Egypt / by Michelle Ryan

The European policing agency, Europol, is planning to investigate the mass drowning of migrants on 9 April that is believed to have resulted in more than 500 deaths. The founder of the Centre for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance, Azza Soliman, was detained by Egyptian authorities. Egyptian authorities froze the assets of two independent Egyptian newspapers, including one of the country's only English-language papers, Daily News Egypt. The United States Department of State issued a travel warning for Egypt on 23 December. Al-Jazeera news producer Mahmoud Hussein was detained on 23 December by Egyptian authorities. A new law, approved by Egypt’s parliament, calls for the creation of a media council with the power to fine or suspend publications and broadcasters. Egypt’s government approved the plan to return control of two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. Six police officers and a civilian were killed in bombings on 9 December. Traces of explosives were found on some of the victims of EgyptAir Flight 804, a plane from Paris that crashed in the Mediterranean Sea in May. A bombing near Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 27 people and wounded another 47. Russian-owned Rosneft agreed to pay Italy-based Eni S.p.A. $1.13 billion for an initial 30 per cent stake in the Shorouk concession with an option to acquire a further 5 per cent. Eni S.p.A, one of the leading global oil and gas companies, signed two new concession agreements with the Egyptian government for gas exploration in two fields of North El-Hammad and North Ras El-Esh. Egyptian President el-Sisi said in a statement on 24 December that Egypt’s military's economic activity accounted two percent of the country's output. President el-Sisi said on the 28 December that Egypt’s currently poor economic conditions will improve in six months and called on businessmen and investors to help the government curb price increases.

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