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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

British woman jailed in Egypt over painkillers loses appeal

A quiet morning: Topping coverage of Egypt in the foreign press on a very quiet morning was a court’s rejection of an appeal by UK tourist Laura Plummer against a three-year prison sentence for smuggling 300 tablets of pain meds, BBC reported. The story is being noted in the Independent, Evening Standard and The Sun.

More noteworthy: Egypt’s new administrative capital runs the risk of replicating “the historical trend of spatial segregation” between classes due to the high cost of housing within the new city, writes the Conversation, a site designed by academics to appeal to “The Public.” Cairo is already a lasting manifestation of urban inequality, as the rich and poor see vast differences in their access to services and benefits in their respective neighborhoods. The lack of affordable housing in the new capital might push lower-income citizens to the capital’s periphery, which will further reinforce the urban class divide. “If it’s to succeed, Egypt’s new capital must stick to the principles of an inclusive city, where all citizens can come together and share the city.”

Cairo appears to be the center of a cross-border organ trafficking operation that has marked African refugees as easy targets, according to Haaretz. Findings from interviews with survivors and victims of the illegal organ trade indicate that victims are variously kidnapped; have organs stolen during routine procedures; or are paid to sell organs. This has been going on for a while: A 2010 study by the local branch of a DC-based NGO suggested that several thousand African refugees in Egypt at the time were casualties of the illegal organ trade. The World Health Organization had also identified Egypt, almost a decade ago, as a place where organ trafficking was rampant. The problem has prompted an official crackdown on the organ trade and resulting in small victories, such as 2016 exposure of a ring of 40-something traffickers who including hospital and nursing staff. Legislation was also drafted last year with harsher penalties for traffickers and those who help them.

Other headlines worth noting in brief this morning:

  • Mo Salah apologists: Local commentators are busy these days coming up with reasons why Mo Salah’s performance this season has underwhelmed, Hamza Hendawi writes for the AP.
  • A court on Monday upheld death sentences against 20 Islamists in the killing of 12 policemen during violent clashes that erupted in 2013 following the ousting of Mohamed Morsi, AFP reports.
  • Egyptian authorities are still championing crackdown on LGBT people, a year after the rainbow flag incident in Cairo, the All Out activist Ifeatu Nnaobi writes for the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

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