Reign of chaos continues

Attempts
to return Egypt to normality after two weeks of deadly anti-government protests
have suffered a number of setbacks.

While
banks have reopened, schools and the stock exchange remain closed, and
protesters have prevented the re-opening of a major government building.

The
Egyptian cabinet has announced a 15 per cent rise in public-sector salaries and
pensions, effective from April.

But
the protesters continue to occupy Cairo’s Tahrir Square.

They
say they will only leave when President Hosni Mubarak stands down.

The
Egyptian government is selling $2.5 billion in short-term debt, after having
cancelled auctions last week.

It
is seeking to revive an economy said to be losing at least $310 million a day.

Meanwhile,
Germany has announced it will not export any more arms to Egypt until further
notice.

The
German economy ministry says it is acting over concerns about Egypt’s human
rights record. Last year, Germany sold $30 million worth of arms to Egypt.

Export
permits already granted are to be re-investigated, the ministry said in a
statement.

Talks
between the Egyptian government and opposition groups on tackling the country’s
political crisis failed to end the protests.

The
government offered a series of concessions, but the opposition said they were
not enough.

President
Mubarak has so far refused to resign, saying that to do so would cause chaos.

He
has instead said he will not stand for re-election in September.

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Anti-governement protestors demonstrated in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Monday.
Photo: BBC

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