Egypt foreign currency reserves fall again

The bank said reserves fell by $1.4bn during the month from $15bn to $13.6bn amid continued political unrest and violent street protests.

The figures again raise concerns over the state of Egypt's economy and the government's finances.

The economy has stagnated since the revolution to oust former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

The central bank gave no reason for the fall in a statement published by the state news agency Mena.

But economists say the continued political instability in Egypt has crippled the tourism sector - an important earner of foreign currency - and discouraged foreign investment.


Egypt curfew scaled back as Mursi seeks end to bloodshed

By Edmund Blair and Alexandra Hudson

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi address the media following their talks in Berlin January 30, 2013. German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Egypt's Islamist president on Wednesday to open a dialogue with all political forces in the crisis-ridden Arab country after a week of violence that has killed more than 50 people. REUTERS-Tobias Schwarz

CAIRO/BERLIN (Reuters) - Authorities in an Egyptian city scaled back a curfew imposed by President Mohamed Mursi, and the Islamist leader cut short a visit to Europe on Wednesday to deal with the deadliest violence in the seven months since he took power.


Morsi, in Germany, defends comments on Jews Cool


German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi, left, address the media during a joint press conference after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) 

Associated Press/Michael Sohn - German Chancellor Angela Merkel, right, and President of Egypt Mohammed Morsi, left, address the media during a joint press conference after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin,more Germany, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) less

BERLIN (AP) — Egypt's Islamist president turned aside repeated criticism of his past comments referring to Jews as "the descendants of apes and pigs" as he visited Germany on Wednesday, insisting that the remarks were taken out of context and were aimed at criticizing Israeli attacks on Palestinians.

A key focus of Mohammed Morsi's one-day visit to Berlin was to seek support to rebuild a crumbling Egyptian economy. However, questions about his comments — made in 2010 — pursued him throughout the day. The remarks drew attention earlier this month when an Egyptian TV show aired them to highlight and mock Morsi's current policies.


Merkel tells Morsi to ensure dialogue in Egypt

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi give a joint press conference following a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on January 30, 2013. (AFP/John Macdougall)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi give a joint press conference following a meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin on January 30, 2013. (AFP/John Macdougall)

BERLIN: German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged the visiting Egyptian president Wednesday to ensure constant dialogue as his country grapples with a political crisis that has sparked deadly unrest.

Merkel told a joint press conference in Berlin with President Mohamed Morsi that Germany wanted a successful transformation process in Egypt, where Morsi took over last year, and was ready to help.


Egypt opposition to rally on revolution anniversary

bbc 25 1 13

Police used tear gas on protesters overnight

Police have clashed with protesters gathering in Tahrir Square in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, ahead of the second anniversary of the uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power.

President Mohammed Morsi's opponents plan a rally, accusing the Islamist leader of betraying the revolution.

Mr Morsi denies the claim, and has called for "peaceful" celebrations.

Egypt's Morsi Tries to Defuse Flap Over Jews Slur


Egypt's Islamist president sought Wednesday to defuse Washington's anger over his past remarks urging hatred of Jews and calling Zionists "pigs" and "bloodsuckers," telling visiting U.S. senators that his comments were a denunciation of Israeli policies.

Both sides appear to want to get beyond the flap: Mohammed Morsi needs America's help in repairing a rapidly sliding economy, and Washington can't afford to shun a figure who has emerged as a model of an Islamist leader who maintains his country's ties with Israel.

U.S. Sen. John McCain said a congressional delegation he led that met with Morsi expressed to him their "strong disapproval" about his 2010 comments. The delegation and Morsi had a "constructive discussion" about the remarks, he told reporters.


US condemns Mohammed Morsi anti-Semitic remarks

The White House has condemned anti-Semitic remarks by Mohammed Morsi, the Egyptian president, who once described Israelis as the “descendants of apes and pigs”.

US condemns Mohammed Morsi anti-Semitic remarks

Since being elected Mr Morsi has promised to abide by Egypt's decades-old peace treaty with Israel Photo: Egypt State TV/AP


Mr Morsi’s slurs, which emerged in recordings from 2010, were termed “deeply offensive” by Jay Carney, Mr Obama’s press secretary, who said concerns had been raised with Egyptian officials.

Mr Carney urged Mr Morsi, who has promised to respect Egypt's decades-old peace treaty with Israel, to promptly state publicly that he respects people of all faiths.


British Airways Christian employee Nadia Eweida wins case

Nadia Eweida 

Nadia Eweida was banned from displaying her cross at work 

A British Airways employee suffered discrimination at work over her Christian beliefs, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.

Judges ruled Nadia Eweida's rights had been violated under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

nadia ewida in starsbourg 4 sept 12 

Nadia Eweida's with her legal team and supporters following her hearing at Strasbourg 4th Sept 2012



Egypt fires finance, interior ministers before IMF visit

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Mursi fired his finance and interior ministers, cabinet sources said on Saturday, in a government reshuffle he had promised to assuage public anger at an economic crisis.

General Mohamed Ibrahim will replace Ahmed Gamal El-Din as interior minister and Al-Mursi Al-Sayed Hegazy takes the finance ministry job from Mumtaz al-Saaed.

Egypt's pound, 10 percent down since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak, lost more than 3 percent against the dollar in the week ending on Thursday, hitting a record low as fears grew over its rapidly shrinking foreign currency reserves.

No 1 News Site on the Threat of Radical Islam 

Egypt Pursues Hezbollah

by: Clare Lopez 

Hezbollah supporters at a rally in Lebanon (Photo: Reuters)


Sunnis and Shi’ites are literally at each others’ throats these days in Syria, much as they have been for over 1300 years of Islamic fitna, but elsewhere rapprochement may be the word of the day. The Egyptian ambassador to Lebanon was quoted in a December 29, 2012 Daily Caller interview talking about pursuing a relationship with Hezbolllah, Iran’s Shi’ite terror proxy.

Calling Hezbolllah a “real political and military force” on the ground in Lebanon, Ashraf Hamdy, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s envoy to Beirut, provided the latest signal that a new Cairo-Tehran axis of jihad may be taking shape.


Economic uncertainty drives up Egypt borrowing cost

Worries about the value of the Egyptian pound, which dropped some 4 per cent in the past week, drive yields on Egyptian t-bills upwards

Yields on Egyptian 182-day T-bills rose at an auction on Thursday as a weakening Egyptian pound and uncertainty about the fate of a $4.8 billion IMF loan drove up the cost of government borrowing.


The average yield climbed to 14.104 per cent from 13.300 per cent at the last issue on Dec. 25. Last week's auction was cancelled.

"Rates have been on the rise after the political tension since the presidential decree," said Cairo-based fixed-income dealer Ahmed Kheir El Din. "The uncertainty about the IMF loan is also weighing on trader sentiment," he said.

Egypt reserves plunge as economic crisis bites

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's central bank said it would start foreign currency auctions on Sunday to conserve reserves that have fallen to a critical level, pointing to a deepening economic crisis as President Mohamed Mursi tries to calm political turmoil.

The announcement was posted on the bank's website on Saturday just two hours after Mursi used a major policy speech to declare the economy was showing signs of improvement.

"This is a massive, massive setback for them," said an economist based outside Egypt. "If the Egyptian pound is no longer freely convertible, then you're bound to undo eight years of successful and effective currency management."


The central bank has spent more than $20 billion in foreign reserves to support the pound since a mass uprising against Hosni Mubarak in early 2011 chased away tourists and foreign investors.

S&P downgrades Egypt credit rating

From: AAP

RATINGS agency Standard and Poor's has downgraded Egypt's long-term credit rating because of "elevated" tensions over its political crisis, and warned it could be lowered further.

The country's long-term rating was lowered to B- from B because the turmoil has "weakened Egypt's institutional framework, and the increasingly polarised political discourse could diminish the effectiveness of policy-making," the agency said on Monday.

"A further downgrade is possible if a significant worsening of the domestic political situation results in a sharp deterioration of economic indicators such as foreign exchange reserves or the government's deficit," it said.

Egypt's Constitution Fails to Protect Human Rights, Minorities, Ros-Lehtinen Says


(WASHINGTON) – U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today released the following statement on Saturday’s final round of voting on Egypt’s draft constitution:

“Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood-led government will be claiming a victory after this Saturday’s referendum on Egypt’s new constitution.  However, the stark reality is that this is a defeat for the Egyptian people.  We must not forget that this new constitution not only fails to protect many Egyptians, but also fails to meet international standards for protecting basic human rights.  In his attempt to solidify power, Morsi excluded the opposition parties and religious and ethnic minority groups from the drafting process.  The Muslim Brotherhood-led government was then able to integrate sharia law into key aspects of the constitution, omitting pivotal protections for ethnic and religious minorities.


Egypt’s top prosecutor stirs new tensions by withdrawing resignation

By Associated Press

CAIRO — Egypt’s top prosecutor retracted his resignation on Thursday, a decision that could cause a new uproar in the country after he was accused of pressuring a judge not to release protesters opposed to the Islamist president.

The prosecutor, Talaat Abdullah, who was appointed by President Mohammed Morsi, told reporters he resigned on Monday “under pressure” and amid “abnormal circumstances” with prosecutors holding a sit-in in front of his office.

Daily News Egypt 

Supreme Constitutional Court accuses presidency of lying

Supreme Constitutional Court claims statement made to foreign media by the presidency amounts to “slander”

Supreme Constitutional Court - Hassan Ibrahim

The Supreme Constitutional Court said the presidency aimed to “undermine the reputation of this court internationally.” (DNE/ Hassan Ibrahim)

The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) has claimed that a statement released by the president’s assistant to foreign media “contains many falsehoods and inaccuracies.”

The SCC released a statement on Monday in response to a statement released by Essam Al-Haddad, the assistant to the president on foreign relations, which was published on Friday.


Egypt crisis: Morsi's hometown split by constitution row

President Morsi stencil image 

President Morsi provokes passionate debate between supporters and detractors 

Egypt's draft constitution has 63 pages and 236 articles on everything from individual rights, religion, and the role of the state. It's hard to read, harder to understand, but it's easy to see why it's causing such a storm.

And the people of Zagazig seem to take it seriously.

To try to take the political pulse outside the hothouse of the capital Cairo, we drove two hours north to this dusty town in the Nile Delta. It has a catchy name and a claim to fame - it's President Mohammed Morsi's hometown.


VIDEO: Mass protests reach Egypt's presidential palace, police withdraw

Central Security Forces withdraw from the mass protests into the presidential palace in Heliopolis

Zeinab El Gundy, Tuesday 4 Dec 2012

Egyptian protesters carry national flags and chant anti Muslim Brotherhood slogans during a demonstration in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Ahram Online declares its full support for the strike action undertaken on Tuesday by a large number of major Egyptian newspapers and TV stations in defence of freedom of the press, freedom of expression, civil liberties and the rule of law. In view of our particular status as a web-based news outlet, however, we will maintain our updates throughout this crucial day of protest, not in contravention of the strike action, but in full solidarity with it. These decisions were consensually adopted by an all-staff meeting of Ahram Online, and in consultation with members of the board of the Press Syndicate and striking news media.


Security forces have withdrawn from the perimeter outside the presidential palace after receiving orders to go inside the palace.


Some protesters cheered the Central Security Forces (CSF) units after the end of the clashes, according to some news reports. The ministry of interior already issued an official statement declaring that President Morsi left the presidential palace after finishing a couple of meetings on Tuesday. It also added that the security forces practiced self-restraint after the protesters breached the barbed wire cordons around the palace.


Egypt’s political crisis widens with planned strikes, protest march to presidential palace

 A protester in a Pharaoh headdress holds up a placard reading 'no to a dictator' during a demonstration on Tahrir Squareon Friday

(Nasser Nasser/ Associated Press ) - A supporter of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi holds a banner with his picture and Arabic that reads, “yes for the constitutional declaration to stop corruption,” during a protest in front of Egypt’s top court, in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Dec. 3, 2012. The Egyptian president’s top legal adviser says the country’s election commission has begun preparations for the referendum on Dec. 15 on a highly contentious draft constitution.

CAIRO — Egypt’s political crisis is widening, with plans for a huge march and a general strike Tuesday to protest the hurried drafting of a new constitution and decrees by President Mohammed Morsi that gave him nearly unrestricted powers.

OHCHR header 

Pillay says Egyptian Presidential declaration conflicts with international obligations

GENEVA (30 November 2012) – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has urged the President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, to reconsider the Constitutional Declaration issued last week, saying a number of measures contained in it are incompatible with international human rights law. She further warned that approving a constitution in these circumstances could be a deeply divisive move.

Pillay welcomed the efforts to reach out to the judiciary and political parties, but said they were “not yet sufficient” to prevent Egypt reneging on binding principles laid down in the two overarching international human rights treaties – the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights -- which Egypt ratified in 1982.

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