Tuesday’s papers: People’s Assembly approves social solidarity bill

State-owned newspapers Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar lead with news that the People’s Assembly has approved a new social solidarity bill, granting roughly one-million families retirement bonuses and new social protections. The new law will go into effect next July, and will raise retirement bonuses for approximately 3.7 million citizens, according to Al-Ahram.

Moreover, members of the People’s Assembly discussed yesterday problems with state-funded medical treatment, after some parliamentarians were suspected of misusing public funds for their personal benefit. Assembly members demanded disclosure of the suspects’ names but Fathi Souror, the speaker of parliament, refused to reveal them until he receives an internal oversight report, according to Al-Akhbar.

Independant newspaper Al-Shorouq leads with Church critic George Bebawy’s attack on the Coptic Orthodox Church, accusing priests of having “a mentality that is driving the church to suicide.” Bebawy’s comments come in response the Church’s rejection of a court ruling last month obligating it to allow second marriages for Coptic divorcees. According to Bebawy, the Church is out of line with Biblical teachings. “The idea that religious sources cannot be independently interpreted, is an idea the Church has taken from Islamic law,” said the theology professor. Bebawy believes the Church’s position on divorce–which stems from what he considers a misinterpretation of Christian texts–comprmises the basic freedoms of Egypt’s Coptic community.

In other news, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif has declared that Egypt has successfully overcome the financial crisis under the guidance of President Hosni Mubarak. He also announced the promotion of 300,000 public employees working in government administration, according to Al-Shorouq Newspaper.

Egypt’s newspapers:
: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
: Daily, state-run
Rose el-Youssef:
Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party’s Policies Secretariat
Daily, privately owned
Daily, privately owned
Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party
Weekly, privately owned
Sawt el-Umma:
Weekly, privately owned

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