Egypt Independent

Wednesday’s papers: Exploding canisters, expired chicken



Privately owned newspaper Al-Shorouk leads this morning with, “Angry cylinders explode in the government’s face.” In a swift act of anger, Butane gas distributors expressed their disapproval of the price hikes implemented on Monday by breaking into the Ministry of Supply yesterday and chanting against the Muslim Brotherhood and the government.

According to the paper, Magdy Wassef, an official from the ministry responded yesterday stating that in case of further protests, the ministry will distribute the butane cylinders through Butagasco (The Egyptian Company for Transporting and Connecting Gas). Meanwhile, Hossam Arafat, president of the Petroleum Materials Division at the General Federation of Chambers of Commerce, informed the newspaper that work in the division had stopped completely and depot owners had been instructed not to sell any cylinders until the problem is resolved. Arafat also rejected the price increases, saying that only unprivileged Egyptian citizens pay for the government’s uncertain decisions.

The party mouthpiece Freedom and Justice newspaper writes, “Price hikes [meant] to control black market.” The Ministry of Supply’s official spokesperson, Nasser al-Farrash, stated that the decision aims at undermining the black market and coincides with the beginning of summer, which marks a decrease in butane consumption. Farrash also referred to the minister’s launch of a project aiming at supplying gas to 2 million houses, saying that the use of butane coupons has been a success. Minister of Supply Bassem Houda demanded to meet again with the protesters in front of the ministry to listen to their demands.       

The unfortunate food poisoning of Al-Azhar students also makes headlines this morning; Al-Shorouk writes, “Mass food poisoning shakes Al-Azhar.” Thousands of students protested yesterday and some demanded the resignation of Grand Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayyeb and university president Osama al-Abd, while others stopped traffic on Nasr Street. President Mohamed Morsy visited the ill students yesterday. Meanwhile, members of the Shura Council demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Hesham Qandil’s Cabinet. Tayyeb himself said during a meeting with a student delegation that he had no authority to fire Abd, while Abdel Ghany Hindy, head of the movement “Al-Azhar Independence,” accused the Muslim Brotherhood of manipulating the event in order to curb Tayyeb’s authority.

State-run Al-Akhbar writes that students found cockroaches in their food, and Ahmed Fathi, an Al-Azhar student, states that at around 8 pm, an hour after dinner, he and his friends felt faint and dizzy and called the ambulance. Fathi claims that around 600 students were poisoned and taken to the hospital.

Ibrahim al-Feqqy, another student, called the university’s management “corrupt” and said that both the grand sheikh and the university’s president should be removed. Doctors at Al-Hussein Hospital said that students were admitted to the hospital with intestinal catarrh and suffering from nausea and diarrhea, but other sources called the incident a “charade” and a source from the Demerdash Poison Center said that all samples were negative for food poisoning.

Freedom and Justice leaders with “president visits Azhar students and orders an investigation.” The paper reports that president contacted the grand sheikh after he left a meeting with the student union, during which they called for the dismissal of the university’s president and board.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s mouthpiece, The Freedom and Justice Newspaper leads with, “President visits Azhar students and orders investigation.” Sources inside al-Azhar University stated that the president called for the Grand Sheikh who allegedly left a meeting with members from the university student union as they insisted on the dismissal of the university president and its board.  A university employee also reportedly said that student hostel managers approved a shipment of expired chicken, which arrived at the dorms four days before the incident.

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