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Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 26 - 07 - 2018

New SCC chief
A PRESIDENTIAL decree appointing Hanafi Ali Gebali as chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) was issued on 22 July. The decree comes into force on 1 August.
In June the SCC's general assembly unanimously elected Gebali to take over from current chief justice Abdel-Wahab Abdel-Razek when his term expires on 31 July.
Born in 1949, Gebali graduated from the Faculty of Law, Cairo University, in 1975 and received a Masters degree and PhD from Ain Shams University. He was appointed deputy to the prosecutor-general in 1978. He later joined the State Council and was promoted to a judge. In 1989 he joined the SCC Commissioners' Authority which he chaired in 1996. In 2001 he became a deputy of the SCC's chief justice. He was elected as secretary-general of the Union of Arab Constitutional Courts in 2011. Between 2001 and 2004 he headed the technical office of the SCC.
Law rejected
ON SATURDAY the Foreign Ministry rejected a controversial law adopted by the Israeli Knesset on 19 July defining Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.
“The Jewish State Bill consolidates the notion of occupation and racial segregation and undermines the chances of achieving peace and reaching a just and comprehensive solution for the Palestinian issue,” said the statement.
The ministry also said the law “could affect the right of return for Palestinian refugees displaced since 1948”. It urged the international community to uphold the Palestinians' historical and legal rights and to push for the resumption of negotiations based on a two-state solution.
The 19 July Knesset session saw Arab lawmakers stand up in protest against the bill. Many expect the controversial law will mark the beginning of a series of legislation discriminating against Israel's Palestinian citizens.
Arab rights activists say the law will allow the state to create Jewish-only residential areas. It also downgrades Arabic, which will be no longer an official language.
Metro suicide
A TEENAGER killed himself on Sunday by jumping in front of an underground train at Marg station in northeast Cairo. The boy died instantly.
“The driver of train no 119 was approaching Marg station when a young man threw himself in front of the train,” the Metro Operation Company said in a statement.
Trains were halted temporarily as the body was removed from the tracks. No identification papers were found on the corpse and the reasons behind the suicide remain unknown.
Huge blazes
A SERIES of fires broke out at different places in Cairo and Alexandria this week. On Tuesday a huge fire burnt out the third floor of the Commercial Professions Syndicate in Downtown Cairo. The building includes several companies and a branch of the National Bank of Egypt. The fire which needed 10 fire trucks to extinguish it, paralysed traffic during peak hours.
This came a few hours after fire ate several shops and warehouses at a mall in the heavily-populated commercial the downtown neighbourhood of Al-Moski.
Also, fire broke out at a paint factory on Tuesday morning in the Third Industrial Area west of Alexandria. The entire factory, which covers more than 1,800 square metres, went up in flames.
Dozens of injuries have been reported and ambulances have been dispatched to the scene.
“The fire is huge and bringing it under control is a complex operation,” said Fouad Al-Ghoneimi of the Civil Protection Authority.
On Sunday Civil Protection Authority forces extinguished a fire at Abbaseya Mental Health Hospital. Initial investigations suggest the limited blaze was caused by an electrical short-circuit on the fourth floor of the hospital.
Health Ministry Spokesman Khaled Megahed said the room where the fire broke out was empty at the time. No injuries have been reported.
The fire was subdued before reaching other wards, say sources from the Civil Protection Authority. Eight fire engines were dispatched to the hospital to fight the blaze.
The prosecution-general is investigating the cause of the fire.

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