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3 Mubarak allies keep posts in Egypt

Associated Press / February 23, 2011

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CAIRO — Egypt’s military rulers swore in a Cabinet with 11 new ministers yesterday, a nod to the protest movement that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

However, three former members of the Mubarak regime retained senior posts.

The move comes as the military leadership overseeing the country’s transition is trying to assure Egyptians that it is committed to democratic reforms.

However, the decision to keep Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and Justice Minister Mamdouh Marie — three former Mubarak loyalists — in their posts drew criticism from youth activists who helped launch the uprising on Jan. 25.

Mohammed Abbas, a member of the Egypt Youth Coalition, described the changes as “patchwork.’’ He called for swift, comprehensive changes. He said the youth groups hope to draw one million to a rally on Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the center of the uprising, and will urge them to stay overnight.

“We have to keep the pressure until all our demands are met,’’ Abbas said.

The new Cabinet includes independents and members of opposition parties for the first time in decades, pushing out the longtime ministers of oil, social justice, and labor.

■In Yemen, two young men were shot dead by government supporters last night during a protest in front of Sana University, medical workers said. They are the first deaths in clashes between pro- and antigovernment demonstrators in the nearly two weeks since students began calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Eight other people were wounded, medical workers said, when government supporters opened fire on the protesters, who have been staging a sit-in in front of Sana University since Sunday morning.

A makeshift medical clinic treated the wounded while they waited for ambulances to arrive. Protesters at the clinic chanted, “There is no God but God.’’

About 2,000 protesters remained last night after the shooting. They have vowed to stay until Saleh steps down.

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