Thursday’s papers: Truckers’ strike ends, Mubarak and Pope Shenouda meet, parliament appoints committee heads

The front page of Thursday's state-run daily Al-Akhbar reports a halt to the truckers’ strike. According to the paper, after the 13-day strike in front of parliament, the government succeeded in reaching satisfactory solutions to the strike-related problems. The report predicts within two weeks a comprehensive agreement will be achieved.

On 10 December, heavy-freight truck drivers began striking over a batch of government decrees, which include transforming all semi-trailers to full-trailers, increasing taxes, and banning truckers from highway driving on Thursdays and Fridays. Though the tax was abolished on 14 December, drivers continued to strike as the government refused to meet other demands.

Independent daily Al-Shorouk headlines on its front-page with “Disclosed meeting between Mubarak and Pope Shenouda in the presidential palace.”

The independent paper describes the tête-à-tête as non-traditional, citing phone calls and official meetings as the usual form of communication between President Hosni Mubarak and Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria. The meeting followed last Monday's demonstration in support of releasing Coptic protesters from jail.

Last month, violent clashes broke out between security and Coptic demonstrators over halted construction on an Omraneya, Giza church. The clashes left two dead and 67 wounded.  

According to the paper, a source close to Pope Shenouda III cites the profound grief that appeared on the pope’s face during the joint meeting of the People’s Assembly and Shura Council as the probable reason behind Mubarak’s invitation.

The paper also publishes a small piece on the reappearance of H1N1 virus throughout Egypt. According to Al-Shorouk, “Swine flu still crawls across governorates,” as a new outbreak killed four and infected 21.

The report says swine flu caused the deaths of a woman and child in Sinai. The virus claimed two more lives in Minya and Kafr al-Sheikh.

In Gharbiya, 8 people tested positive, four in Sinai, and another one in Fayoum, in addition to three confirmed cases in both Minya and Assiut. Total suspected H1N1 cases across the country reached 29.

Al-Dostour front page headline reads: “Israel prepares for new Gaza massacre.” The independent daily reports that Israel filed a complaint to the United Nations, condemning an increase in Palestinian rocket strikes. The attacks included three rockets and 18 mortars launched on 19 December.

According to the report, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations Meron Reuban reiterated in the complaint the Israeli regard for rocket strikes as terrorist attacks and places full responsibility on Hamas. Reuban asserted that Israel will continue to exercise its sovereign right of self defense. 

In retaliation, the Israeli air force targeted Hamas bases in a series of raids following the strikes. Israeli air strikes last Saturday led to the death of five Palestinians.

In December 2008, Israel launched a devastating attack on Gaza, claiming hundreds of Palestinian lives and wounding more than a thousand.

Returning to People’s Assembly issues, Al-Dostour reports the appointment of parliamentary committee heads announced yesterday.

The paper claims the ruling part National Democratic Party (NDP) witnesses “effervescence” after NDP Secretary Ahmed Ezz’s supporters in parliament gained control of parliamentary committees. Incompetent MPs incapable of holding office have won out over experienced parliamentarians, the paper contends.

According to the report, while Tarik Talaat Mostafa relinquished his post as chairman of the housing committee to Mahmoud Abu-Zeid, he was appointed as chairman of the Transport and Communication Committee, previously chaired by Hamdy al-Tahan.

The report also focuses on the “Overthrow of Agriculture Committee Chairman Abdel Rahim al-Ghoul and Defense and National Security Committee head Farouk Tahaa.”

A number of MPs, however, retained previous appointments. These MPs includ Constitutional and the Legislative Affairs Committee Chairman Amal Osman and Industry and Energy Committee Chairman Mohamed Abu al-Enin. Ahmed Ezz remains chairman of the Planning and Budget Committee.

Egypt's papers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt

Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size

Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party's Policies Secretariat

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Related Articles

Back to top button