CAIRO: With bird flu making continuous headlines due to the four cases detected in humans, one being fatal, talks concerned with “government-protected corruption and Prince Charles’ visit to the country has added some diversity to the headlines.
On Thursday morning, both national and independent newspapers confirmed that four people have been diagnosed with the deadly H5N1 virus. There has been one casualty thus far, and tests are being carried out throughout the country to check on suspected cases.
While President Hosni Mubarak’s visits were the focus of the national newspapers’ front pages, independent newspapers either attacked the president or called for president-supported reform.
In a column addressing “The Pilot Hosni Mubarak, Soliman Gouda wrote in Al-Masry Al-Youm on Tuesday that Egypt should have a system that corresponds to the idea of an automatic pilot.
Once the pilot takes off with the plane, Gouda said, he depends on the automatic pilot for navigation. “This automatic pilot that takes responsibility for the passengers’ safety in the air and keeps the plane balanced . is exactly the same as a deep-rooted democratic system.
Mubarak successfully managed to “take off after the assassination of Sadat, Gouda wrote, but “it isn’t possible that the automatic pilot’s work would be 25 years late.
Ibrahim Eissa, however, took a more direct approach to the topic in his article in the weekly Al-Dostour. Mentioning names that have been the focus of many corruption cases currently under investigation, Eissa said that before questioning these people, the public should first question Mubarak for his support of them.
Many writers have picked up on the topic of corruption since the investigation of the Omar Effendi deal was closed and Mamdouh Ismail, the owner of the sunken ferry, managed to leave the country, with the public prosecutor saying that he would resort to Interpol if Ismail didn’t turn himself in.
“Blood is boiling in Egyptian veins, wrote Sayed Abdel Atty in Al-Wafd. This is, according to Abdel Atty, because the public prosecutor’s decision came two weeks late. He added that Ismail had fled the country without disguise and with the protection of high profile officials.
In the light of the news regarding the Omar Effendi department store, Ahmed Ragab wrote in Al-Akhbar that a man had sent him an e-mail inquiring about “the price of one meter of our nation.
Meanwhile, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported an exchange of accusations between Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahdi Akef.
On Wednesday, the independent daily paper quoted Nazif as saying that the Brotherhood has no program. Referring to Egypt’s official acceptance of Hamas and the ban on the Brotherhood in the country, Nazif said that the circumstances differ between Egypt and the Palestinian territories. He also warned of the consequences of having a political party that bases its ideology on religion, race, gender or color.
For his part, Akef said Nazif doesn’t know the difference between the existence of Hamas in Palestine and the Brotherhood in Egypt. His quotes were published in the same newspaper the next day.
He added that instead of attacking the Brotherhood, Nazif should attack people like ferry owner Ismail, those who steal from banks and those who torture thousands of prisoners.
Akef added that Nazif should question the National Democratic Party’s program, not others’.
Prince Charles’s visit to Egypt has also received its share of attention, with prominent coverage in all newspapers. This visit “represents an important opportunity to push forward the dialogue between religions on one side and to promote mutual relationships especially in the cultural and educational fields, wrote an Al-Ahram editorial on Tuesday. Prince Charles attended the opening of the British University in Cairo during the visit.