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Newsreel
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 29 - 11 - 2018


Sentences upheld
THE COURT of Cassation on Sunday confirmed the death sentences handed down to nine defendants convicted of involvement in the 2015 assassination of prosecutor-general Hisham Barakat. The court commuted to life imprisonment death sentences passed against six other defendants and cleared five of all charges.
In July 2017 the criminal court had sentenced 28 defendants to death for involvement in the bombing of Barakat's convoy, 13 of whom were tried in absentia. The first-degree court also sentenced 15 defendants to life, eight to 15 years in prison and 15 to 10 years. Charges against one defendant who died in detention were dropped.
The prosecution accused the defendants of premeditated murder, possession of firearms and explosives and membership of a terrorist group.
In April the Court of Cassation said it would review 20 out of the 67 appeals filed by defendants in the case. The Court of Cassation is the highest judicial authority. Its rulings are final and cannot be appealed.
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Exporting stray animals
LAST week the General Organisation for Veterinary Services, an affiliate of the Ministry of Agriculture, announced it had licensed the export of 4,100 dogs and cats.
The announcement appeared to be a response to the suggestion, made in October by MP Margret Azer, that such exports could help solve the problem of Egypt's growing population of strays and was better than shooting or poisoning the animals.
South Korea, where people eat dogs, was Azer's chosen destination for the strays.
The Ministry of Agriculture is reported to be in the process of issuing health certificates and vaccinating the animals. There has been no confirmation of the animals' final destination.
Though there is no legal barrier to the export, animal rights defenders say it is a flagrant violation of both the animals' rights and Islamic teachings. Media anchor Wael Al-Ibrashi claimed the move will tarnish Egypt's image abroad.
On 24 November the Ministry of Agriculture denied it had issued a decree licensing the exports and said it had merely approved applications from independent exporters to move the animals abroad on condition they are disease free.
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New dispute
THE WAFD Party has been embroiled in disputes following elections to the party's higher committee and secretariat-general two weeks ago.
A total of 116 candidates competed for the 50 higher committee seats and 21 candidates for the five places on the secretariat-general.
Unsuccessful candidates have accused organisers of the poll of rigging the results. They have vowed to take legal action and are demanding the results be cancelled.
A letter submitted to party leader Bahaaedin Abu Shokka asking for a meeting to discuss alleged voting irregularities not only met with a negative response but on 22 November Abu Shokka dismissed six of its signatories.
In response, disgruntled party members began circulating a petition withdrawing confidence from Abu Shokka who they say is too close to the regime.
Abu Shokka insists the polls were free and fair and that the losers are seeking to tarnish the image of the party.
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Ferry sinking
FIVE people were killed and four injured when a ferry carrying 23 passengers across the Nile sank in the Delta. The passengers were being ferried from Al-Shohadaa village in Menoufiya to a neighbouring village on the opposite bank.
The dead and injured were moved to Al-Shohadaa Hospital where relatives of the deceased gathered to receive the bodies.
The governor of Menoufiya has ordered an investigation into the condition of ferries used to transport passengers across the Nile. Residents of Al-Shohadaa have long called for a bridge to be constructed connecting the two villages.


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