Sherif Ismail sworn-in as Prime Minister of Egypt

Sherif Ismail has sworn-in as the new Prime Minister of Egypt. He was administered oath to the office by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

He will succeed Ibrahim Mehleb who had resigned from office following a corruption scandal involving his cabinet minister.

Along with Sherif Ismail, 33 ministers of his Cabinet also sworn-in which includes 16 new faces and three women.

Prior to this appointment, Sherif Ismail had served as the Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources from July 2013 to September 2015.

By profession, Ismail is an engineer and had earlier worked as Chairman of Egypt government owned oil holding company, Ganoub El Wadi Petroleum Holding Company (GANOPE).

Powers and Importance of Egyptian Prime Minister: He heads the cabinet, which in turn plays a leading role in shaping the agenda of the houses of Parliament. The cabinet led by PM also propose laws to Parliament as well as amendments during parliamentary meetings.


Egypt approves stringent new counter-terrorism laws

Egypt has approved stringent new counter-terrorism laws to fight the menace of growing jihadist insurgency in the country.

These laws were approved by Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

The new laws propose

  • Establishment of special courts to fast-track trials for suspected militants.
  • Provides additional legal protection for Police and Military Officers involved in counter-terrorism operations.
  • Impose stringent punishment of death penalty on terrorists found guilty of setting up or leading a terrorist group.
  • Anyone found guilty of joining a terrorist group can face up to 10 years in prison. While those involved in financing terrorist groups get a penalty of life in prison for 25 years.
  • Guilty person in case of creating websites deemed to spread terrorist messages or inciting violence will face sentence of five to seven years.
  • If Journalists fail for contradicting official accounts of militant attacks they can be fined between 2 and 5 lakh Egyptian pounds.


Egypt launches Suez Canal expansion

Egypt has launched a major expansion of the Suez Canal. It was inaugurated by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a lavish ceremony held at port city of Ismailiya ( located on west bank of canal).

Suez Canal expansion project

  • The project was started in August 2014 for the expansion of the Ballah Bypass from 61 metres to 312 metres. The project was dubbed as the New Suez Canal.
  • Expansion aims to increase the traffic handled by the canal in order to boost Egypt’s economy and global standing by turning the Suez Canal zone into a global logistics and trade center.
  • Completed in one year span with an estimated cost of US 8 billion dollars. It comprises 72km of new channel and bypasses which has deepened the main waterway.
  • It allows ships especially larger vessels to transit the canal in both directions simultaneously, thus increasing canal traffic and revenue.
  • The expansion is expected to double the ship capacity of the Suez Canal from 49 to 97 ships a day by 2023.

About Suez Canal

  • Suez Canal is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt. It links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea through Isthmus of Suez. It was first opened in 1869 after a decade of construction.
  • Strategically and economically it is one of the most important waterways in the world providing the shortest sea link between Asia and Europe.
  • Its opening had provided alternative route to sea voyage between Europe and India. It had reduced the sea voyage distance between these two regions by about 7,000 kilometres without navigating around Africa.
  • The canal was nationalised by Egypt in 1956 after brief war against the UK, France and Israel. The canal has been a significant income source for Egypt since then.