Tuesday’s papers: ‘Passion and blood’ and syllabi revisions

Both state-run and independent papers lead with news of the retrial of construction tycoon and former MP Hisham Talaat Mostafa, who stands accused of ordering his bodyguard Mohsen el-Sokkari to murder his girlfriend Suzanne Tamim on 27 July 2008.

Al-Gomhurriya and Al-Shorouq run with headlines reiterating the defendants’ not guilty plea and announcing the trial’s latest twist–the defense casting doubt on the validity of incriminating video footage and calling on the court to send a delegation to revisit the crime scene in Dubai. Al-Shorouq’s report, which notes that a court ruling was expected to be announced in today’s session, paints a picture of an “agitated” Mostafa, separated from el-Sokkari by a metal barrier and four State Security guards.

Possibly in an attempt to downplay the Talaat Mostafa case, which has become known as the case of “passion and blood” by local media, state-run flagships Al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar lead with headlines about, respectively, the Shura Council’s mid-term elections and President Hosni Mubarak’s long-distance revival of Middle Ease peace talks with US President Barack Obama. Both papers also feature smaller front page stories on the Talaat Mostafa trial.

As tension continues to brew among Nile Basin states, Al-Wafd leads with a story about former Israeli ambassador to Egypt Zvi Mazel calling for the “internationalization of the conflict.” Al-Wafd’s report claims that a study compiled by Mazel was discovered, in which the former ambassador accuses Egypt of ignoring other Nile Basin member states’ legitimate rights. According to Al-Wafd, Mazel’s document, which demonstrates Israel’s “ugly face” and its role in inciting regional strife, stated, “Instead of looking for practical and realistic solutions, Egypt is heading towards an illogical war.” The report also notes that Mazel takes statements by former UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali about the possibility of water-based wars out of context, in order to suggest that Egypt is self-fulfilling Ghali’s “prophecy” with its “uncompromising stance.”

Al-Dostour leads with the headline, “The Grand Mufti revises religious education syllabi formerly revised by Al-Azhar.” The report, which covers the joint press conference held yesterday by Minister of Education Ahmed Zaki Badr and Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, outlines Badr’s statement that the ministry has decided to send the syllabi to the Mufti for “revision and interpretation” after receiving complaints about them. Badr also noted that Christian studies syllabi would be sent to Coptic Pope Shenouda III for the same purpose. According to the report, Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa stated that all syllabi serve their purpose for certain times, and so it is necessary to “develop” them as well as “the standards set in place” over the past ten years. The Mufti then added that while some syllabi required amendments, none contained any “excesses.”

Egypt’s newspapers:
: Daily, state-run, largest distribution in Egypt
: Daily, state-run, second to Al-Ahram in institutional size
: Daily, state-run
Rose el-Youssef:
Daily, state-run, close to the National Democratic Party’s Policies Secretariat
Daily, privately owned
Daily, privately owned
Daily, published by the liberal Wafd Party
Weekly, published by the Arab Nasserist party
Weekly, privately owned
Sawt el-Umma:
Weekly, privately owned

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