Sunday’s papers: Picking up your trash

This Sunday is a relatively slow day for news in Egypt, although there were three consistently recurring talking points. The first one was an exercise in milking everything possible out of what is a mere update —that Prime Minister Hesham Qandil will name his cabinet Thursday. The second one concerned the results of efforts to clean Egypt’s streets over the weekend. The final one shows all the different ways the media can prove that despite the fact that Egypt has over 100 athletes participating in the Olympics, they will only care about the soccer team.

News that Qandil would announce his Cabinet Thursday drove many papers in a speculative frenzy on who he intends on appointing. According to the state’s flagship daily Al-Ahram, the new prime minister met with over 40 potential candidates for different ministerial posts. Qandil announced these plans in a press conference after meeting President Mohamed Morsy, saying he is interviewing as many candidates as possible to choose the most “qualified and balanced candidates.” His plans may also involve merging and dissolving certain ministries, Al-Ahram says.

Independent daily Al-Shorouk says that the delay in announcing the new Cabinet comes from a “wave of apologies” from candidates who reportedly turned down ministerial positions. Among those that reportedly turned down posts are some economists, including Hesham Ramez, a former deputy at the Central Bank, Zeyad Bahaa al-Din, the head of the Investments Authority, and HSBC Egypt CEO Abdel Salam Anwar.

Freedom and Justice, published by the Freedom and Justice Party, reported that Mohamed Yosry, so-called Salafist and head of the Sharia Board for Rights and Reform, says he accepted the position of Minister of Religious Endowments. The paper says that Qandil would like to reinstate the Ministry of Investment, which former Prime Minister Essam Sharaf had cancelled.

The Wafd Party’s paper Al-Wafd Daily says that its party will refuse to participate in the coming ministry. Current Minister of Tourism and Wafd Party member Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour previously announced that he would not refuse the same position if Qandil offered it.

State-run Al-Akhbar says that the National Front, a non-partisan, pro-reform group of influential politicians, activists and public personalities, reproached Morsy in a press statement yesterday. The group claims that the lack of transparency in choosing high government positions runs counter to the promises Morsy made.

In garbage news, Morsy’s campaign to begin clean-ups across the country, “A Clean Nation,” began this weekend and was relatively successful across the board, according to Al-Shorouk. “The sanitary authorities were unusually alert,” says the Al-Shorouk article. Municipalities, civil societies and concerned citizens all participated, but Muslim Brotherhood members and members of the Salafist Nour party were among the most energetic participants. Al-Shorouk also added that while some areas still have some very noticeable mounds of trash in the streets, some Brotherhood members blame local municipality employees for inactivity in the program.

Freedom and Justice says that there was a “broad range of participation” in the campaign, which was a “unifying cause.” Both Al-Shorouk and Freedom and Justice include detailed accounts of the clean-up from different neighborhoods.

Tomorrow Egypt’s U-23 soccer team takes on New Zealand in its second match of the Olympics. Al-Wafd Daily acknowledges the other competitions Egyptian athletes will be taking part in on its front page by mentioning judo, taekwondo, boxing, swimming gymnastics, and badminton. Al-Ahram only mentions the soccer team on its front page.

Al-Shorouk didn’t even try to hide that they don’t care about the other sports, as they barely mention anything other than soccer on any of their sports pages. Not only did they mention American swimmer Michael Phelps’ failure to win a medal in the 400m medley race, but they gave him a large front-page cover photo while not even mentioning the many Egyptians playing individual sports.

One thing Al-Shorouk did do well, on this slow news day, is compensate for the lack of breaking news to release a few interesting reports. One titled “Who protects the president?” reveals how Morsy is protected by a mixture of Presidential Guards and Brotherhood bodyguards.

Freedom and Justice an interesting piece today on the government’s decision on whether or not to distribute more direct cash subsidies, since, “70% of subsidies do not reach those who deserve it most.”

If you experienced ungodly delays on the subway yesterday, Al-Wafd Daily explains that the reason behind that was that some of the line’s cables were stolen overnight, cutting off its power source.

Al-Ahram has an ongoing series worth taking a look at called “Martyrs who paved the way.” They have been profiling some of the forefathers and intellectual leaders and sparkplugs of many of the revolutionary and reform movements in Egypt over the past few decades. Today, Al-Ahram profiles Ahmed al-Helaly, a lawyer, activist, politician and one of the pioneers of the labor movement. He was a communist in his youth and switched to socialism later on, founding the People’s Socialist Party in 1986 after quitting the Communist Party. He died in 2006.

Yesterday Al-Ahram also profiled the late Abdel-Wahab al-Meseery, one of the most influential activists and intellectuals of his time. He was a cofounder and intellectual bedrock of the group Kefaya, a movement that was a direct precursor to the 25 January revolution, which Meseery did not live long enough to see.

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-Gomhurriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-Youssef: Daily, state-run

Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned

Al-Shorouk: Daily, privately owned

Al-Watan: Daily, privately owned

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

Youm7: Daily, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

Freedom and Justice: Daily, published by the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party

Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Nasserist Party

Al-Nour: Official paper of the Salafi Nour Party

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