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Morsi's Speech, State Of Emergency Add "Fuel To Fire," Say Opponents



CAIRO – As Al-Masry Al-Youm describes it on Monday, President Mohammed Morsi’s latest speech to the nation, meant to calm Egypt after days of deadly unrest, only “added fuel to the fire.”

The Egyptian President announced the state of emergency Sunday night in the major Canal cities (Port Said, Suez and Ismailia) and imposed a curfew. In the same speech, Morsi thanked the armed forces and the police for their efforts to secure these cities.

He also called opposition leaders such as Amr Moussa, Mohamed El Baradei, and Hamdin Sabbahi, to open a dialogue about the violence that has been gripping Egypt. The trio issued a common declaration to Masrawy daily on Monday, saying that they will unanimously boycott any dialogue with Morsi.

Wikimedia map

The latest spurt of violence started Saturday after the criminal court of Port Said sentenced 21 Egyptians to death for the massacre that took place during a football match last year, that left 74 Ahly club supporters dead, according to the figures given by Al Ahram.

After word of the verdict spread, youth from the northern city headed towards the prison where the prisoners were transferred, attempting to get them out by force. This led to clashes with the police, leading to the death of 32, Al-Masry Al-Youm reports.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

How Russia's Wartime Manipulation Of Energy Prices Could Doom Its Economy

A complex compensation mechanism for fuel companies, currency devaluation, increased demand due to the war, logistics disruptions, and stuttering production growth have combined to trigger price rises and deepening shortages in the Russian energy market.

Photograph of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas, floating on a body of water.

Russia, Murmansk Region - July 21, 2023: A view of Novatek's gravity-based structure platform for production of liquefied natural gas.

Ekaterina Mereminskaya

In Russia, reports of gasoline and diesel shortages have been making headlines in the country for several months, raising concerns about energy supply. The situation escalated in September when a major diesel shortage hit annexed Crimea. Even before that, farmers in the southern regions of Russia had raised concerns regarding fuel shortages for their combines.

“We’ll have to stop the harvest! It will be a total catastrophe!” agriculture minister Dmitry Patrushev had warned at the time. “We should temporarily halt the export of petroleum products now until we have stabilized the situation on the domestic market.”

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As the crisis deepens, experts are highlighting the unintended consequences of government intervention in fuel pricing and distribution.

The Russian government has long sought to control the prices of essential commodities, including gasoline and diesel. These commodities are considered "signalling products", according to Sergei Vakulenko, an oil and gas expert and fellow at the Carnegie Endowment. Entrepreneurs often interpret rising gasoline prices as a signal to adjust their pricing strategies, reasoning that if even gasoline, a staple, is becoming more expensive, they too should raise their prices.

The specter of the 2018 fuel crisis, where gasoline prices in Russia surged at twice the rate of other commodities, haunts the authorities. As a result, they implemented a mechanism to control these prices and ensure a steady supply. Known as the "fuel damper," this mechanism seeks to balance the profitability of selling fuel in both domestic and foreign markets.

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