Playing Chinese whispers: 8 rumours that spread over the past 8 days in Egypt



Tue, 02 Oct 2018 - 01:34 GMT


Tue, 02 Oct 2018 - 01:34 GMT

The Freedom Articles official website

The Freedom Articles official website

CAIRO – 2 October 2018: With rumours spreading all around us, it is important to stop and fact checking everything we hear.

To help you with this, Egypt Today has taken it upon itself to dismantle four fake ‘truths’, or, in other words, rumours.

1- A new inheritance tax

Rumour: A rumour spread over the past month, going viral on outlets over the past week, that the Ministry of Finance intends to apply a new tax on inheritance.

The Truth? The Finance Ministry has no intentions to apply new inheritance taxes—or any other new tax. It must also be noted that a new tax cannot be applied without the written approval of the House of Representatives (Egyptian Parliament).

In fact, since it was abolished in 1996, Egypt has not considered or studied the return of inheritance tax.

2- Increase of taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products

Rumour: With almost 12.6 million Egyptians being smokers, making up 20.2 percent of the total population, according to Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), smokers have recently been worried that the taxes on cigarette packets will increase.

The Truth? There will be no new taxes on cigarettes or other tobacco products (whether for smoking or otherwise)—foreign or local. The prices are capped at this point without any increases set to take place.

3- There are mistakes in new curriculum’s first graders’ textbooks

Rumour: Spread by Al-Jazeera, rumours have gone around about mistakes found in the Arabic language curriculum of the new educational system of first graders. Although they do not explain what kind of mistakes there are, Al Jazeera has criticised some pages extracted from the book.

The Truth? On his official Facebook page, Shawky remarked that Al-Jazeera TV Channel is insulting Egypt, referring that no mistakes are found in these pages as they contain “little songs for children” written by the Music Education Counselor.

"I would like to explain that these pages do not have mistakes, but they just contain little songs for children. It is written in the Teacher's Guide to teach children topics and words through art and singing."

Al-Jazeera TV Channel posted some pages from the Arabic language curriculum of the new educational system to criticize them, claiming that they have several mistakes.

That the books for first graders have many oversights and different kinds of mistakes

4- Children sat on the floor

Rumour: A picture has gone around with children taking to the ground on the first days of school, suggesting that schools ate over-packed and that children sit on the floor.

The Truth? The pictures that have been going around actually came from a school in Iraq and have been published on Iraqi media outlets since October 2013.

5- An Arab country buys an Egyptian lake

Rumour: Perhaps one of the rumours that have died and come back time and time again is the idea of selling or renting an Egyptian artefact, monument, or treasure (like a lake) to another country; often times the rumour cites the country to be Arab, but this is not always the case. This time, it’s the Manzala lake.

The Truth? According to a statement from the Ministry of Agriculture, the Manzala lake has not been rented or sold by the country to any country. In fact, cleaning and development processes are underway for the benefit of the public and the people who like close to the lake.

6- Marriage fees to increase

Rumour: Amidst the marriage season, a rumour related to the conversation on the hiking prices of weddings has come to light: Marriage fees will increase in October.

The Truth?According to a ministry statement, there will be no increase in marriage fees.

7- Water prices take a leap

Rumour: Price of water to increase again. This rumour comes on the neck of price hikes recently out of fear, rather than facts.

The Truth? MENA news agency reported that the cabinet denies reports about water price hike.

Egypt’s Prime Minister Sherif Ismail decided to raise water prices and sewage fees as of August 1, according to the official gazette on Wednesday.

The price of water for residential use rose to range between LE 0.45 ($0.02)and LE 2.15 per cubic meter, distributed over three consumption categories.

The first category for the consumption between zero and 10 cubic meters increased to LE 0.45 from LE 0.30. The second one for the consumption between 11 and 20 cubic meters went up to LE 1.20 from LE 0.70.

The category consumes between 21 and 30 cubic meters was raised to LE 1.65 from LE 1.55, while the fourth which consumes up to 40 cubic meters and more saw an increase to LE 2 and LE 2.15, respectively.

As for the sewage fees, which are being calculated as a percentage of the water prices, the cabinet decided to hike them between 63 percent and 73 percent of the water price, up from 57 percent.

The decision also included a rise for water prices for business to range from LE 2 to LE 6.95, depending on industry and consumption levels, the official gazette said.

The cabinet’s move comes days after subsidiaries’ cut for fuel, electricity and wheat.

In late June, the government increased the fuel prices by around 35 percent, followed by new electricity tariffs in early July, with increases between 18 percent and 35 percent across different consumption brackets.

Moreover, Ministry of Supply issued a decision to stop subsidizing flour-starting August, in a move that is expected to reduce wheat imports 10 percent.

8- Child vaccines cause autism

Rumour: A rumour that has survived through the ages and continues to be renewed.

The Truth? This rumour has died and come back to life hundreds of times, with science always proving it wrong.

In Science Magazine, an article written by Lindzi Wessel in April 2017 says, “In 1998, U.K. doctor Andrew Wakefield published a study in The Lancet suggesting that the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine could trigger autism. In the years after, MMR vaccination rates among 2-year-olds in England dropped below 80%. But the claim began to unravel in 2004 after journalist Brian Deer reported undisclosed conflicts of interest: Wakefield had applied for a patent on his own measles vaccine and had received money from a lawyer trying to sue companies making the MMR vaccine. Citing further concerns about ethics and misrepresentation, The Lancet retracted the paper in 2010. Shortly after, the United Kingdom's General Medical Council permanently pulled Wakefield's medical license.”



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