part of ongoing talks with Cairo regarding regional issues, including growing militancy in Iraq and Syria, and political instability in Libya.  [Ahram Online, Aswat Masriya, 9/10/2014]

Grand Mufti visits EU council to rectify image of Islam
Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawqy Allam travelled to Brussels, seat of the EU’s main institutions, to clarify the role of religious institutions in Egypt and rectify the image of Islam, said a Tuesday statement by Egypt’s religious institution Dar al-Ifta. During his visit, Allam met the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy where he stressed that Egypt is a “pivotal state” and that the stability of the Arab region depends on the stability of Egypt. He added, religious institutions, headed by Al-Azhar in Egypt, condemn all sorts of “violence and terrorism” in the name of religion, stressing, the actions of the “terrorist” group calling themselves Islamic State (ISIS) are unacceptable in religion. [DNE, SIS, EGYNews (Arabic), Shorouk (Arabic), 9/10/2014]

Also of Interest:
Jeddah talks expected to support Egypt’s efforts in fighting terrorism: foreign minister | Aswat Masriya
Egypt and Sudan’s new trade agreement comes with territorial dispute | Ahram Online
Ties with African countries discussed | DNE, SIS, EGYNews (Arabic)
Shoukry discusses with Russian counterpart bilateral relations and regional issues | EGYNews (Arabic)
Egypt to host Gaza reconstruction conference October 12 | Reuters