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.


 Daily News Egypt

Claims Muslim Brotherhood are rounding up activists

The Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR) has claimed that members of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) are rounding up people and handing them over to the security forces. It is alleged that they are targeting people they believe to have been involved in attacking Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) headquarters.


Egypt: dozens wounded in Nile Delta town clashes

pro and anti-Morsi clash in Mahalla, attack police station, TV

(ANSAmed) - CAIRO, NOVEMBER 27 - Dozens have been wounded in clashes between Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in the Nile Delta town of Mahalla, where protesters are trying to attack the police station, state TV reported Tuesday. (ANSAmed).




Mass rally held against Mohammed Mursi


 The BBC's Bethany Bell reports as thousands of people gather in Tahrir Square, Cairo

Tens of thousands of people have held protests in Cairo against Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, who last week granted himself sweeping new powers.

Flag-waving demonstrators chanted slogans accusing the president and the Muslim Brotherhood of betraying last year's revolution.

On Monday Mr Mursi sought to defuse the crisis by saying the decree granting him new powers was limited in scope.


Egypt rights groups and ElBaradei denounce Mursi decree

Anti-Mursi protesters chant slogans in front of the Supreme Judicial Council building in Cairo, 24 November 2012

Critics and supporters of Mr Mursi have staged rallies since the decree was announced

More than 20 Egyptian rights groups have called on President Mohammed Mursi to withdraw the decree granting himself extensive new powers.

The 22 groups signed an open letter saying the president "has dealt a lethal blow to the Egyptian judiciary".

Opposition politician Mohamed ElBaradei has said there can be no dialogue with Mr Mursi while the decree, announced on Thursday, is in force.

There have been big rallies for and against Mr Mursi's move.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which backs Mr Mursi's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) party, has called for demonstrations across Egypt after sunset, in support of his decree.


Egypt judges call for national strike over Mursi decree

Ahmed al-Zind (C), head of Egypt's Judges Club, during a meeting in Cairo on 24 November. 

Mursi is under pressure from his supporters as many judges are from the Mubarak era 

Egypt's judges have called for a nationwide strike in protest against a decree by President Mohammed Mursi granting himself extensive new powers.

After an emergency meeting, the judges union urged Mr Mursi to retract the decree they see as an "unprecedented attack" on the judiciary. Mr Mursi says he wants to protect the revolution.

According to his decree, no authority can revoke presidential decisions.

It includes a bar on dissolving the assembly drawing up a new constitution.


As Egyptians protest Morsi's new powers, U.S. expresses concern

The president issued a decree that puts his decisions above legal challenge until a new parliament is elected, causing angry protests by his opponents and violent clashes in central Cairo and other cities on Friday.

By Reuters | Nov.23, 2012 | 9:40 PM

Protesters demonstrating against Egypt's President Morsi run from tear gas, November 23, 2012.

Protesters demonstrating against Egyptian President Morsi run from tear gas fired by riot police, November 23, 2012. Photo by AFP 

The United States is concerned about Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's decision to assume sweeping powers, the U.S. State Department said on Friday.

Morsi on Thursday issued a decree that puts his decisions above legal challenge until a new parliament is elected, causing angry protests by his opponents and violent clashes in central Cairo and other cities on Friday.


Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi defended his latest decree granting himself sweeping powers before supporters in Cairo as anti-Morsi demonstrators set fire to Muslim Brotherhood offices in cities across Egypt on Friday.


As enraged demonstrators torched Muslim Brotherhood offices in several Egyptian cities, a defiant Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi defended his recent decree granting himself sweeping powers before a crowd of supporters outside the presidential palace in Cairo Friday.

"Political stability, social stability and economic stability are what I want and that is what I am working for," said Morsi. "I have always been, and still am, and will always be, God willing, with the pulse of the people, what the people want, with clear legitimacy" he said from a podium before thousands of supporters.

Morsi’s speech came a day after he issued a presidential decree stating that any challenges to his decrees, laws and decisions were banned.


EU urges Morsi to respect Egypt's democratic process

The European Union on Friday urged Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to respect the democratic process after he assumed sweeping powers decried by the opposition as dictatorial

AFP, Friday 23 Nov 2012

"It is of utmost importance that democratic process be completed in accordance with the commitments undertaken by the Egyptian leadership," a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.


Morsi must ensure the separation of powers, the independence of justice, the protection of fundamental freedoms and the holding of democratic parliamentary elections "as soon as possible," said spokesman Michael Mann.


Muslim Brotherhood offices set on fire in Egypt in protest at presidents new powers that mean he is above the law

By Richard Hartley-parkinson

Offices belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood in several Egyptian cities have been set on fire in protest against President Mohammed Morsi's latest decrees.

State TV says Morsi opponents set fire to the offices in the Suez Canal cities of Suez, Port Said and Ismailia.

Clashes also erupted between the two sides in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, the southern city of Assiut and in Giza, the sister city of the capital. In Alexandria, Morsi opponents hurled stones at Brotherhood supporters outside a mosque and stormed a nearby office of the group.

The clashes came a day after Morsi announced sweeping new powers for himself, putting himself above judicial oversight.


Fires were started at Muslim Brotherhood offices across Egypt including Alexandria, pictured

Fires were started at Muslim Brotherhood offices across Egypt including Alexandria, pictured


Egyptian opponents of President Mohamed Morsi break into the office of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria

Egyptian opponents of President Mohamed Morsi break into the office of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria


Egyptians Protest Sweeping New Presidential Powers

--Matt Bradley, Joshua Mitnick and Jay Solomon contributed to this article

CAIRO--Tensions and divisions mounted in Egypt as tens of thousands of people took to the streets in the capital and elsewhere across the country in competing demonstrations for and against sweeping new powers President Mohammed Morsi granted himself by decree the day before.

After regular weekly Friday prayers, large crowds started converging on Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the massive protests that toppled the country's former strongman, Hosni Mubarak, chanting anti-Morsi slogans and comparing him to his predecessor.

"The people want to bring down the regime," shouted some protesters echoing the most emblematic chant of the so-called Arab Spring uprisings that toppled Mr. Mubarak and several other regional leaders in 2011.

Large crowds opposed to Mr. Morsi also gathered in the predominantly Christian neighborhood of Shubra and on the west bank of the Nile in the Muhandeseen neighborhood.

On Yusuf al-Jundi Street, angry youth rushed back and forth toward giant concrete barricades separating them from the Ministry of Interior. They lobbed rocks and homemade gasoline bombs at security forces, who responded with tear gas.

"The general impression is that the country and all its institutions are gradually being taken over by the Brotherhood. But the problem is that they are filling most positions with loyalists, not competent people," said Diaa Rashwan, a senior analyst with the Cairo-based Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.

Similar grievances were aired by representatives of Egyptian churches and nearly two dozen liberal figures several days ago when they withdrew from a national panel tasked with drafting a new constitution for the country by mid-December.

In his weekly address on Tuesday, Mohammed Badie, the Brotherhood's head, lashed out at those criticizing Mr. Morsi for paying more attention to Gaza than domestic matters.

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