Egypt Independent

Today’s papers: Sinai development, more football celebrations


led with news of Sinai development plans, focusing on proposals to improve Arish’s port and railway tracks, construct a ring road around the city, and possibly even build tunnels under the Suez Canal to link Sinai with the Delta.

Al-Shorouq‘s top story was the plan to clear Cairo of all ministries and government institutes, which is set to commence next year. The report discussed Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif’s meetings with the head of the National Institute for Infrastructure and related ministries concerning urban planning and the vision for Greater Cairo for 2050. Nazif stressed the importance of clearing Cairo of all government bodies, noting that if the Radio and Television Broadcasting building and the Mugamma were relocated to a proposed "government city" it would ease Cairo’s population density, redirecting at least one million commuters.

Al-Wafd‘s top story was the increase in US aid to Egypt to US$5 billion. The report discussed the increase of the US Agency for International Development’s budget for 2011 to US$52.8 billion. A spokesperson for the US State Department confirmed the allocation of US$1 billion to support economic cooperation with the Muslim world, with a special focus on women and youth programs. The spokesperson also confirmed the allocation of 28 percent of the State Department and USAID’s budget to fostering "security partnerships" in the face of what the State Department termed "sensitive challenges," noting that security support would be offered to US allies in the Middle East.  

Al-Ahram ran with the headline, "Mousavi: The Islamic Revolution in Iran failed to bring despotism and dictatorship to an end." The Iranian opposition leader’s statement, published on his website, came on the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the country’s Islamic revolution. Mousavi stated that the revolution did not abolish despotism or dictatorship, and that the roots of injustice and suppression are still present in Iran. He also stated that he would continue his struggle and fight to restore Iranians’ rights, stressing that it is possible today to clearly outline the bases from which dictatorship stems.

Coverage of the national football team’s victory at the African Cup of Nation in Angola continued. Al-Gomhurriya‘s lead story, occupying the entire front page, was the team’s meeting with president Hosni Mubarak. The paper featured a sizable photo of the president standing among the team, holding the cup, with the team’s coach and captain on either side of the president, and the minister of the interior in the second row. The report covered the congratulatory ceremony held the day before yesterdayat the presidential hall of the federal presidency headquarters, where Mubarak congratulated the team. The report called the coach, Hassan Shehata the "father of the victory."Al-Akhbar also ran a celebratory photo of the national football team on its front page, incidentally the same photo that is currently being used as a advertisement for mobile phone operator Etisalat. The ad itself appeared on the front page of Al-Dostour today. Al-Akhbar’s report noted that Hassan Saqr, head of the National Council for Sport, and Samir Zaher, head of the Football Association, will hold a press conference today at 1 PM to announce the details of a celebration to be held at Cairo stadium next Friday, the proceeds of which will be directed to victims of the floods in Sinai and Aswan.