Today’s papers: New garbage plans, 5 demos in 1 day

State-run papers led today with news of President Hosni Mubarak’s plans for developing greater Cairo’s solid waste management system. The plan, which was discussed during a ministerial meeting yesterday, involves the use of new garbage burial sites outside greater Cairo to move trash away from the city.

Five sites have been proposed. The confirmed sites are off of Fayoum Road, Koraymat Road, Katameya Road, Salam Road, and el-Asher Min Ramadan. The president is reportedly asking for quick implementation of the new system, which, according to Al-Gomhorriya, is expected to be executed in all of Egypt’s governorates within 18 months.

All three state-owned papers reported Environment Minister Maged George as saying that greater Cairo produces 25,000 tons of garbage daily. Al-Ahram and Al-Gomhorriya also quoted George as saying that 20 percent of this garbage is recycled, while Al-Akhbar quoted the minister saying 25 percent.

Al-Dostour led its front page quoting People’s Assembly Speaker Fathi Sorour talking about the prime suspect in the 6 January shooting in Naga Hammadi that left six Christians and one Muslim dead. “He is a son of sixty dogs and his defense can go to hell,” Sorour said, according to Al-Dostour. Sorour, who was requested by the suspects’ defense to appear as a witness in the trial, has denied knowing the alleged perpetrator.

Al-Dostour and fellow independent daily Al-Shorouq both featured stories about demonstrations yesterday on Qasr el-Aini Street, a main thoroughfare in downtown Cairo that is home to both houses of parliament and a number of other government buildings.

Al-Shorouq called yesterday "The day of anger on Qasr el-Aini Street” in a front page headline. The story reported that parliament witnessed four separate demonstrations in front of its gates yesterday, with a fifth by the Doctors Syndicate.

Loudest among these were dozens of members from the Pensioners Union and the Right to Health Committee who denounced plans for implementing the new health insurance law. The new law is viewed by many as a threat to the rights of the poor in getting free treatment, and is seen as a first step by the government in privatizing health care in Egypt.

Al-Shorouq also highlighted a sixth and separate demonstration that has now entered its tenth consecutive day by striking workers of the Tanta Flax and Oils Company. The paper quotes one of the protesters saying, “We have borrowed money from our families and neighbors so we can come here, and we are almost broke now.” The four hundred workers, who have been sleeping and eating on a side street off of Qasr el-Aini for ten days, demand fairer wages and the return of their factory to the public sector.

Egypt’s newspapers:

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 el-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 el-Umma: Weekly, privately owned

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