Monday’s papers: Do the shuffle!

It’s time for the monthly cabinet shuffle. State-run Al-Akhbar says Prime Minister Essam Sharaf chose 15 new ministers but the ministers of justice, interior, social solidarity, international cooperation and media are set to keep their positions. 

Two people now occupy the deputy prime minister position previously held by Yehia al-Gamal. Al-Ahram, the government’s flagship paper, agreed that the changes included 15 ministers, many of whom were apparently shocked to hear news of their departure. Antiquities Minister Zahi Hawass reportedly refused to take the ministry’s car, taking his belongings back home in a taxi instead.

The Al-Wafd party paper mentions only 12 possible ministerial changes. 

Al-Ahram claims that “Tahrir” objects to the shuffle, but without any real analysis. They say that the Union of Revolutionary Youth distributed a blacklist of four ministers who must leave their positions, as well as Sharaf himself – but they must have failed to review the article before going to press, since all four ministers have in fact been replaced. 

One of the two new deputy prime minsters is Hazem al-Beblawy, who is also the new finance minister. He says that there will be no messing with the budget, Al-Shorouk says. Ali al-Selmy, the other deputy, is more controversial. Although he is a Wafd party leader, some criticize him for also having been a Mubarak-era minister.

The new ministers are set to take oath today in front of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi. Many of the removed cabinet members, such as Sayed Meshaal, minister for military production for 12 years, submitted resignations “to avoid embarrassing Sharaf.”

Tahrir Square demonstrators are split as to whether or not they should continue their sit-in in light of the new cabinet shuffle, according to independent Al-Shorouk. Contrary to Al-Ahram’s curious and unexplained headline that Tahrir immediately objected to the changes, Al-Shorouk reports that protesters found the shuffle generally satisfactory, though many groups would like to see Sharaf removed from the helm.

The numbers of those participating in the sit-in apparently went down yesterday due to the scorching sun, says Al-Akhbar. Fifty protesters are reportedly still on hunger strike and receiving daily medical treatment.

Popular committees caught a woman in Tahrir allegedly kidnapping children from the square and taking them to an orphanage in Nasr City, which would use them for human trafficking, child slavery, organ trafficking, or other such deeds. Al-Shorouk and Al-Akhbar both report on the woman, who was apparently caught trying to escape the square with a missing child.

In the incredible case of the disappearing Mubaraks, Al-Akhbar claims to have found irrefutable evidence that Hosni Mubarak, the former president, is actually in the Sharm el-Sheikh hospital. The ridiculous farce that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is playing by not allowing anyone to go take a picture or see his medical records means that we have to listen to sources of dubious credbility. Independent Al-Dostour claims to have “broken the security barrier” of the Sharm hospital and taken a walk around. The dramatic mission, however, did not include an interview with the elusive Mubarak.

Mubarak apparently fell into a coma two weeks before his trial, according to his lawyer, Farid al-Deeb. Al-Wafd says that he had some sort of heart attack – which has been happening a lot lately – and his deteriorating state cause him to go directly into a coma. But according to Al-Akhbar, the head of the hospital, Mohamed Fattehallah, said these are rumors and Mubarak is not dying.

The head of South Sinai Security apparently insisted that the renovations at the South Sinai courthouse have nothing to do with a potential Mubarak trial in August.

High school students will now be able to figure out which state university programs they can apply to as the authorities have published the minimum grades of acceptance to each university. The minimum acceptance grades have all risen due to the higher high school exam grades this year, according to Al-Ahram. 

Finally, in preparation for Ramadan, the Social Solidarity Ministry is apparently stockpiling rice, wheat and meat to sell on subsidized shelves, according to Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar.

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-Wafd: Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party

Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

Youm7: Weekly, privately owned

Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned

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