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On its 9th day, the sit-in in Cairo's Tahrir Square and other cities in Egypt compete for space with coverage of secondary school exams results in Sunday’s press.
State mouthpiece Al-Ahram leads with the latest happenings in what it describes as the “Tahrir crisis,” concentrating on ten protestors' decision to end a hunger strike after meeting members of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
SCAF members were reportedly impressed by the hunger strikers’ decision to refuse foreign interference in the form of a telephone call from a White House representative offering to place pressure on the SCAF.
Speculation about the shakeup in Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s government occupies most of the papers, with Ibrahim Eissa’s Al-Tahrir reporting that the appointments are making Sharaf “run around in circles.”
Al-Ahram says that according to a cabinet source, it is likely that the ministers of culture, education, justice, tourism and the interior will not change and that it is “difficult for Minister of International Planning and Cooperation Fayza Abouelnaga and Finance Minister Samir Radwan to remain in their posts because of their association with the dissolved National Democratic Party’s policies cabinet.”
Former head of the Judges Club Zakaria Abdel Aziz, who has been touted for a ministerial position, says that he will only accept a portfolio if the government is free of former regime figures and individuals who opposed the revolution.
The Egyptian Democratic Party’s Hazem al-Beblawy and deputy head of the Wafd Party Ali al-Selmy have been chosen as deputies to Sharaf, with state daily Al-Akhbar reporting that Beblawy will be responsible for economic policies and Selmy for political development and democratic change.
Writing in Al-Tahrir, Ibrahim Mansour criticises Selmy’s nomination, saying that “neither he nor his party nor his boss [Sayyed al-Badawy] have anything to do with the revolution.”
Mansour writes that the Wafd Party “was against the revolution from day one” and that Badawy enjoyed a close relationship with Hosni Mubarak stalwart and former speaker of parliament Safwat al-Sherif.
Mansour is critical of Selmy’s record as deputy president of Cairo University, saying that when teaching staff complained to him about matters concerning the university he would “casually reply with ‘state security.’”
“Is it written that Selmy has to be deputy, even in a revolutionary government? Shame on you Essam Sharaf!” Mansour says at the end of his column.
Meanwhile, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi treated Mubarak “in a disrespectful manner” while the latter was deputy president to Anwar Al-Sadat, but supported Mubarak “without limits” in the last ten years of the former president’s tenure, Al-Tahrir quotes a former Libyan representative at the United Nations as saying.
Defector Abdel Rahman Shaqlam reveals that former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman “was Libya’s man in Egypt” and alleges that he oversaw the abduction and disappearance of Libyan dissident Mansour al-Kikhia in 1993.
Independent Al-Dostour reports top Muslim Brotherhood member Essam al-Erian as saying that the News International crisis in the UK has exposed the “Zionist media imperialist” Robert Murdoch and that “the suspect funds that fund satellite channels” will be revealed after parliamentary elections.
Al-Masry Al-Youm publishes a Wikileak revealing that Egypt’s first commercial scale nuclear reactor was slated to come on line in 2020, with three more in operation by 2025.
Al-Dostour also has a two-page exclusive of prosecution witness testimonies in the case of 28 January protester killings, with a Central Security Forces (CSF) colonel quoted as saying, “we received orders from the head of CSF to fire at protestors directly”.
A state security investigations informer meanwhile testified that snipers fired live ammunition randomly at protestors in Tahrir Square.
In an apparent attempt to quell public anger at the fact that the trial of Mubarak has not yet begun, Al-Akhbar has a front page story accompanied by a picture of three painters, in which it says that the painting and decorating currently being undertaken in the Sharm el-Sheikh court complex is an “indicator” that the ex-president’s trial will begin in August as scheduled.
Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run
Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run
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
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned