PM Says Mubarak to Stay Under House Arrest
In August, after a judge ordered the release of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, interim Prime Minister Hazem El-Beblawi placed the former president under house arrest. In comments published in local media today, Beblawi said that Mubarak will remain under house arrest, even after the government lifts the state of emergency law, which is set to be repealed on November 14. Legal experts are questioning this decision, as the choice to keep Mubarak under house arrest was only permissible because of the special circumstances of the emergency law. Mubarak is currently charged with the murders of protesters during the January 2011 revolution, and is in a military hospital in the Cairo suburb of Maadi.
New Study Suggests Arafat Was Poisoned
According to a new study by Swiss scientists, Yasser Arafat’s body possesses extremely high levels of radioactive polonium-210. These unexpectedly high levels suggest that the Palestinian leader may have been poisoned. “It’s what killed him,” said David Barclay, a British forensic scientist. “I don’t think there is any doubt at all.” The Israeli government dismissed the report, adding that they were “not involved in any way.” Arafat’s widow called the poisoning “the crime of the century.” The Swiss report has been handed to French investigators who are continuing an investigation into Arafat’s death.
Soldier Killed by Sniper in Northern Sinai
An Egyptian soldier died from a bullet-wound to the head yesterday in the volatile North Sinai region. An official said the nature of the wound indicated that the shot was fired by a sniper from a high altitude. The soldier, a 20-year-old conscript, was killed at a military training camp in Sheikh Zuwayed, where the military has focused their efforts on fighting groups of militants. Since President Mohamed Morsi was deposed in early July, random attacks and acts of violence in the Sinai have increased. Gunmen have targeted state institutions, such as police stations, and infrastructure.
Egypt to Use Webcams to Increase Tourism
A representative of the Egyptian state tourist office said that they were planning to utilize technology such as webcams to convince tourists that it’s safe to return to Egypt. Emphasizing traditional tourist destinations like Luxor, Aswan, and Sharm El Sheikh, Omayma El Husseini said that she was hopeful that the British foreign office would lift its travel advisory to Egypt. After the political unrest of June 30 and its aftermath, Egypt’s tourist numbers significantly dropped; if the situation continues, the country will be in danger of losing 1.5 percent of its GDP by the end of the year.
US Secretary of State Tries to Revive Peace Talks
After a quick trip to Egypt, US Secretary of State John Kerry has spent the last few days in the region, intent on reviving peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Kerry helped broker peace talks three months ago, but little progress has been made since then. The Secretary of State has visited Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories over the last few days to try to influence all parties to reach a consensus; the current timetable sets the deadline for an agreement as April, 2014. The US is still pushing for a two-state solution, and Kerry reiterated that the US considers Israeli settlements illegitimate. He also said that if talks failed, the end result would be a continuing, low-grade war.