Opposition slams transportation minister in wake of train crashes
CAIRO: News of train crashes dominated this week s national, independent and opposition newspapers. Demands for the transportation minister s resignation rang throughout independent and opposition newspapers, with opposition papers insisting that the minister be held responsible for the accidents.
As the independent Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Monday that one of the causes of Qalyoub s deadly train crash two weeks ago was a contradiction in train charts, two additional train incidents took place.
A passenger train in Kafr El-Dawwar was saved from another disaster, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported on Tuesday. Fire erupted in one of the cars but was extinguished before it reached the rest of the cars. No casualties were incurred in the incident, but Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted a member of parliament as saying on Tuesday that the fire served as another sign of the continuous negligence of the railway.
Another train crash took place in Shebin El-Qanatir. Al-Ahram newspaper reported on Wednesday that two people had died and 36 were injured in the accident.
There was a noticeable difference in coverage between national and independent newspapers. The independent Al-Masry Al-Youm and the opposition Al-Wafd newspaper had pages of coverage on the train crash, dedicating their front pages to the story, accompanied by horror stories from passengers.
Al-Masri Al-Youm quoted eyewitnesses. I carried two children and jumped from the window . when the accident happened, I heard some passengers screams and others crying and [I saw] blood everywhere, said Badawy Shaker Abdullah, 32 year-old ticket collector. Another ticket collector, 41-year old Mahrous Sayed Abdel Azeem described, I saw death with my own eyes.
Al-Ahram national newspaper, on the other hand, quoted Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif addressing reform solutions and saying, The reform plan is the solution for the railway problems, and covered the crashes in the accidents section in the end of the paper.
Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted two members of parliament, Abdel Wahab El-Deeb and Fawwaz Abdel Halim Shaheen demanding Transportation Minister Mohammed Lofty Mansour’s resignation in the wake of the tragic accidents.
On another matter, independent and opposition newspapers focused on speculations about constitutional changes due to take place in the next few months. Magdy Mehanna gave his take on the issue in his daily column in Al-Masry Al-Youm, quoting Minister of State for Shura Council Affairs Mufid Shehab.
“The upcoming constitutional amendments do not include articles 76 and 77 of the constitution. President Hosni Mubarak is the only one who has the right to that [amend those articles]. In his column he said he thinks that the changes are being done only to suit the National Democratic Party’s candidate. Al-Wafd newspaper took the same approach, saying the Al-Wafd party is worried that the ruling National Democratic Party is undertaking the amendments in “bad faith.