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Posts tagged ‘List of newspapers in Egypt’

Egypt plans new deficit-reduction steps: media.

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt’s government has proposed tax changes and reducing energy subsidies to cut a budget deficit running at about 11 percent of gross domestic product, Egyptian newspapers reported.

The austerity steps, certain to be unpopular, are part of an economic program drawn up in part to help convince the International Monetary Fund that Egypt is serious about economic reform.

An IMF team is in Cairo to negotiate a $4.8 billion finance package for Egypt. Talks are scheduled to end on November 14.

Economists say the IMF is unlikely to sign a loan agreement unless at least some austerity measures are in place. The deal is seen as a vital step to rebuild the confidence of foreign and local investors, and encourage more potential foreign donors.

Finance Minister Mumtaz al-Said said Egypt could save 35 billion Egyptian pounds ($5.7 billion) a year with planned energy subsidy reforms, the daily Al-Masry al-Youm reported.

Egypt in September revised its budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, to 170 billion Egyptian pounds ($27.8 billion) from a previously projected 134 billion pounds.

New measures include the total elimination of the subsidy on 95 octane gasoline, a step that will be officially announced this week, and raising the price of natural gas piped to homes, which will come into effect next month, the minister was quoted as saying.

The natural gas price increase would be “tiny”, he added.

The minister was not immediately available to comment.

Consumers now buy gas in their homes at a fraction of international prices, based on a sliding scale related to usage. Drivers pay 95-octane fuel at 2.75 pounds a liter.

The government has delayed a program to use smart cards to distribute canisters of cooking gas, or butagas, by several months to ensure the system works properly, the minister said according to the state-run daily Al-Ahram. The newspaper said the scheme would start by June 30 next year. The government had originally aimed for the program to begin by mid-October this year.

The government would not touch the price of subsidized diesel, Al-Ahram quoted Oil Minister Osama Kamal as saying.

The newspaper also reported, without citing a source, that the government had drafted a law to raise the sales tax on both commodities and services to 11 percent from 10 percent.

A tax on telephone services would be 15 percent, while an extra 0.01 pound per minute would be levied for telephone use and a tax on text messages would be increased, al-Ahram said.

The sales tax would rise on other goods, such as passenger cars, cigarettes and tobacco, beer and alcoholic drinks, non-alcoholic beer, carbonated mineral water, coffee beans and water-resistant cement, it said.

The sales tax on reinforced steel would be increased to 11 percent from 8 percent, al-Ahram reported.

The draft law, which must be approved by the president or parliament, exempted from sales tax capital goods imported from abroad for productive activities, it added.

Al-Ahram cited a Finance Ministry official as saying the budget deficit would reach 182 billion pounds this year but could surge to 234 billion pounds if the economy remained weak. Officials have blamed the higher deficit on energy subsidy reform delays.

The cabinet also approved a draft law to draw informal businesses into the official economy to lift the tax take, the paper cited the minister as saying. It said workers in unregistered establishments who registered themselves would be exempt from paying back taxes.

The Finance Ministry would also extend to March from December a deadline to pay back taxes and still qualify for a 15 percent discount. The penalty for non-payment would be set at up to five years in jail.

($1 = 6.1155 Egyptian pounds)

(Reporting by Patrick Werr; Editing by Susan Fenton)


By Patrick Werr | Reuters

Egypt newspaper fights cartoons with cartoons.


CAIRO (AP) — Amid outrage sparked by perceived insults to Islam, one Egyptian newspaper has decided to fight cartoons with cartoons.

Al Watan daily says it is responding to the crude caricatures published last week by a satirical Parisian weekly in kind: a series of sketches critiquing relations between the Arab world and the West.

The paper says they are a “civilized” alternative to the violent protests across the Muslim world sparked by a low-budget anti-Islam film produced in the United States.

“Nothing cracks cartoons but cartoons,” said the banner splashed over the two-page spread published this week.

One drawing, captioned “Western glasses for the Islamic world,” features a pair of eyeglasses framing the burning World Trade Center towers. Another shows a flashlight wrapped in an American flag pointed at a picture of an angry turbaned man with a knife, ignoring a peaceful Muslim.

Both seem intended to suggest that the only image seen by Western audiences of the Muslim world was that of terrorism.

The newspaper’s decision comes amid a debate over freedom of expression in both Muslim and Western countries over the reaction to the film “Innocence of Muslims.” Over 50 people have been killed in violence linked to the video over the past two weeks. In Egypt, protesters breached the U.S. Embassy.

Last week, the provocative French magazine Charlie Hebdo published a set of crude cartoons playing off the film and ridiculing the violent reaction to it.

President Barack Obama and other Western officials have condemned the film, but said that no speech justifies the violent response.

Mohamed El Barguti, an editor at Al Watan, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the cartoons were a “model of a civilized reaction to all that has happened.” The paper published the drawings to show that “burning and killing” is not the proper response to insults to Islam, he said.


By MAGGIE FICK | Associated Press

Egypt seizes Grad rockets ‘smuggled from Libya’.

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  • A Libyan paramilitary checks his Grad rocket launcher during clashes on the outskirts of Sirte in September 2011. Egypt has seized a large weapons consignment -- including Grad rockets -- that had been smuggled from Libya and could have been headed to the Gaza Strip, according to local media reports. (AFP Photo/Francisco Leong)A Libyan paramilitary checks his …

Egypt has seized a large weapons consignment, including Grad rockets, that had been smuggled from Libya and could have been headed to the Gaza Strip, press reports said on Saturday.

The haul, which included 138 Grad rockets and a further 139 Grad warheads, was made in the Mediterranean coastal town of Marsa Matruh, not far from the Libyan border, Egyptian newspapers reported.

The interior ministry said that police were searching for two men suspected of trafficking weapons “to the Sinai Peninsula or towards Palestine.”

Libya has been awash with weapons since last year’s armed rebellion which led to the ouster and killing of veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi, and Egyptian authorities have made a string of seizures near the porous desert border.

On May 10, the security forces said they had seized a large cache of weapons, including 50 rockets, in Marsa Matruh.

Israel has expressed concern that such shipments are intended for the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, through the extensive network of smuggling tunnels under the Egyptian border.

It has also voiced concern that Islamic militant groups might be taking advantage of what it sees as the growing lawlessness of the neighbouring Sinai.



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