Egyptian Chronicles

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The VOIP and the Internet Revolution in Egypt : Not So good "Updated"

Yes, Pope Francis was in Cairo and yes, he held important meetings with Sheikh Al-Azhar and President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. He also made a historical agreement with Egypt's Coptic Orthodox church about baptism.

All the media around the globe is speaking about that important visit in critical time.
Thus I will speak today about something that happened in the past 48 hours in Cairo and I think it will be forgotten or be ignored amidst the coverage of the Pope's visit to Egypt.
Do you remember when I spoke about how FaceTime video and voice chat were not working properly from two weeks ago ??

Do you know that I have received comments on the blog as well replies on twitter confirming that there was a problem not only in FaceTime but also in other chat and msg apps !??
People began to speak last week about how Facebook messenger's audio and video services were not working. Same thing was reported with WhatsApp and Viber.
It was a nightmare for Egyptians working abroad and could not check or speak with their families back home. Yes, most of them are back to work fine again now but still, it was a nightmare.
All fingers were pointed to the mobile phone operators and internet service providers but those companies denied their involvement.
We know that those companies hate VOIP because it makes them lose money.
The companies pointed to the National Telecom Regulation authority "NTRA" but the NTRA also denied blocking the VOIP services on its official twitter account on 21 April.

It is not true what has spread by some that VOIP service was suspended in some apps. The authority stated that this news was untrue.
On April 24, NTRA spoke about the VOIP problem admitting that the VOIP was suspended actually while speaking about the upcoming e-crime draft bill.

The Undersecretary of the telecommunication committee in the House of Representatives : The draft cybercrime bill is from the most important bills that the committee will look in to carefully in upcoming stage. He also confirmed that the cybercrime bill has nothing to do with suspending the VOIP.
Tahrir newspaper quoted an unnamed source in NRTA saying that those services were suspended because of national security concerns.
Ahmed Abdel Naby
Ahmed Abdel Naby 
It is worth to mention that according to the state of emergency declared in Egypt from a couple of weeks ago, social media networks are being monitored according to the law.

Early Friday morning, Egypt's Homeland security arrested Ahmed Abdel Naby, the co-founder of The Internet Revolution Egypt Facebook page which has been calling for better and faster as well cheaper internet speed in the country since 2015.

Updated on 30 April: The general prosecution decided to release Abdel Naby for LE 1000 Bail for spreading false news and attempting to destabilize the society.

It turned out that Abdel Naby published leaks from alleged documents that show the government was involved in blocking and attempting to monitor the VOIP services in Egypt illegally since at least 2012.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sisi ratifies Judicial authorities law at night ; what will judges do !?

There are a thousand thing for real I want to write about now whether Sinai or the Pope's visit or the internal debt but this is urgent and can not wait.
Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has just ratified the controversial judicial authorities law officially issuing it late Thursday.
The law has been issued in a supplement of the Egyptian State's official journal late Thursday. It is currently in effect.
Sisi and judges
Sisi and the judges at the Supreme court in April 2016

This law gives the Egyptian president "head of executive power" the right to choose the heads of judicial authorities and main courts in the country out of three deputies proposed within each judicial authority.

The old judicial authority law stipulates that the heads of judicial bodies are selected based on seniority by their judicial councils and that the president simply ratifies the council's selection.
The Egyptian House of Representative passed the law already only on Wednesday in a 15-minutes-session without any deliberation or discussion at all.

It was approved by two-third of the parliament.

Only 35 MPs including some of pro-regime MPs as well MPs appointed by Sisi himself objected and did not vote. Some are totally against the law and others were against on the voting process itself.
The parliament passed the law which will technically what so ever left from Judiciary independence in Egypt despite the complete rejection of judicial authorities.

Already, the Egyptian State council rejected for legal and constitutional reasons the law twice when it was a draft and demanded the parliament to amend in accordance with the law and the constitution.
We are speaking about 10 constitutional articles violated in that law according to the State council.
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Friday, April 21, 2017

Aya Hijazi is back to the U.S and Trump got his moment

And Aya Hijazi returned to the United States, that is the main and sole news Egypt was speaking about on Friday.
Egyptian-American Hijazi arrived the United States on Friday along with her husband Mohamed Hassanein on a special plane accompanied by a top adviser to Donald Trump personally.
Their plan to stay in Egypt and to restart their project to help Cairo's street children seemed to be doomed.
Even after their full acquittal from all the shameful charges like child exploitation and human trafficking last week, it will not be an easy to start again an independent NGO like "Beladi" now with the new NGOs law and its strict regulations.
It is not like 2011 or even 2013 in Cairo.
Hijazi and Hassanein returned to D.C along with Dina Powell, Donald Trump's deputy national security advisor for strategy
The Egyptian-American whose star is shining recently among Trump's White House staff came to Egypt and met with El-Sisi last week according to the Washington Post's report about Aya's return to the U.S.
No journalist or reporter as far as I know in Egypt spoke or even knew that Dina Powell was in town except Washington Post. She was not alone in Cairo as U.S secretary of defense Jim Mattis was in town as well.
Aya arrived in Washington and hours later, she and her brother Bassil were received warmly in the White House.
Interestingly, the US president refused to answer any questions or let the media ask any question. It was clever to end at that point because the no.1 question would be: You lifted the human rights condition when it comes to the relations with Egypt but here you are sitting with one of those human rights cases !?
The 30-years old Egyptian-American sat on the same chair like Abdel Fattah El-Sisi from two weeks ago.
Aya Hijazi and Trump
Aya Hijazi shaking hands with Trump
on the same chair like El-Sisi "Reuters"

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cairo and Riyadh : What is really behind Asiri's statements !!

Usually, the military spokespersons are very specific and careful about what they say. After all , they represent their armies as well their governments or regimes.
On Sunday , a video clip went viral in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. It started in the Kingdom before reaching Egypt's social media realm causing anger and astonishment.

In an interview with Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya News General manager and prominent journalist Turki Aldakhil on Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen official spokesperson Major General Ahmed Asiri spoke mainly about the coalition and its start in 2015 and its progress.

In a 45-second video clip, Asiri speaks about President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and how he offered to send between 30,000-40,000 soldiers as ground forces in Yemen.
Asiri speaks about El-Sisi's alleged offer

Here is what was said translated into English:

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Happy Sham El-Nassim and Happy Easter

First, Belated Happy Easter to all those who celebrated it around the globe especially the Egyptian Christians who had real tough week.
Second, Happy Sham El-Nassim to all Egyptian around the globe.
Happy Spring Feast
Here is an old Kawkab issue's cover showing young Soad Hosni celebrating the spring feast in 1960.
Soad Hosni
Soad Hosni on the cover of El-Kawkab
"Misr El-Mahrousa zaman FB page"
A decade later, legendary Honsi became the queen of spring when she sang "El- Donia Rabe'i" in her blockbuster " Amira, my love"
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Sunday, April 16, 2017

And Aya Hijazi is free again in time of Spring

And this is one Happy Easter indeed :)
Cairo's criminal court acquitted Aya Hijazi, her husband and the rest of the defendants in the "Beladi foundation" trial earlier Sunday after three years in detention on charges of several charges including human trafficking and sexual exploitation of street children.
This is one of the best news I have heard recently.
Aya Hijazi
Aya Hijazi smiling to her husband Hassanein inside the court's cage
"Reuters" 
The 29-years old Aya Hijazi, her husband Mohamed Hassanein and the 6 other member team were accused of trafficking, kidnapping, and the sexual exploitation and torture of children.
The George Mason University graduate and her team were arrested in May 2014.
For the Past 33 month "Over 1000 day", Aya and her team were detained in custody whether pending investigation or pending trial illegally.

According to the Egyptian law, the maximum period of pretrial detention is 24 months.
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