Thursday’s papers: No volcanic ash in Egypt

State-run and independent newspapers report that volcanic ashes, emitted last week from Iceland’s volcano, will not affect Egypt. Regarding recent flight cancellations, Al-Akhbar’s headline assures readers that “95 percent of flights are back on schedule,” and Rose el-Youssef reports that 40,000 passengers departed yesterday from Egypt to several destinations around the world. As the air travel crisis comes to an end, Giovanni Bisignani, director general and CEO of the International Air Transportation Association, a trade association that represents the airline industry, declared that airlines have lost around US$1.7 billion and that recent cancellations have cost the American economy $US 650 million, according to Al-Shorouq newspaper.

“11 employees fired, 15 sent to retirement, 21 suspended, and others fined,” reads a headline on Al-Ahram’s frontpage, referring to the MS Al-Salam Boccaccio 98 passenger ferry which sank four years ago in the Red Sea, en route from Saudi Arabia to Egypt. The story reports on a court’s decision that ferry officials had allowed it to operate with false documents. The incident, which resulted in the deaths of over 1000 Egyptians on year ago, also received follow-up coverage in Rose el-Youssef, Al-Shorouq and Al-Akhbar.

Al-Shorouq leads with a headline that reads, “Government is finding ways to raise fuel prices again.” Minister of Managerial Development Ahmed Darwish has stated that the government is considering a serious restructuring of fuel subsidies, providing support to some car brands and not others. He added that the government expects strikes to be organized in response to this decision.

In labor news, Rose el-Youssef reports that Saudi investor and CEO of Tanta Flax and Oils company Abdullah Al-Kahki, along with Managing Director Mohamed Al-Sobhi, will stand trial on 26 May. The two men are accused of blocking company employees from work, withholding their monthly salaries, and unjustly suspending several workers. Al-Akhbar adds that Minister of Manpower Aisha Abdel Hadi has supported the workers, paying them their monthly salaries ever since they stopped receiving paychecks from the company.

In telecom news, Al-Akhbar reports that Amr Badawi, executive manager of the National Telecom Regulatory Authority, has announced that the authority is looking into the possibility of licensing a fourth mobile operator in Egypt–in addition Mobinil, Vodafone and Etisalat.

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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