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Sunday, 20 November 2016

Last Night’s Talk Shows: Press Syndicate prison sentences, police brutality, meds shortages

The two-year sentence handed to Press Syndicate Yehia Qalash for allegedly harbouring “fugitive” journalists was widely covered on Saturday across the airwaves. The Press Syndicate will file an appeal within 10 days in response, Qalash told Al Hayah Al Youm (watch; runtime: 13:52). “If our defending of the syndicate will have a price, we are open to pay that price,” he said, adding that defending the syndicate doesn’t mean an escalation. We have further coverage on the issue, including international reaction, in Speed Round.
Amr Adib nailed it on the head when he said “this will have grave consequences for Egypt in the international media.” Adib showcased a video of journalists collecting donations to pay Qalash’s EGP 10,000 bail (watch: running time: 7:28). Adib also spoke with Islam Beheiry, who was released by presidential pardon a few days ago after being jailed on charges of contempt of religion, about hissolitary confinement (watch; runtime: 3:48). Beheiry says he’s looking to re-start his controversial talk show (watch; runtime: 1:01).

Adib also delved into the viral footage on social media of the body of Magdy Maken, a fish seller who died in police custody, allegedly under torture. Adiburged people to await the official forensic report on the matter before jumping to conclusions (watch; runtime: 1:24).

CIB is increasing limit on credit card transactions abroad by 50% for health and educational purposes starting from Sunday, CIB chairman Hisham Ezz El Arab told Lamees Al Hadidy in a call-in to CBC’s Hona El Assema (watch; runtime: 23:52). He added that he was sure other banks will follow. Ezz El Arab reiterated that the exchange rate will stabilize within three months. Commenting on a national shortage of some meds, Ezz El Arab said his bank never stopped providing medical companies with their FX needs.

That shortage dominated last night’s episode of Hona El Assema, as Lamees showcased the impact of the shortage on hemodialysis clinics in Fayoum and Alexandria. A manager of a hemodialysis clinic in Sohag blamed private sector companies. “The EGP float was not a surprise to anyone. Why was the healthcare sector not ready to meet this challenge?” Lamees asked, adding: “We can bear anything … a shortage in sugar or food items … but this time is different.”

Health ministry drops a bombshell: In a call in reaction to the segment the Health Ministry’s Ahmed Mohie El Qased said the ministry is now studying a report on repricing meds. If true, this is a complete reversal of the ministry’s position that now isn’t the time to reprice products. El Qased also said the ministry will allow the price of some procedures to rise. Ahmed El Ezaby, head of the pharma division of the Federation of Egyptian Industries, joined the conversation, repeating the division’s line that reasonable price hikes would help eliminate shortages.

Finally, Lamees’ “4+1” weekly debate discussed Ahmed Shafik’s return to Egypt and foreign funding of NGOs, among other issues (watch: runtime: 21:02).

You can view the full episode here(watch, runtime: 2:10:23)

Citizens whose income exceeds EGP 1,500 a month or whose pension is more than EGP 1200 a month will not be eligible for ration cards, said Assistant Supply Minister Ahmed Kamal during an interview with talk show host Amr Abdelhamid on Howar Al Qahera (watch; runtime: 3:10). Kamel said that “[the government] intends to launch a cash subsidy system, but not at the moment.”

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