TERRORISM

The Latest: Egypt's president ratifies law restricting NGOs

The Latest on developments in Egypt (all times local):

7:15 p.m.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has ratified a law which heavily restricts the registration and work of non-governmental organizations.

The law, which el-Sissi signed on Monday, gives security agencies extensive power over the financing and activities of NGOs.

International rights groups described the law as draconian and a "death warrant" to rights groups, saying it would effectively lead to the shutdown of many groups. The law comes as part of el-Sissi's wider crackdown on dissent since he rose to power in 2013, when he led a military overthrow of his Islamist predecessor Mohamed Morsi.

Supporters believe that the law is necessary to regulate the groups accused of feeding chaos starting from the 2011 uprising that led to the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

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7 p.m.

Russian and Egyptian foreign and defense ministers have met in Cairo to discuss a range of issues including terrorism, Libya and the resumption of flights suspended since 2015 terrorist attack.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, his Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi, and Foreign Minister Sameh Shurki held meetings on Monday with counterparts Sergey Shoygu and Sergey Lavrov.

"The talks tackled ways to combat this phenomenon," Shurki said. He added that Russia and Egypt will continue to speak against countries harboring terrorists and providing militants a "safe haven." He said that militant groups are using Libya as a "staging ground to threaten Egyptian national security."

Egypt has been hit with a wave of terrorist attacks since 2013, following the military ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, with the Islamic State group focusing on Coptic Christians, Egypt's vulnerable minority.

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3:35 p.m.

Egypt has announced a $2.49 billion package of income tax discounts, bonuses for state employees, increased pension payments and cash subsidies for lower and middle income Egyptians to cope with soaring inflation.

The Cabinet said in a statement Monday the package will go into effect July 1.

The measures are partially designed to defuse discontent over steep prices hikes for food, medicine and services resulting from reforms introduced in November, including floatation of the Egyptian pound, the introduction of value added tax and partial lifting of subsidies on fuel.

The reforms, part of a deal to secure a $12-billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, sent inflation soaring to more than 30 percent.

More of the subsidies on fuel and electricity are scheduled to be lifted this summer.