Hot off the press: Nazif to re-marry, floods in the desert

All of the local newspapers ran front page headlines about Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif’s announcement that he will re-marry next month. Nazif is to wed Zeinab Zaky, a senior official in a governmental authority affiliated to the Ministry of Communications. The prime minister’s first wife died of cancer last May.

Egypt’s big three state-owned papers–Al-Ahram, Al-Akhbar, Al-Gomhurriya–published front page headlines on torrential rain and flash flooding in Aswan and the Red Sea governorates, which resulted in deaths along with the destruction of homes and property. Al-Ahram cites 11 dead, including one English tourist, while Al-Gomhurriya said six people died, and Al-Akhbar put the number at four.

Al-Gomhurriya wrote that a total of 253 homes were damaged or destroyed in the the flash floods. The newspaper mentioned that the Aswan High Dam was “not affected” but did verify that a number of its electric towers had collapsed. The independent weekly Youm7 quoted an official at the High Dam who admitted that electricity production had been disrupted, but added that the structure was safe and sound. The official said that the High Dam has a life-expectancy of 500 years.

Al-Akhbar and Al-Ahram featured headlines regarding the government’s plans to eliminate the tin huts and shacks of Cairo’s shantytowns within four years. Al-Akhbar  mentioned an LE800 million fund to develop these shantytowns, while Al-Ahram said these neighborhoods would be categorized according to their levels danger. Al-Ahram also mentioned that a specialized committee would be established between the Ministries of Housing, Local Development, and Social Solidarity, along with the Cairo Governorate, to relocate residents of these informal communities and provide them with housing over the course of the next three to four years.

The independent Al-Shorouq lead with a headline that read, “Conflicting governmental accounts regarding real estate taxes following Mubarak’s announcements.” Al-Shorouq’s article focused on contradicting figures released the ruling National Democratic Party in light of President Mubarak’s announcements on Sunday. The article highlighted inconsistencies in these announcements pertaining to tax brackets, categories, dates, and regions of implementation.

The independent Al-Dostour published on its front page an article about alleged governmental plans to lift bread subsidies by July. The article mentioned that the government would replace these subsidies with monthly payment or credit amounting to at least LE120 per person per month.

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