Egypt

Egypt by Alistair Galloway

Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir accused Egypt of supporting rebels in Sudan. The Sudanese government banned imports of agricultural and animal products from Egypt following its accusations that Egypt is supporting Sudanese rebels. Khaled Ali, an Egyptian human rights lawyer and potential presidential election candidate, is on trial for charges of offending public decency. Egypt blocked access to at least 21 news sites including Al-Jazeera, HuffPost Arabi, and Mada Masr. President el-Sisi ratified a law restricting NGO activity to developmental and social work and introducing jail terms of up to five years for non-compliance. Islamic State's leader in Egypt warned Muslims to stay away from Christian gatherings and government facilities, suggesting that the militant group will keep up attacks on ‘legitimate targets’. Egypt's Interior Ministry released a statement that government forces killed eight members of the Muslim Brotherhood in order to prevent an act of terror. Masked gunmen killed 28 people on a bus carrying Coptic Christians who were traveling to the St. Samuel Monastery in Minya province. In response to the attack in Minya, Egyptian forces launched air strikes targeting militant training camps in Libya. Egypt's parliament passed an investment law on 7 May intended to streamline doing business in Egypt and create incentives for investors. Egypt announced a $2.49 billion aid package to assist Egyptian
citizens during a time of high inflation. 

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Egypt by Alistair Galloway

Egyptian President el-Sisi met with United States President Donald Trump during a visit to the United States on 3 April. A campaign to denounce sexual harassment in Egypt has increased in popularity as hundreds of Egyptian women and girls have shared personal stories about it on social media. An Egyptian criminal court sentenced a rights lawyer to 10 years in prison and a social media ban for using Facebook to ‘destabilize the general order’. Egyptian-American aid worker Aya Hijazi was acquitted of child abuse and human trafficking charges by an Egyptian court on 16 April. A video surfaced allegedly showing Egyptian soldiers shooting unarmed detainees in the northern Sinai region. President el-Sisi met with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman in his first visit to Saudi Arabia since tensions had increased last year over diverging policies on Syria. Pope Francis visited Egypt on 26 April to meet with Egyptian political and religious leaders. According to Egypt's Interior Ministry, 16 people, including 13 policemen, were injured in a bomb blast near a police training facility in the Nile Delta. Multiple attacks in Egypt targeting Coptic Christians celebrating Palm Sunday left 49 people dead on 9 April. Israel closed its border with Egypt following a warning by its anti-terrorism office of an ‘imminent’ militant attack. Egyptian security officials stated that three people were injured in clashes between militants and local tribes in the Sinai Peninsula. A week after the reported clashes between Islamic State militants and local tribesman, the conflict escalated as an Islamic State (IS) suicide bomber killed four members of a local tribe. 

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Egypt by Alistair Galloway

Germany offered Egypt $500 million to support its economic programme and medium-sized and small businesses. Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, also known as Mukhabarat, hired public relations firm Weber Shandwick and Washington DC lobbying firm Cassidy and Associates in order to promote its ‘strategic partnership’ with the United States. Egypt’s Ministry of Supply cut bread subsidies, resulting in protests in many major cities. According to reports, President el-Sisi will meet with United States President Donald Trump at the beginning of April. Egypt is one of several Middle Eastern states that has been subject to new travel regulations by the United States and United Kingdom. Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was freed after a six-year imprisonment. United States officials reported that Russia deployed special forces to an airbase in western Egypt near its border with Libya. Ten members of Egypt's military were killed on 23 March when their vehicles were hit by two improvised bombs during an operation against suspected militants in the Sinai Peninsula. Israel’s Anti- Terrorism Directorate issued a ‘Level 1’ alert for citizens in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on 27 March. Saudi Arabian state oil company Aramco will resume oil product shipments to Egypt after halting shipments for the past six months. The World Bank announced on 20 March that it disbursed another $1 billion in financial assistance to Egypt out of its $3 billion loan program. British Petroleum (BP) announced on 27 March that it made its third gas discovery in Egypt’s North Damietta offshore concession in the east Nile Delta, in which BP has 100% equity. 

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Egypt by Alistair Galloway

The Chinese government cancelled plans to construct over one hundred coal-fired power plants. Following President Trump’s phone-call with President Tsa Ing-wen, the Chinese Foreign Ministry asked that the United Stated (US) continue to honour the One China Policy. President Duterte requested China’s assistance in combatting piracy in the Sulu Sea. The new US administration condemned China’s activities in the South China Sea and vowed to protect American interests in the area. The Chinese navy added a new electronic reconnaissance ship, the CNS Kaiyangxing, to its fleet. China accused the European Union of protectionist policies, after taxing specific steel products from China. UK-China commercial relations entered a new era, with the arrival of the East Wind train in London. The International Monetary Fund upgraded the growth projection for the Chinese economy in 2017.

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Egypt by Alistair Galloway

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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Egypt by Alistair Galloway

Groups in Egypt and Eritrea are contributing to unrest in Ethiopia, according to Ethiopia’s information minister, Getachew Reda. Twelve soldiers were killed and another eight injured in an attack by Islamist militants on an army checkpoint in the Sinai Peninsula. Tension is growing between Egypt and Saudi Arabia in response to Egypt’s cooperation with Russia on matters regarding Syria. A 15-year-old Israeli boy was killed by gunfire near the Egyptian-Israeli border on 25 October. Senior Egyptian army officer Adel Ragaei was killed outside his home in a Cairo suburb. Saudi Aramco informed the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), Egypt's state oil company, that it would halt the supply of refined oil products to Egypt. A senior leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Kamal, was killed by Egyptian Interior Ministry forces following a gun battle on 3 October. According to Egypt's Health Ministry, recent floods killed 26 people and injured 72 others across the country. A top aide of Syrian president Bashar Assad visited Egypt to coordinate the fight against terrorism in the region. Egypt’s foreign ministry criticised the United States embassy in Cairo for advising citizens to avoid large gatherings in the capital the weekend of 7 October, calling the move ‘unjustifiable’. Egypt was accused by Poland’s defence minister of selling two French-made Mistral warships to Russia for the symbolic price of $1. A television interview with Egypt's former chief auditor, Hesham Genena, was banned.

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Egypt by Alistair Galloway

At the beginning of the month, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi visited Delhi to discuss relations between Egypt and India. Retired Egyptian army general Maj-Gen. Mohammed Ali el-Sheikh was named Egypt’s supply minister. An Egyptian court froze the assets of five prominent human rights defenders and three nongovernmental organisations. The head of news at Egyptian state television, Mostafa Shehata, was fired after the channel mistakenly aired an old interview of President Abdul Fattah el-Sissi. According to a new Human Rights Watch report, Egyptian authorities at the notorious al-Aqrab prison in Cairo abused inmates in ways that may have led to their death. A Cyprus court approved a request from the Egyptian government to extradite Egyptian hijacker Seif Eddin Mustafa. A boat carrying about 600 migrants and refugees capsized in the Mediterranean near the coastal town of Rosetta, Egypt. A senior assistant to Egypt's top prosecutor, Zakaria Abdel Aziz, survived an assassination attempt on 29 September when a car bomb exploded as his motorcade was passing by. As a result of the weakening of the Egyptian pound and an increase in electricity prices, Egypt’s annual inflation rate accelerated to 15.5 per cent in August. Royal Dutch Airlines’ (KLM) will temporarily suspend flights to and from Cairo from 8 January, citing “economic reasons.” According to a senior government official, Egypt is making very good progress toward acquiring the additional financing required to procure a $12 billion loan accord with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Egypt repealed its ban on imports of grains tainted with ergot, a fungus found in wheat.

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Egypt by Lewis McKinnon

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) sent Egyptian judoka Islam El Shehaby home from the Rio Olympics after he refused to shake the hand of Israeli Or Sasson after the end of their match. Safaa Hegazy, director of state-run Egyptian radio and television, barred eight anchorwomen from appearing on the air for a month because they were overweight. An Egyptian court ordered the release of a rights lawyer, Malek Adly, who was held without charge in solitary confinement for over 100 days after defying President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi. Egypt's parliament approved a law to regulate the construction of churches. Egypt's parliament adopted amendments that put harsher punishments in place for perpetrators of female genital mutilation. The Egyptian military announced on 4 August that it killed the head of the Sinai branch of Islamic State (IS). According to Egypt’s state television, former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, once one of the country's top religious authorities, survived an assassination attempt on 5 August. According to a Reuters source, Egypt's central bank closed 48 foreign exchange bureaus in 2016 for trading at black market rates and other violations. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed in principle to grant Egypt a $12 billion three-year loan facility. A Hepatitis A outbreak in the United States was linked to frozen strawberries from Egypt. In an attempt to generate state revenue, Egypt's parliament agreed to establish a value-added tax of 13 per cent. Egypt signed an agreement with Cyprus on 31 August to receive gas via undersea pipelines. 

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Egypt by Lewis McKinnon

Egypt's National Council for Human Rights denounced the authorities’ failure to change the human rights situation in the country. Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visited Israel on 10 July, marking the first Egyptian high-level visit to Israel in nearly a decade. Amnesty International released a report on 13 July that revealed a growing trend of disappearances at the hands of the state. Egypt launched a program to force Muslim clerics to read standardised government-written sermons at Friday prayers. Egypt blocked the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) condemnation of the violence and unrest in Turkey. A presidential spokesperson denied a report that an assassination plot against President El-Sisi kept him away from the Arab League summit in Mauritania. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised improved relations with Egypt and its president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Hisham Geneina, Egypt's former top auditor, was sentenced to a year in jail and fined $2,200 on 28 July. A Muslim mob attacked Christian priests on 18 July regarding an issue of religious preference. In response to a request for a multibillion dollar bailout, a delegation from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) arrived in Egypt on 30 July. 

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Egypt by Lewis McKinnon

The Egyptian government announced on 16 June that it found wreckage of EgyptAir Flight 804, which crashed into the Mediterranean Sea last month. Egypt began preliminary negotiations with Palestine to define Palestinian-claimed territory in the Mediterranean Sea. An Egyptian court has ruled against the government’s decision to transfer control of two Red Sea Islands to Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of Egyptian high school students staged a protest in Cairo's Tahrir Square on 27 June after high school exams were cancelled. Popular British-Lebanese television talk show host Liliane Daoud was deported by Egyptian authorities. Egypt celebrated a new national holiday on 30 June marking the army’s 2013 overthrow of President Morsi. An EgyptAir passenger plane, en route from Cairo to Beijing, made an emergency landing in Uzbekistan due to a bomb threat that was discovered to be false.As a result of security concerns, British Airways suspended flights to Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh resort indefinitely. Annual inflation hit 12.23 per cent in May, the highest level in seven years, which created particular difficulties for Egypt’s Muslim majority celebrating Ramadan in June. 

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