Monday papers: Egypt’s stock market loss of LE12bn in 24 hours

The unfolding Greek financial crisis hit Egypt’s stock market yesterday, with the EGX index dropping by five percent, the largest single-day drop in two years, reports Rose el-Youssef on its front page. The index lost a total of 360 points to close out the day at 6756, a total loss of LE12 billion.

Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar lead with President Mubarak’s request to decrease traffic in Egyptian streets. According to the papers, possible plans include developing public transportation, extending the metro to Nasr City and Heliopolis, and building a bridge between the two sides of the ring roads. Al-Gomhurriya reports that LE22.5 billion has been budgeted for the traffic-reduction project.

Al-Shorouq reports on a meeting yesterday of the parliamentary committee on labor in response to ongoing labor strikes. Finance Minister Youssef Boutros-Ghali agreed to raise pensions from 15 to 22 percent of employees’ basic salaries, despite calls by some committee members to increase pensions to 25 percent of basic salaries.

With not all of their demands met, some workers are still on strike in front of the People’s Assembly headquarters, reports Al-Shorouq, while both Al-Shorouq and Al-Akhbar mention that workers from the Land Improvement Company left their sit-in yesterday after receiving permanent work contracts.

Nearly all newspapers report on Shura Council elections, which are scheduled for June. The ruling National Democratic Party will field about 50 percent of its current council members, according to reports. Their identities remain secret, but a woman and three Coptic Christians are reportedly on the list.

Al-Shorouq notes that the Muslim Brotherhood will field 14 candidates, while Al-Akhbar highlights that President Mubarak has signed off on the nomination of 88 candidates from his party. Safwat el-Sherif, the Shura Council speaker, has assured transparency and compliance with Egyptian law.

Meanwhile Al-Wafd leads with news that Transparency International, an international anti-corruption organization, has conducted independent assessments of the National Integrity System in Egypt and reported that the absence of political management is the behind corruption in this country. The weakness of governmental organizations and auditing systems have made bribery widespread, Al-Wafd cites the report as saying.

Egypt’s newspapers:

Al-Ahram: 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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