Today’s News: Govt asserts economic recovery, synagogue attacker caught

Assurances of recovery from the effects of the international financial crisis were the main lead for state-owned papers today. Speaking at Egypt’s Shura Council yesterday, Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif said that economic indicators demonstrate the beginning of the Egyptian economy’s recovery, with figures showing the rate of growth steady at 5 percent, expected to increase to 5.5 percent next year.

Inflation, which had reached 20 percent during the peak of the crisis, was reported as now being at 13 percent, while Al-Akhbar wrote that unemployment remains steady at 9 percent. Further figures quoted included an increase in tourists from 8 million last year to 12.3 million this year. One thousand factories and 230,000 residential units were also reported as having been built.

Al-Gomhurriya also quoted Nazif as saying there is no intention to reduce subsidies, and that investments in Egypt have increased to LE1.2 trillion.

Also making prominent headlines was the arrest of a man suspected of throwing an explosive device in front of a synagogue in Cairo’s downtown last Sunday. According to Al-Ahram, Gamal Hussein, 49, works as a tailor, and was apprehended in Garden City, where he claimed he was going to the US embassy to seek asylum.

Al-Akhbar reported that Hussein confessed to the crime, citing his anger about Israeli actions in occupied Palestinian lands. According to the paper’s reporting of a statement by the Interior Ministry, Hussein is a drug addict who was previously sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

Al-Shorouq on the other hand dedicated its lead story to its own report titled, “Egypt and France on the eve of nuclear cooperation.” The newspaper reported that the two countries are looking to work together on the issue of nuclear power, with France potentially to provide technical training and transfer experience on the use of nuclear energy technologies and safety.

According to the report, a French delegation of five from the company Ivara, the world’s largest nuclear power company, spent a week in Egypt investigating and discussing possible means of cooperation. It was also reported that Egypt hopes to build a training center related to nuclear energy, where generations of engineers and experts can be instructed. It is expected that a group of Egyptians will be trained by French experts, leaving the former to train others in Egypt.

Al-Shorouq also noted the lack of an official decision on the location of Egypt’s first nuclear power plant, though reports earlier this month in Al-Ahram suggested that el-Dabaa has been designated for the site.

Finally, Al-Wafd advertised a conference it will host where a coalition of parties will meet to discuss reforms to the constitution. The four parties involved–the Wafd Party, the Tagammu Party, the Ghad Party, and the Nasserist party–will attend, along with a group of constitutional law experts and other political figures. Central to the conference, to be held between 13-15 March, are the issues of reestablishing a balance of power within government, and guaranteeing fair general elections.

Egypt’s newspapers:

Al-Ahram: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
Al-Akhbar: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
Al-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run
Rose el-Youssef: Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party’s Policies Secretariat
Al-Dostour: Daily, privately owned
Al-Shorouq: 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
Sawt el-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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