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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Aftermath of Mansoura Blast

Mansoura residents are still reeling from the aftermath of a massive explosion that killed 14 and left over 130 dead yesterday in the Nile delta city. The bomb or bombs ripped apart the Security directorate building and caused damage to several other buildings nearby: the City Council building and a nearby theater have since collapsed. Thousands of Mansoura residents responded to the event by giving blood and helping move victims to nearby hospitals. Later in the day, after the public funerals for the victims (which included several police officers) crowds began chanting and protesting against the Muslim Brotherhood, the embattled party of Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood has denied any involvement and condemned the bombing, but Egypt’s Interior Minister blamed them for the attack and some Mansoura residents have begun targeting and attacking known or suspected members of the Brotherhood. Iran, the US and other countries have publicly denounced the deadly attack.

Minimum Wage For Teachers in Egypt

Egypt’s government has decided to include teachers in their new minimum wage system, which is expected to be implented next month. The idea of establishing a minimum wage for public sector employees has been in the works for months, but some have accused the government of excluding teachers from the plan. In response, the Egyptian Ministry of Finance announced that teachers will receive a monthly salary of at least 1200 Egyptian pounds (around $173). Teachers have been striking since 2011 in an effort to obtain better wages.

Former Prime Minister Arrested

The former Prime Minister under Mohamed Morsi, Hisham Kandil, was arrested yesterday. According to Egypt’s Interior Ministry, Kandil was found in a mountainous region with smugglers, attempting to cross the border to Sudan. Kandil, who was appointed in July, 2012 by then President Morsi, was sentenced to a one-year jail sentence for failing to re-nationalize a textile factory. Kandil’s arrest comes after months of an extended security crackdown on members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Appeal Date Set for Three Prominent Rights Activists

Three well-known rights activists who were sentenced to three years in prison and hard labor for their role in recent protests have obtained an appeal date. Ahmed Maher, Ahmed Douma and Mohamed Adel will appeal their verdict on January 8th. The three activists were accused and convicted of “thuggery” and involvement in violence against security officers. News of their conviction brought global condemnation of the court’s decision. A spokesperson with the US State department said that the sentence, which was issued earlier this week, “does not contribute to an open electoral environment or a transition process that protects the universal rights of all Egyptian citizens.”

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