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Monday, September 16, 2013

Morsi to be Detained for Another Month

In early July, Egyptian authorities detained former President Mohamed Morsi and held him in an undisclosed location; on Friday, a Cairo court said that Morsi and his former chief of staff Mohamed al Tahtawi would remain under arrest for the next thirty days. Morsi is currently being held on charges that he collaborated with the Palestinian Hamas movement in January of 2011. Meanwhile, former president Hosni Mubarak’s trial began today; he is being tried on charges that he played a role in the deaths of around 6900 protesters in the 2011 uprising.

Metro Protests Fizzle

On Sunday, protesters gathered at two metro stations in Cairo to demonstrate against the military-backed interim government. However, the protests fizzled out quickly and failed to close down the metro. Egyptian authorities arrested twenty of the protesters, and reported that they were in possession of slingshots and spray cans. Protests have greatly diminished over the past weeks because of several reasons, among them, the “violent crackdown, a curfew imposed by the military and a leadership vacuum in the wake of a dragnet targeting Morsi’s group.”

 A Future Minimum Wage in Egypt?

Interim Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi’s announcement this weekend that the government wants to establish a minimum and maximum wage for Egyptian workers has met criticism from some sectors of society. Prominent businessmen and politicians expressed surprise, and called for the government to conduct research on the issue before moving forward. Some pointed to the high existing rate of unemployment as one factor that might make this plan unfeasible. Beblawi said in a press conference that he wanted to set the minimum monthly wage at 800 EGP a month (about $116) but would put off the decision until a later date.

Egyptian Authorities Take Back Town from Islamists

After President Morsi was deposed in early July, armed supporters of the deposed president captured a town in central Egypt and remained in control of it for over two months. This morning, Egyptian security forces succeeded in taking control of Delga, a town of 120,000 people in Minya province. While in control of Delga, the armed group carried out attacks against Christians and Christian-owned buildings such as churches and stores. Christians make up about ten percent of Egypt’s population and have been the victims of sectarian attacks in recent months.

US, UK and France Push for UN Resolution on Syria

France, the UK and the US announced that they are aiming for a comprehensive and “robust” UN Resolution on the topic of disarming Syria of chemical weapons. This weekend, Russia and the US announced that they had reached a deal on the Syrian weapons proposal and the Arab League welcomed the move as a step toward a political solution. According to the plan, Syria must turn over an inventory of its chemical weapons within a week and eradicate the program by the middle of next year. Many politicians in Egypt believe a strike would lead to more complications in Syria and the region and have strongly opposed the idea from the beginning.

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