Monday papers: Van Gogh theft, ElBaradei signatures from abroad

The story of the theft of a van Gogh painting from an Egyptian museum is all over the Egyptian papers this morning.

According to Al-Wafd, opposition newspaper, the Mohamed Khalil museum has been closed until the painting is found. Investigations yesterday found that the alarm system, in addition to 36 surveillance cameras, was not working.

State-owned Al-Akhbar writes that the first undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture along with employees at the museum have been barred from travelling and suspended from their jobs. The painting, known as “Poppy Flowers,” was previously stolen in 1978 and later found in mysterious circumstances, arousing suspicion that the returned painting was a forgery.

As for the shortage of wheat witnessed in Egypt in recent months, Al-Shorouq independent newspaper bears the headline: “The road is paved to the United States of America to regain its position in the Egyptian wheat market.”

The US gained the opportunity to expand wheat exports to Egypt after Russia placed a ban on exporting its wheat. According to an anonymous official with USAID in Egypt, the US has a 35-million ton wheat surplus. The article also claims that the Russian decision will not affect Egypt.

Even if the problem of wheat is solved and the Egyptian citizen suffers no major adverse effects, the question still arises as to why Egypt doesn't produce wheat for itself, given its agricultural resources?

ElBaradei, former director general of the IAEA and founder of he National Coalition for Change (NAC) spoke yesterday about the signatures of Egyptians living abroad on the petition for change issued by his movement. “If you haven’t signed, don’t blame,” ElBaradei said, as reported by independent Al-Dostour.  

The article also mentions that the total number of signatures of Egyptians living abroad has reached 13,000.

On the topic of upcoming parliamentary elections, on the second day after opening the door for enrolment, Al-Ahram state-owned newspaper writes that several surprises took place yesterday, among which is that businessman Tarek Talaat Mustafa has given the National Democratic Party (NDP) LE1 million instead of LE16,000 in registration fees, along with several well-known businessmen who wish to join.

Meanwhile opposition Wafd Party head Saeed al-Badawy declared that his party will respond in a painful way if the government does not agree on guarantees for elections, according to Al-Wafd newspaper.

As opposed to the mainstream ideas of Muslim scholars, Al-Azhar university scholar Abdel Mouti Bayoumi is calling for a civil society, according to Al-Arabi newspaper. He explained this saying that civil society employs the brain in taking decisions, and religion can only play the role of traffic lights in the streets.

Bayoumi also declared that corruption in Egypt has reached a very high level. His thoughts however are not consistent with those of the banned Muslim Brotherhood, but will politicians believe that what Bayoumi espouses is a Muslim philosophy, and will Egyptian Muslims agree to that? These questions still need answering.

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-Gomhorriya: Daily, state-run

Rose al-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 al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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