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Monday, November 25, 2013

Bomb Explodes in Cairo

Cairo has witnessed an increase in violent attacks over the past two weeks, and today was no exception. Unknown assailants planted a bomb near a police checkpoint, which exploded around dawn while a night patrol was passing by. Three people were injured in the attack, but no one was killed. The bomb exploded in Hadaeq El-Qubah, a neighborhood in northeast Cairo. No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack thus far.

Egypt Passes Law to Restrict Protests

On Sunday, the Egyptian government instituted a new law which aims to curtail protests and dissent in Egypt. The law enjoys popular support but has been severely criticized by human rights groups. The new legislation (according to earlier drafts) will require police approval before any protests or open meetings that consist of more than 10 people. Any demonstrations that do not meet the approval of the Interior of the Ministry will be cancelled. According to the Mohamed Zaree, Egypt program manager for the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, “they want to substitute a state of emergency that is limited by time with a continuous state of emergency that will last not only in emergency cases but will last forever.” As the law went into effect on Sunday, more protests erupted around Egypt. Supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi demonstrated to mark the 100 day anniversary of security forces’ violent dispersal of protest sit-ins in mid-August. Hundreds of protesters died in the ensuing clashes.

Bassem Youssef Could Return via German Channel

Controversial satirist and comedian Bassem Youssef has met with German television channel Deutsche-Welle about the possibility of hosting his popular show, El Bernameg. According to the channel’s Twitter account, recent reports that Youssef requested “$300,000 per broadcast” are “way off-base.” The announcement is the first official report about the possibility of El Bernameg returning to Egyptian airwaves after the show was abruptly canceled by satellite channel CBC a few weeks ago. Youssef criticized the cult of adoration surrounding the Egyptian army and General Abd el Fattah el Sisi in an episode that aired last month. Not long after, the television channel CBC distanced itself from the show and broke with the production company.

Egypt Expels Turkish Ambassador

In the latest diplomatic spat between Turkey and Egypt, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogen criticized (once again) Egypt’s decision to keep deposed President Morsi behind bars and the course of Egypt’s latest political transition. Egypt’s transitional government responded by asking the Turkish ambassador to leave the country. A spokesperson for Egypt’s foreign ministry said that Turkey was interfering in Egypt’s domestic affairs.

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