£500m of EU taxpayers' money donated to Egypt to fight corruption, including £70m from Britain, has vanished, says shocking auditors report

  • Report found 'no audit trail' for £500 million in EU aid given to country
  • Around £70 million came from British taxpayers
  • Watchdog found money had failed to tackle corruption

By Ben Leach and Jason Groves

The report said there had been no improvement in the promotion of democracy under President Morsi

More than £70million of British aid to Egypt has been lost to  corruption, waste and fruitless projects.

The cash was part of a £500million drive by the European Union to promote democracy and human rights in Egypt over the past seven years.

The Guardian home 

Egypt's Mohamed Morsi appoints hardline Islamist to govern Luxor

Concerns for tourism as governor is member of Gamaa Islamiya, the militant group responsible for 1997 Luxor massacre

Foreign tourists at Hatshepsut Temple, in Luxor, Egypt

Luxor's ancient temples and statues bring in foreign tourists, who are vital to the local economy. Photograph: Nasser Nasser/AP

The Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, has appointed a member of the hardline Islamist group Gamaa Islamiya to the governorship of Luxor – a tourist city in which militants associated with the group killed 58 tourists in 1997.

The symbolism of the appointment has enraged Egypt's sidelined non-Islamist opposition, who see it as further evidence that Morsi is unconcerned about the country's increasing polarisation.

Tourism is the lifeblood of Luxor, home to some of Egypt's most dramatic ancient temples and pharaonic tombs, including that of

 

Islamists Warn Christians From Demonstrating to Topple Egyptian President

(AINA) -- The youth-led Tamarod (rebel) Initiative has collected more than their targeted 15,000,000 signatures calling for a no-confidence vote against President Mohammed Morsi and forcing early elections in Egypt, causing the ruling Muslim Brotherhood party and its Islamists partners to feel seriously threatened, say political observers. Millions are expected to join a nationwide anti-Morsi and anti-Brotherhood demonstration set for June 30, to coincide with Morsi's first anniversary as president. Protesters in Cairo will go to the Presidential "Unity" Palace in the Heliopolis suburb of Cairo with their demands. "We will stay there until Morsi leaves," said Mahmoud Badr, spokesman for Tamarod. In every other Egyptian province local protests will be held. Expatriate Egyptians will also hold demonstrations in their respective countries.

 

Radical Islamic preacher labels anti-Morsy protesters 'disbelievers'

Wagdy Ghoneim, radical Islamic preacher

The radical Islamic preacher Wagdy Ghoneim

Radical Islamic preacher Wagdy Ghoneim said participation in the protests scheduled for 30 June is forbidden as President Mohamed Morsy is a legitimately elected president.

Those who will join the protests on 30 June are “disbelievers” because the people should obey those in charge of their affairs, he added.

In a video posted on Youtube, Ghoneim said, "[the protests] are a front of destruction, made up of crusaders, criminals, thugs, and traitors who want to oust his excellency the president." "You started it all and the initiator is the aggressor," he remarked.

 

Egyptian author appeals for protection following Islamist threats

After making contentious remarks about 'Islamic fascism,' Germany-based author Hamed Abdel-Samad appeals to Egyptian authorities for protection against campaign launched by hard-line Islamists calling for his death

Egyptian author

A Germany-based Egyptian author has requested protection from Egyptian authorities after ultra-conservative Islamists in Egypt declared him an "apostate" and launched an online campaign calling for his death.

Hamed Abdel-Samad, a researcher in political and Islamic studies, was invited by Egypt's so-called 'Secularist Movement' to speak at a 4 June forum devoted to "Islamic fascism." Abdel-Samad's speech, however, appears to have put him in hot water – and may even have put his life in jeopardy.

At the forum, Abdel-Samad asserted that "Islamic fascism" could trace its origins to "the return of the Muslims to Mecca [some 1500 years ago], when they... destroyed all the pagan idols."

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Ban Ki-moon criticizes Egyptian convictions

 

  UNITED NATIONS, June 7 (UPI) -- The conviction of human rights workers in Egypt is a sign the country is becoming less respectful of human rights, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says.

Ban commented Thursday on Egypt's decision to draft a law on non-governmental organizations. He said any new law "should conform to international human rights standards, and respond to the aspirations of the people."

"The secretary-general reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations to work alongside the government and the people of Egypt in support of the country's democratic transition, development and prosperity," a U.N. statement said.

The Cairo criminal court found 43 employees of non-governmental organizations guilty Tuesday under a law dating from the regime of President Hosni Mubarak. Egyptians were given suspended sentences but foreigners who had remained in the country could be imprisoned.

 

European court asks France not to deport Egyptian Copt

(AFP) -- The European Court of Human Rights Thursday asked France not to deport a Coptic Christian who fled Egypt, saying he still risked religious persecution back home.

Born in 1973 and from Upper Egypt's Assiut governorate -- which has a huge Coptic population -- the man, identified as M.E., alleged that he faced several attacks and threats along with his family. He said that he was assaulted but police did not register his complaints and he also received death threats.

 

Egypt sentences 43, including Americans, in NGO case

Friends of Egyptian suspects react as they listen to the judge's verdict at a court room during a case against foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Cairo June 4, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Friends of Egyptian suspects react as they listen to the judge's verdict at a court room during a case against foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Cairo June 4, 2013.

By Shaimaa Fayed and Maggie Fick

CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian court gave jail terms to 43 Americans, Europeans, Egyptians and other Arabs on Tuesday in a case against democracy promotion groups that plunged U.S.-Egyptian ties into their worst crisis in decades.

Judge Makram Awad gave five-year sentences in absentia to at least 15 U.S. citizens who left Egypt last year. He sentenced an American who stayed behind to two years in prison and gave the same sentence to a German woman.

 

Egyptian court ruling on legislature adds new twist to nation’s long list of problems

(Amr Nabil, File/ Associated Press ) - FILE - In this file photo taken on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, Egyptian Shura Council members meet to discuss the government’s 2013-2014 budget at the Shura Council, Parliament’s upper house. When voters went to the polls more than a year ago to vote for Egypt’s upper house of parliament, most presumed the legislature would be the powerless talk shop that it had been for 30 years. Few candidates were known outside their families, parties or neighborhoods. Only seven percent of the electorate bothered to cast a ballot. Thanks to the twists and turns of the rocky transition that followed Egypt’s 2011 uprising, the Shura Council finds itself the sole law-making body in the land. This accidental legislature is now back in the spotlight ahead of an expected court ruling on its disputed legal status _ a move that could see it dissolved.

(Amr Nabil, File/ Associated Press ) - FILE - In this file photo taken on Tuesday, April 23, 2013, Egyptian Shura Council members meet to discuss the government’s 2013-2014 budget at the Shura Council, Parliament’s upper house. When voters went to the polls more than a year ago to vote for Egypt’s upper house of parliament, most presumed the legislature would be the powerless talk shop that it had been for 30 years. Few candidates were known outside their families, parties or neighborhoods. Only seven percent of the electorate bothered to cast a ballot. Thanks to the twists and turns of the rocky transition that followed Egypt’s 2011 uprising, the Shura Council finds itself the sole law-making body in the land. This accidental legislature is now back in the spotlight ahead of an expected court ruling on its disputed legal status _ a move that could see it dissolved.AP

CAIRO — Egypt’s highest court ruled on Sunday that the nation’s interim parliament was illegally elected, though it stopped short of dissolving the chamber immediately, in a decision likely to fuel the tensions between the ruling Islamists and the judiciary.

The Supreme Constitutional Court also ruled that a 100-member panel that drafted the new constitution was illegally elected.

Egypt: New Draft Law an Assault on Independent Groups

Scrap or Amend Repressive Provisions

This draft law dashes all hopes that independent groups could operate freely and independently after the revolution. Egypt’s proposed NGO law would allow the government free rein to cut off funding and halt activities of groups that it finds inconvenient. It is hostile to the very notion of independent civil society.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director

(New York) – The draft Associations Law that Egypt’s president put before the country’s legislature on May 29, 2013, would allow the government and its security agencies to arbitrarily restrict the funding and operation of independent groups if it is adopted in its present form.

 

Muslim Persecution Against Christians Is 'Spreading, Intensifying,' ' Says Egyptian Copt


Egyptian Coptic Christians 

Coptic Orthodox Christians chant anti-Morsi and anti-government slogans as they attend the funeral of men who died during clashes between Muslims and Christians in Khusus, El-Kalubia governorate, in Cairo, April 7. (Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)

Jihadist persecution of Christians around the world is one of the biggest under-reported stories in media circles, says a Christian activist and expert on the issue.

Raymond Ibrahim, a Copt from Egypt—now living in the U.S.—says that Western weakness in confronting radical Islam has left the jihadists feeling emboldened. In his new book, Crucified Again, Ibrahim presents firsthand knowledge and investigation of widespread persecution.

“Although Muslim persecution of Christians is one of the most dramatic stories of our times, it is also one of the least known in the West,” he writes.

 

Woolwich attack: Islamists' campaign to recruit street gangs

Supporters of Omar Bakri Mohammed, the exiled Islamist cleric who claimed to have converted Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo, sought to recruit members of violent street gangs and encourage them to ‘die for Islam’.

Woolwich attack: Islamists' campaign to recruit violent street gangs

Omar Bakri Mohammed claimes to have converted Woolwich murder suspect Michael Adebolajo Photo: Ruth Sherlock for the Telegraph

Convert2Islam, a radical group run by Abu Rumaysah, a follower of Bakri and a spokesman for an offshoot of Al-Muhajiroun, ran a series of ‘roadshows’ in the poorest areas of south and east London in order to recruit teenagers from broken homes involved in gun and knife crime

It is claimed Anjem Choudary, who led Al Muhajiroun after Bakri was barred from Britain by the Home Office, also attended the recruitment drives.

Rumaysah today told the Daily Telegraph he knew Adebolajo, whom he called ‘Mujahid’, well but could ‘not remember’ if he attended the events. He added: “I’m not going to publicly say he was a bad man or an evil man.”

The Woolwich 'beheading' is straight out of al-Qaeda's terror manual

The horrific killing in Woolwich, where a man believed to be a soldier based at the nearby Woolwich barracks was beheaded by two machete-wielding assailants, has all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda attack.

At the time of writing we are still awaiting confirmation from security officials about the precise nature of the incident. But having just watched some ITV footage, which shows a man with bloodied hands who is carrying a machete saying directly into the camera "We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you", it seems pretty clear to me what has happened.

Washington-Post-Logo 

Egypt’s 2011 jailbreaks still a mystery, carry potential embarrassment for Islamist leader

CAIRO — It was one of the most perplexing events of Egypt’s revolution: orchestrated attacks on prisons around the country that broke out more than 20,000 inmates while police were tied down with the massive popular protests that swept autocrat Hosni Mubarak from power.

The prison breaks added to the chaos during the 18-day uprising in 2011, and the flood of criminals onto the streets fueled a crime wave that continues to this day. Also among those who escaped were around 40 members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, as well as more than 30 leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood — including the man who is now president, Mohammed Morsi.

There has never been a definitive accounting of who was behind the prison attacks.

 

Tsarnaev friend killed in Orlando by FBI

Ibragim Todashev

Ibragim Todashev

Chuck Goudie 

The circumstances are unclear but friends and neighbors have identified the dead man as Ibragim Todashev, 26. Authorities keyed on Todashev because he was in contact with one of the Boston bombers prior to last month's marathon attack, law enforcement sources said.

 

Todashev was from Chechnya and apparently told federal authorities that he had met Tamerlan Tsarnaev in Boston, but that he knew nothing about the planned attack.

 

Woolwich attack: meat cleaver, knife and jihadist claims filmed on mobile

A man suspected of staging a terrorist attack that left a British soldier dead near a military barracks in London, was caught on camera clutching a meat cleaver and knife in hands apparently covered in the blood of his victim, as he justified the violence as part of a jihadist-inspired fight against the west.

The incident happened in broad daylight, 400 metres from the perimeter of the Royal Artillery barracks, in Woolwich, south-east London, sparking a terrorist alert that saw the government crisis committee Cobra convene in emergency session. Hours later, David Cameron described what had occurred as "an absolutely sickening attack".

 

US concerned by Egypt's civil rights record

WASHINGTON — The United States expressed concern Monday at the repression of civil rights in Egypt, particularly the free speech rights of political activists and journalists.

"We are deeply concerned by the growing trend of efforts to punish and deter political expression in Egypt," said Patrick Ventrell, a State Department spokesman, just ahead of the first anniversary of the election of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

"Numerous individuals, including journalists, bloggers and activists have been detained, and some are being charged and put on trial for allegedly defaming government figures," Ventrell said.

 

Activist youth leader detained by Egyptian authorities at airport upon arrival from US

CAIRO — Egypt’s prosecutor general on Friday ordered a prominent youth leader detained for four days pending an investigation into accusations he incited anti-government violence, a security official said, in the latest case of a pro-democracy activist being held over similar charges.

The detention sparked a wave of anger among activists and the April 6 youth movement, which was at the forefront of the country’s 2011 uprising, called for nationwide protests, including one in front of President Mohammed Morsi’s house.

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Member of Scottish Parliament concerned over misuse of Pakistan blasphemy laws

global minorities alliance

 

GLASGOW, UK (Rebecca Gebauer) John Mason, a member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) expressed his concern over the Pakistan’s blasphemy laws during a meeting with delegates of Global Minorities Alliance at the Alliance’s office on Monday April, 29.

Sheraz Khan, Chief Executive of Global Minorities Alliance gave an in-depth briefing to Mr Mason, MSP for Glasgow Shettleston on the widespread misuse of Pakistan’s disputed blasphemy laws. Mr Khan told the MSP that the laws were being widely misused in Pakistan to settle personal scores and vendettas.

He said the misuse of the blasphemy laws had dealt a massive blow to communal and interfaith relations in Pakistan. He requested Mr Mason to voice the Alliance’s concern over the misuse of Pakistan blasphemy laws in the Scottish Parliament. Mr Mason said that he would write to the Pakistan Consulate in the first instance. A members’ motion or question to a minster would be possible other options.

Mr Khan also drew the MSP’s attention towards infiltration of Islam in the text books of linguistics and social sciences. “A grade 2 book of Urdu language asks questions like: Who are we? and the answer given is : We are Muslims,” Mr Khan told the meeting.

Reuters 

France struggles with Islamist extremism in jails

Alexandria Sage

Soldiers stand by tourists as they patrol near the Eiffel Tower in Paris 

Soldiers stand by tourists as they patrol near the Eiffel Tower in Paris

 

VILLEPINTE, France: In France, the path to Islamist militancy often begins with a minor offense that throws a young man into an overcrowded, violent jail and produces a hardened convert ready for jihad.

With the country on heightened security alert since January when French troops began fighting Al-Qaeda-linked Islamists in Mali, authorities are increasingly worried about homegrown militants emerging from France’s own jails.


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