Wrap up of Egypt’s top news Aug. 13: Sisi says to push through economic reforms; 153 migrants arrested; prominent activist, journalist released from jail
Political Activist Mahinour al-Masry and Journalist Youssef Shaaban, released Aug. 13 from prison after serving one year and 3 months over accusations of storming a police station in Alexandria city. Photo courtesy of ANHRI.

Politics:

Mahinour, journalist released after serving jail term

Prominent activist Mahinour el-Masry and Journalist Youssef Shaaban were released after serving their jail term; one year and 3 months over charges of storming El-Raml Police station in Alexandria.

Both El-Masry and Shaaban also faced charges of assaulting police personnel along with other activists.

After her release, the prominent activist Al-Masry said “we will not give up defending the right of our colleagues and full rights of citizens.”

 

More than 130 referred to military trials over joining Daesh

State security prosecution has ordered to refer more than 130 defendants to military judiciary over charges of joining the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group or (in Arabic: Daesh.)

Among charges drawn against the defendants are: planning for terrorist attacks and targeting judges and security forces.

 

Egypt abstains from vote for expanding UN peacekeeping mission in S.Sudan

Egypt has abstained from voting for authorizing a 4,000-strong regional protection force within the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) during U.N. Security Council session Friday, according to a statement from the UN Security Council official website.

The new resolution that aimed to expand the UN mission until on December 15, 2016 has received three other abstentions from Russia, China, and Venezuela. However, the resolution was approved after 11 countries voted in favor.

Egypt’s abstention came in light of its reservations over ‘encroachment” on the governing rules of UN peacekeeping missions, Youm7 reported, noting that the Security Council has approved to deploy a number of UN police forces in Burundi without the approval from the Burundi government.

 

Parliamentarian aks NGOs to increase public awareness over risks in Libya 

Parliament member in the African Affairs Committee, Mona Rezk, has called on civil society organizations to increase awareness among the people over the risks they could face in Libya, Youm7 reported Saturday.

Her call came following the release of 23 Egyptian laborers freed in Libya. The Libyan Special Forces handed over the Egyptians at the crossing after they were kidnapped by armed groups near Libya’s town of Brega.

 

Local:

13 officials detained over seizing wheat revenues

Pubic fund prosecution ordered detention of 13 officials from four different authorities for 15 days pending investigations over stealing more than 500 million EGP of local wheat revenues.

Over the past weeks, the government has opened a probe into waste of subsidized wheat revenues, where it established a fact-finding committee to pursue those responsible for the losses.

 

Naval forces stop 153 migrants near Dabaa

Naval forces have thwarted an illegal immigration attempt by 153 individuals in north Dabaa city, on the Mediterranean Sea, announced the military spokesperson Mohamed Samir.

The arrested migrants included seven Egyptians and foreigners from Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Comoros; they were on board of a boat called “Princess Nahed.”

Such arrests are frequent on Egypt’s borders as authorities heightened measures to curb the increasing wave of illegal immigration.

 

Sisi opens Ethydco complex in Alexandria

President Abdel Fatah al Sisi has arrived in Alexandria where he will inaugurate the long planned complex of the Egyptian Ethylene & Derivatives Co. (Ethydco) on Saturday, Youm7 reported.

The new plant will cover 45 percent of Egypt’s domestic market needs of ethylene, high-density and low-density polyethylene, butadiene, and other derivatives, Petroleum Minister Tarek al Mulla was quoted by state-owned newspaper Al Ahram Friday.

Built in Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria, the $1.9-billion complex will produce a total of 460,000 tons of ethylene per year, he added.

 

Dairut- Farafra highway to be inaugurated late 2016

A new high way linking between Upper Egypt Asyut’s Dairut, western of the Nile bank, and Farafra depression in the western desert will be inaugurated by the end of this year, Youm7 reported chairperson of the Central Agency for Reconstruction Mohamed Nasser Saturday.

 

Business:

Parliament prepares law to organize small enterprises

The head of the planning and balancing sub-committee at the parliament, Hussein Eissa said that the house of representatives is preparing a unified law for small and micro enterprises that includes stages of establishment and tax accounting system.

 

After IMF deal, Egypt’s Sisi says will not hesitate on tough reforms – REUTERS

(REUTERS) Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Saturday he was committed to pushing through the reforms necessary to turn the economy around and cut public debt, days after Egypt negotiated a $12 billion loan program with the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF said on Thursday it had agreed in principle a three-year facility to support comprehensive government reforms.

But the deal is subject to final approval by the IMF executive committee, and disbursement is linked to progress on a variety of reforms. They include subsidy cuts, the introduction of value added tax (VAT) and a shift to a more flexible exchange rate regime.

Successive governments have shied away from cutting subsidies, a politically explosive issue in a country where tens of millions rely on state-subsidized bread. Efforts to reduce the aid in the 1970s led to bread riots.

Speaking at the opening of a factory in Alexandria, Sisi said that experience would not deter him from pushing through painful reforms.

“The first effort at reform came in 1977, and when it was not accepted by the citizens, all the governments hesitated to make reform efforts, afraid of the reactions,” Sisi said.

“It is not only you who will judge me. God will also judge and so will history … All the difficult decisions that many hesitated to take over many years, that they were afraid to take, I will not hesitate to take for one second.”

In 2014, Egypt began a program to eliminate energy subsidies over five years. The government on Monday announced new increases in electricity prices.

A VAT bill is in parliament, where it has faced significant opposition from lawmakers concerned about the impact on prices in a country where headline inflation is at 14 percent.

Sisi said that repeated wars over the decades had set back Egypt’s economic development and that the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule had shaken the economy.

He blamed terrorist attacks over the decades for holding back tourism and said there was a need to end corruption.

Sisi also said that a bloated public payroll had contributed to the country’s deficit and hinted at looming increases in the cost of riding Cairo’s underground trains. He also promised that programs were underway to protect the poorest from the impact impending reforms.

 

Sisi: Egypt’s written off debts reach $43 bln 

Egypt’s debts that have been written off have reached $43 billion, announced Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi Saturday during inauguration of the long planned complex of the Egyptian Ethylene & Derivatives Co. (Ethydco) in Alexandria, Youm7 reported.

He added that the government’s plan of removing the subsidy on the electricity, which is carried out gradually, will save $20 billion for the electricity sector.

 

Egypt talks with IDB delegation to fund greenhouses of the 1.5 million feddan project 

Egyptian Ministry of International Cooperation Sahar Nasr has met with a delegation from (Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to discuss bilateral relations and the bank’s ongoing and future investments in Egypt, particularly finance greenhouses within the 1.5 million feddan project, according to a statement from the ministry Friday.

The IDB has funded projects worth $2.3 billion, while the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation’s (ITFC) contributes in financing the purchase of oil products worth $3 billion, the statement added.

 

Social:

Antiquities Council Ok’s building cement factories in Middle Egypt

The Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities has agreed on building a number of cement factories in Middle Egypt (Minya, Beni Suef and al-Wadi al-Gadid).

Per Antiquities Protection Law No. 117, the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities should give an intial approval for new construction in the Middle East area after examining the place in anticipation of presence of archeological artifacts or tombs.

 

Kuwait International Forum for Caricature Conference to be held in Cairo Aug. 18

Kuwait International Forum for Caricature will hold a press conference at the Greek Campus of the American University in Cairo on the Forum on August 18, youm7 reported Saturday. The conference will tackle the partnership with the Egyptian Caricature Association.

 

August 14: Mona Burkhardt dances Paso Soble at Cairo Opera House

Egyptian Singer and dancer Mona Burkhardt will perform a show of Spanish Paso Doble dance in the Cairo Opera House on August 14, al-Masry al-Youm reported Saturday. The show is one of the international summer festival events.

 

Sports:

Egyptian Athletic runner Anas Beshr disqualified in 2016 Rio Olympics 

The Olympic Games Committee decided to disqualify Egyptian Athletic Anas Beshr  from  Men’s 400m Round 1 after he exited from his running track at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Youm7 reported Saturday.

 

Zamalek to face Enyimba Monday in CAF Champions League

Egyptian team of Zamalek Sporting Club will face its Nigerian counterpart Enyimba team Monday in PetroSport Stadium in Alexandria, in the fifth round of the CAF Champions League, King Fut reported Saturday.

 

Al Ahly draws 2-2 with Zesco United

Al Ahly Sporting Club drew 2-2 with the Zambian team Zesco United in the fifth round of the CAF Champions League Friday evening. The match results put the Egyptian team on brink to qualify for the semi final round, King Fut reported Saturday.

 

Egypt loses single, double women’s table tennis to Singapore in Rio

Egypt has lost single and double women’s table tennis matches to Mengyu Yu of Singapore in 2016 Rio Olympic game; Egyptian player Dina Meshref was defeated by Singapore’s counterpart Mengyu Yu, while Nadeed El-Dawlatly and Yousra Helmy lost their game against duo Mengyu Yu and Yihan Zhou of Singapore, King Fut reported Saturday.

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