Monday’s papers: Virus in the Mubarak brain

Privately owned Al-Tahrir newspaper leads with the headline “Virus in Mubarak’s brain.” A medical source inside the center where the former president currently resides told the paper that Mubarak caught the virus last week (which coincided with rumors that he had clinically died). It is making him absent-minded and if it spreads it will destroy brain cells, apparently.

State-owned Al-Ahram comments on this story somewhat, running a piece which quotes a medical source refuting the rumor that Mubarak’s heart had stopped at and was revived. The source told Al-Ahram that Mubarak was suffering from slight heart palpitations and increased blood pressure and attributed the cause to the deposed president learning of Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s fate.
A regional story that is making headlines here is the elections in Tunisia. The North African country was the first to see a wave of popular unrest against an archaic leader who had held onto power for decades. The "Arab Spring" has receded somewhat, and a feel-good story is needed at the moment. The Tunisian elections are that story.
That’s why privately owned Al-Shorouk sports the flowery headline “First Tunisian flower in the garden of the Arab Spring.” Tunisians are electing a council that will be tasked with setting a new constitution for the country. In a mindful reminder of things to come as elections continue in the region, it is expected that the Ennahda bloc, Tunisia’s version of the Muslim Brotherhood, will be the biggest winner.
Back to Egypt, the struggle within the judiciary regarding the new judicial authority law continues, with lawyers now in on the act. The longstanding dispute, initially only between judges, spread to include lawyers after some of the recommendations made by the committee drafting the new law seemed to have widened the scope beyond the role of the judiciary. Things were further complicated by a delay in the Lawyers Syndicate elections.
The private Al-Wafd reported that lawyers in Helwan continue to stage a sit-in in front of the courthouse there until the law is amended and a date for the elections set. Al-Shorouk states that lawyers across the country are on strike and are surrounding courthouses in opposition to the proposed law.
At the heart of the issue is Article 18 of the proposed law, which lawyers want repealed immediately. It deals with the sanctity of the court and allows the presiding judge to imprison and fine anyone seen to be obstructing the due process of the law, even if that person is a lawyer. There would be no immunity for anyone in the courtroom, and that has sparked lawyers' outrage.
Off to the state-owned press, and Al-Ahram leads with quotes from International Cooperation Minister Fayza Abouelnaga, who says that Egypt is in talks with the G8 countries, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and Gulf countries to secure a series of payments to the tune of US$35 billion to cover the budget deficit. This is part of a wider financial package that is to also benefit Tunisia, Jordan and Morocco.
As for Al-Ahram's sister paper Al-Akhbar, it contains a two-page spread on the parliamentary elections – as the deadline for candidate submissions was extended to today – and leads its coverage with the Wafd Party's plan to announce its candidates during a press conference today. The paper states that the party will field candidates in all of the constituencies allocated the list-based electoral system, and 90 percent of the single-winner seats.
It adds that during the press conference, party leader al-Sayed al-Badawy will respond to accusations that the party has been recruiting members of the former ruling National Democratic Party to boost its chances of success.   
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
Youm7: Daily, privately owned
Al-Tahrir: Daily, privately owned
Sawt al-Umma: Weekly, privately owned
Al-Arabi: Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party

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