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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Top Muslim Brotherhood Spokesperson Arrested

Gehad El-Haddad, a senior official in charge of media relations for the Muslim Brotherhood, was arrested in an apartment in the Nasr City area of Cairo yesterday. Reports indicate that he will be charged with inciting violence. Since the Egyptian armed forces broke up the pro-Morsi sit-ins in August, hundreds of the Brotherhood’s leaders have been detained on similar charges. El-Haddad is the son of former presidential advisor Essam El-Haddad, who was arrested by Egyptian authorities when President Morsi was deposed in early July.

Amidst Economic Woes, Egypt Postpones Minimum Wage Decision

The political turmoil in Egypt continues to take its toll on the economy. According to the CEO of Sofitel Worldwide, Cairo hotels have occupancy rates of between 11 and 3 percent. Before President Morsi was ousted from power in early July, hotel patronage was “close to 80 percent.” The state-mandated curfew continues to affect local businesses. Amidst these concerns, the National Council for Wages has postponed its decision to restructure Egypt’s national minimum wage, and Egypt’s Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi stated that the government “will not increase the minimum wage due to budget allocations.” Fixing a minimum wage is a central demand of the labor movement, which helped launch the January 25 revolution.

Detained French Citizen Killed While in Custody in Cairo

The French foreign ministry confirmed the death of a French citizen who was detained in Cairo. He was reportedly arrested for violating the government-imposed curfew, which has been in place since mid-August. Egyptian authorities say the man was “drunk at the time of his arrest” when he was picked up in the upscale Cairo neighborhood of Zamalek. Authorities also reported that he was killed by his cellmates while in custody. The French foreign ministry has called on Egyptian authorities to investigate.

US Pressures Sisi on Political Road Map

General Abdel Fattah El-Sisi held talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Tuesday. According to the Pentagon, Hagel urged El-Sisi to “advance the political roadmap” and “to maintain security.” Hagel expressed concern with the mass detainments and discussed “efforts to secure and rebuild Coptic Christian communities impacted by violence.” Throughout the crisis, Hagel has maintained regular contact with El-Sisi. Though Washington cancelled military exercises with Egypt and delayed the delivery of American fighter jets, they have not cut off military or economic aid.

Film Panorama Coming to Cairo Theaters

Though political unrest has already cancelled the Cairo International Film Festival this year, the European International Film Panorama is scheduled to forge ahead in its sixth year. The event is scheduled to light Cairo screens from Nov. 27 to Dec. 27 and will feature a program that includes “European Selections,” “Debut Work,” and “Panoramic Classics.” The event is organized by Misr International Films, which was founded in 1972 by the Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine. Screenings will be held in theaters throughout Cairo.

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