UPDATE: Egypt’s politics digest Sept. 29: Court halts annulment of Egypt-Saudi Red Sea island accord
Egyptian protesters shout slogans against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the government during a demonstration protesting the government's decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, in front of the Press Syndicate in Cairo, Egypt, April 15, 2016. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
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CAIRO: No more browsing from site to site, view the top politics news stories on Sept. 29 here:

Court halts annulment of Egypt-Saudi Red Sea island accord

The Court for Urgent Matters on Thursday halted an earlier court ruling that annulled a controversial deal to hand over two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, Youm7 reported.

The deal over the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, which was signed in April, prompted public protests.

In June, the State Council ruled that the islands, strategically situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba, must remain under Egyptian sovereignty.

A day later, the State Lawsuits Authority, representing the government, has appealed the agreement-quashing ruling.

The accord was announced during a visit to Cairo by the Saudi king that coincided with the signing of aid agreements, which created the impression among many that the islands were sold. However, Egyptian authorities denied this.

 

Journalist released on bail pending investigations over attempting to overthrow regime

A Cairo Criminal Court on Thursday ordered the release of journalist Mahmoud el Sakka on 5,000 EGP ($600) bail pending investigation, Youm7 reported.

Sakka, who works for the Bawabet Yanayer leftwing website, faces charges of joining a group that prosecutors allege attempted to call for the overthrow of the regime, prevent state institutions from performing their functions and endangered public peace.

Sakka, along with other journalists were arrested a few weeks before the 5th anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled Egypt’s longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak, Al Ahram reported.

 

Egypt receives new batch of MRAPs from US

The Egyptian Armed Forces have received a new batch of the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles from the U.S., Youm7 reported on Thursday.

The delivery ceremony was attended by a host of army leaders from the two countries, including head of the Egyptian Armed Corps Major General Khaled Roshdy, U.S. Ambassador to Cairo R. Stephen Beecroft and Major General Charles Hooper, a senior defense official at the US Embassy in Egypt.

Roshdy hailed the strategic partnership between the two countries and said the new armored vehicles are designed to protect soldiers from roadside bombs and will be used “to combat terrorism and promote stability in the region.”

The deal aims to support Egypt’s ongoing counterterrorism operations in Sinai and elsewhere in the country, he added.

For his part, Hooper stressed the importance of the event as a “clear indication of the strong partnership between the United States and Egypt,” which stretches over nearly three decades.

Egypt has been struggling to contain an insurgency based in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, where an Islamic State affiliate has carried out scores of attacks mainly targeting the army and police.

 

Egypt follows ‘with interest’ US Congress’ override of Obama’s Veto on JASTA

Egypt announced it follows up “with interest” the U.S. congress’ voting on overriding President Barack Obama’s veto on  Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which allows suing Saudi Arabia’s officials or royal families following the 9/11 attacks, said Egyptian Foreign Ministry in a statement Thursday.

“The Foreign Ministry had previously expressed Egypt’s conviction that the President’s veto against the bill upholds the rules of international law and norms in international relations, as it endorses the principles of sovereign equality, state immunity and restrains from imposing domestic laws on other countries,” the statement read.

President Obama has told CNN that the Congress has committed a “mistake” by overriding his veto against the bill.

 

Egypt approves tougher jail terms for FGM

(Reuters) – Egypt has approved a law that will increase jail terms for those who perform female circumcisions, raising the maximum sentence to seven years from two, according to the state’s official gazette on Wednesday.

Genital cutting of girls, often referred to as female genital mutilation (FGM) or circumcision, is banned in Egypt but the practice remains common as a rite of passage and is often viewed as a way to protect their chastity.

More than nine in 10 women and girls aged 15 to 49 in Egypt have undergone FGM, but the number has declined in recent years, according to data collected by the United Nations.

Female genital cutting is performed on both Muslim and Christian girls in Egypt and Sudan, but is rare elsewhere in the Arab world. It is also common in Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.

The new law stipulates jail sentences of between five and seven years for doctors who perform the operation and one to three for parents who order it.

Egypt’s parliament passed the bill on increased sentences in August, but it required presidential approval to come into law.

 

Cairo to host an international conference on peace, co-existence in January

The Muslim Council of Elders, chaired by the Egyptian Al Azhar Sheikh Ahmed Al Tayeb, announced on Wednesday that Cairo will hot host an international conference on peace, and co-existence, with participations of representatives from Eastern churches in January 2017, Youm7 reported.

Al Tayeb met with Bahraini Monarch Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Wednesday, discussing the ways and mechanisms to disseminate the peaceful and moderate culture, as well as efforts exerted by the Council of Elders of the Muslims in order to promote a culture of peace and coexistence and acceptance of others, Youm7 reported.

 

Kuwaiti Interpol arrests two Egyptian fugitives from justice

Kuwaiti Interpol arrested on two Egyptian nationals, who were fugitives from justice, upon a request from the Egyptian authorities, Kuwait’s Alrai newspaper said on Thursday.

The arrested people will be kept under in Kuwait’s Central Prison Complex until the arrival of Egyptian security delegation to the country for deportation of the fugitives back home.

 

Jordanian military delegation returns back home from Egypt

A senior Jordanian military delegation, headed by Brigadier General Hani, left the Cairo International Airport, left, on Thursday back to Amman after a visit to Egypt that for several days, during which the delegation members met a number of military officials.

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