Egypt Independent

Thursday’s papers: Some are luckier than others



Al-Ahram newspaper declares that both Prosecutor General Talaat Abdallah and Prime minister Hesham Qandil will remain in office. Both have seen numerous crises during their time in office and have been plagued by calls for their resignation.

Meanwhile, Al-Akhbar newspaper reports that the food poisoning incident that hit Al-Azhar University dorms earlier this week, affecting over 500 students has led to the sacking of the head of Al-Azhar University Osama al-Abd, the manager of the dorms and the official in charge of food.

Al-Ahram quotes presidential spokesperson Omar Amer as saying that the prosecutor general will remain in his post despite a verdict last week annulling the president’s decision to appoint Abdallah.

Amer also asserted that Qandil will continue in his post adding that the Cabinet needs stability in order to be able to do its job.

Having himself accountability for a number of crises, such as train accident that took place in Assiut last November taking the lives of over 50 school children, Qandil asserts in Al-Ahram newspaper that strict measures will be taken against those responsible for the Azhar poisoning incident.

According to the paper, the Cabinet discussed the poisoning case in its meeting on Wednesday and decided to form an inter-ministerial committee to conduct routine check-ups on dorms restaurants.

In what sounds like typical state empty promises, the paper reports that the Cabinet asserts that those responsible will be prosecuted and that effective monitoring mechanisms will be put in place.

Al-Akhbar newspaper reports that Al-Azhar Supreme Council has decided to start the procedures to elect a new head for the university as an angry wave of protests among the students continues.

The paper reports that students who had stormed the main Azhar building on Tuesday and started a sit-in there have ended the sit-in after news of the sacking of the University’s president. The students are however continuing with their sit-in in their university demanding the prosecution of those responsible for the poisoning.

The paper reports that the prosecution has summoned Abd and the other sacked officials for investigation.

The Muslim Brotherhood mouthpiece, Freedom and Justice Party, reports “overwhelming joy” among the students following the sacking of officials. Rumors had been circulating that the incident could be used by the Brotherhood to sack Azhar Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb and appoint someone affiliated to the group.

Al-Shorouk newspaper reports on the ongoing disagreement between the US state department and the presidency regarding the legal persecution of television comedian Bassem Youssef. The diplomatic spat began when Secretary of State John Kerry said that the US was concerned about freedom of speech in Egypt after an arrest warrant was issued for Youssef with charges of insulting the president and religion.

The presidency responded accusing the US of interfering in Egypt’s affairs. Victoria Nuland, the State Department spokesperson, responded to the accusation telling Foreign Policy that the US stands by its position.

Some of the bickering unfolded on twitter in a less than diplomatic scene that was reminiscent of the Twitter fights between activists.

The US Embassy in Cairo bizarrely shared through its official Twitter account a video of satirist Jon Stewart coming to Youssef’s defense, which it later deleted. The presidency replied on Twitter to the Embassy’s account, Youssef’s account and Stewart’s the daily show account, saying “It’s inappropriate for a diplomatic mission to engage in such negative political propaganda.”

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

Al-Sabah: 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