Al-Ahram Weekly Online   5 - 11 April 2012
Issue No. 1092
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Around the country

SEVERAL protests were staged in the country. Hundreds of company workers demonstrated on 2 April in front of the State Council against an appeal filed by the government contesting a ruling to have the companies returned to the public sector after years of privatisation under the former regime.

The Administrative Court had ruled for the return of companies Omar Effendi, Ghazl Shebin, Tanta for Linen, Al-Nasr for Steam Boilers and Al-Nile for Cotton Ginning to the public sector. The current government, however, along with the holding companies and some buyers of the firms appealed the rulings before the Supreme Administrative Court.

At the same time the Syndicate of Veterinary Doctors will hold several protests throughout the country starting 7 April following what the demonstrators said was the government's ignoring of their demands which includes the independence of veterinary medicine from the Ministry of Agriculture and Land Reclamation. They have been asking for the creation of a ministry for national livestock, in addition to appointing veterinarians in the governorates where they are needed.

Protests by employees of the Ministry of Archaeology entered its second week. The protesters, in front of the ministry in Zamalek, want a readjustment in salaries and the dismissal of who they described as corrupt officials belonging to the former regime. They also want all temporary workers to be officially hired as well as the hiring of new university graduates.

Minister of Archaeology Mohamed Ibrahim has decided to pay incentives for all ministry workers.

Meanwhile, around 20 workers in the underground metro demonstrated for an increase in their overtime bonus to 75 per cent of their basic salaries instead of 60 per cent. They also want Saturday off.

Moreover, dozens of public transportation workers have blocked half of Qasr Al-Aini Street because the government has scrapped the obligatory insurance on drivers.

And the Ultras of the Al-Ahli football club continued their demonstration in front of the parliament seeking retribution for 74 soccer fans, mainly Al-Ahli supporters, killed in a soccer riot in a league match in February.

FMD vaccine

EGYPT began producing a local vaccine for the foot and mouth disease (FMD) as the rate of infection has significantly slowed, said Mohamed Reda, minister of agriculture and land reclamation.

Reda has been updating the Cabinet with the latest developments regarding the FMD virus. During the Cabinet's meeting on 2 April they discussed the preparation of an emergency plan to compensate farmers, based on the number and age of cattle they've lost, as well as postponing their instalments on loans from the Principal Bank for Development and Agricultural Credit.

Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri said a report is being prepared to amend the current insurance fund law "so the government can properly compensate those affected by FMD."

Compensation will be given based on reports by veterinarians or by a veterinary unit in each governorate, and not through complaints filed at police stations. "We have received complaints calling for the compensation for over 50,000 cattle which is an extremely exaggerated number," said Reda.

An outbreak of FMD among cattle in Egypt has been a concern for the past few weeks, with the Ministry of Agriculture preventing the trade or transportation of cattle between provinces. According to the latest reports, over 51,000 cattle have been infected and 4,000 have died since the beginning of the outbreak, according to the official state portal

Present in Egypt are FMD types A and O, for which local livestock have been vaccinated, however, the current outbreak is from FMD type Sat-2, discovered in the country for the first time.

Ideal village

MERVAT El-Tallawi, head of the National Council of Women (NCW), has visited Hagar Al-Dahsa in the Qena governorate, along with Heba Handoussa, representative of the World Bank (WB) in Egypt, Essam Metwalli, expert of solar energy, and Hanan Darwish and Hagar Salaheddin, members of NCW to inspect the status of the village and its residents.

According to El-Tallawi, the council will work on combating poverty in the village and transferring it into an ideal venue. "The council, along with the governorate, will help in turning garbage and remains into ethanol in order to face the current gas shortage. Small projects for spare parts and compounds composed of a number of schools, youth centres, cultural centres, post office and a health unit will be created in cooperation with the governorate and NGOs, as well as international organisations," said El-Tallawi.

The council will work on eliminating illiteracy among villagers.

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