THE PRELIMINARY results of the 2006 national census are out. Dena Rashed counts. The official number of Egyptians living in Egypt is now 72.5 million. That, plus 3.9 million living abroad, makes 76.4 million Egyptians.
The preliminary results were announced on Tuesday at a press conference held by the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) at its headquarters. The census is the 13th in Egypt's modern history and one of the most detailed since 1882.
The number of Egyptians increased by 24.3 per cent compared to the 1996 census. The number of inhabitants has increased in rural areas by 22 per cent since 1996. Fifty-seven per cent of Egyptians now live in rural areas.
The number of males is 37.1 million while the number of females reached 35. 4 million.
Cairo continues to attract most people; 10 per cent of the population live in the capital. Giza comes second with 8.6 per cent and Sharqia governorate follows with 7.6 per cent.
CAPMAS head Abu Bakr El-Guindi told the press conference the results of the census will soon be made available to the public on a website and will be sent to all ministries to facilitate their work. Detailed results will be announced in March 2008.
Gamal Mubarak to wed
GAMAL Mubarak, head of the Policies Committee of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and elder son of President Hosni Mubarak, will tie the knot on 28 April. The bride is 25-year-old Khadiga Mahmoud El-Gammal, daughter of a wealthy building contractor. Gamal Mubarak is 43.
The pair will be officially married on 28 April after having signed the marriage contract or katb kitab. The actual wedding will be held on 4 May which coincides with the president's birthday.
Officials at the groom's office refused to say where the wedding will be held. However, the independent daily Al-Masry Al-Yom said the katb kitab would be in Cairo while the wedding would take place in the Red Sea resort of Sharm El-Sheikh at the same five- star hotel where the engagement was held.
Islamist lawyer protests
MAMDOUH Ismail, lawyer of Egypt's once most militant group Jihad, went on hunger strike on Monday in protest at what he called the "inhumane treatment" he received at the hands of the state security investigation apparatus when he was arrested at his home in a dawn operation on Thursday. Ismail was remanded 15 days in custody by the state security prosecution pending further investigation.
Ismail is facing charges that include belonging to an illegal group, attempting to revive the activities of a banned group, spreading rumours aimed at threatening national security and undermining the state. He is also accused of receiving orders from the group's expatriate leaders, led by Osama bin Laden's right-hand man and personal physician Ayman El-Zawahri, to launch a media campaign aimed at aborting the unilateral Gamaa Islamiya ceasefire initiative, launched in 1997, by publishing false information about the regime and prison conditions.
Further charges include recruiting new members to the group and sending them abroad to receive para-military training to carry out attacks on Egypt's vital industries.
Meanwhile, authorities have reportedly released a Jihad leader jailed since 1981, Sheikh Nabil Bakr. According to press reports, Bakr's release is expected to open the door for more releases of Jihad members in what observers describe as a positive sign towards settling the Jihad detainee issue.
New torture video
THE ASSOCIATION of Human Rights Legal Aid (AHRLA) has called on the prosecutor-general to order an investigation into the latest mobile video to show torture inside Egyptian police stations. The video was released last week on the Internet website YouTube, showing three police officers in uniform beating up and assaulting a group of citizens inside an unidentified police station. The two-minute, 40-second-long tape also shows a man being ordered to carry a pile of books on his head while an officer kicks his leg. The faces of the officers are shown in the video and their voices are clear.
The AHRLA urged the prosecutor-general to take serious measures to determine the identities of the police officers and bring them to justice. The AHRLA said the identity and description of the officers should be made available to the public through the media while providing adequate security for the victims so that neither they nor their families would be subjected to pressure to drop the case.