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The Cities This Week: Edition 23




Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi demonstrate at Tahrir Square in Cairo January 25, 2013. (Reuters)

Protesters opposing Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi demonstrate at Tahrir Square in Cairo January 25, 2013. Source: Reuters

CAIRO

A tense calm has descended on Egypt following nights of fierce clashes between supporters and opponents of the ousted president Mohamed Morsi. At least 30 people were killed and more than 1,000 wounded in the violence that erupted on Friday and continued through the night. A coalition of conservative groups led by Muslim Brotherhood has vowed further demonstrations on Saturday, raising fears of renewed violence.The coalition is demanding the restoration of Morsi as the president. He was ousted three days ago in a military coup. Battle lines remain drawn as anti-Morsi protesters spent the night in Cairo’s iconic Tahrir Square, with checkpoints manned by civilians. Pro-Morsi supporters have also vowed to come on to the streets to press their demand.

SANA

A roadside bomb in Yemen’s capital Sana’a has killed three soldiers and injured two others during a security patrol. A security official said the blast early on Saturday targeted a car in Sana’a’s al-Hasaba district, a centre of opposition to former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh, who formally ceded power in February last year. The official said it was unknown who carried out the attack. Yemen is the poorest Arab state, with a third of the population living on less than £1.50 a day. The central government faces a Shia uprising in the north, an Islamist insurgency in the south and east, and a southern separatist movement.C

SAN FRANCISCO

Commuter rail service in the San Francisco area will resume on Friday after striking employees of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system agreed to extend current contracts by 30 days, a system spokeswoman said on Friday. The strike, the first since 1997 by BART’s workers, began on Monday after talks broke down just hours before labor agreements expired. The system’s trains transport 400,000 riders daily across the San Francisco Bay area. Commuters who rely on BART’s train service and who could not work from home were forced to drive, join carpools or crowd onto buses and ferries for lengthy and frustrating commutes. The increased car traffic choked area highways, particularly the Bay Bridge linking cities on the east side of San Francisco Bay to San Francisco.

CAPE TOWN

Following the successful trial of green painted cycle lanes in a section of Bree Street, the City of Cape Town has made a decision to demarcate all cycle lanes that are in roadways by painting them green. This colourisation helps to promote safety and awareness of other modes of transport such as vehicles and pedestrians. The next step will be to paint the remaining sections of the Bree Street lanes green and install the appropriate cycle signage. Albert Road through Mowbray, Salt River and Woodstock and Strand Street in the Cape Town CBD will be the next route to receive this colourisation treatment, which should commence in late August 2013.

MEXICO CITY

US airlines have cancelled flights into and out of Mexico City for a second day over fears that ash from a rumbling volcano could affect their planes. Delta and United Airlines were among the companies that stopped at least a dozen flights on Friday. On Thursday, more than 40 flights were cancelled, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded. Popocatepetl volcano has been rumbling all year, and began spewing ash and steam earlier in the week.

LAGOS

A controversial expressway between Lagos and Ibadan is set to be a 10-lane road. The Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) recently declared that the reconstruction of the Ibadan-Lagos expressway is to commence soon and turn the decrepit road into a 10-lane highway. The project is to be funded by the Nigerian Federal Government. Land dispossession, funding, contracts, the state of the present road and the time it has taken the government to agree to fix it are just some of the factors that make the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway controversial.

KONZA CITY

The Ministry of Lands and Housing yesterday suspended its operations around Konza Techno city to give room for a consensus with the landowners. The resolution was reached in a meeting held at the proposed city’s site. The meeting was led by Physical Planning department director Augustine Masinde and Konza Ranching Society chair David Mutangili. It was attended by members of Konza and Malili co-operative societies. The members have accused the government of locking them out of the physical planning of the two and 10-kilometre buffer zones next to the city. They had vowed to block further government activity on their land without their knowledge. During the four-hour closed door meeting, the members had threatened to reject any proposals by the ministry officials.

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Melissa Meyer

Future Cape Town London-based correspondent

Urbanist-in-training from Cape Town, currently working in London. MSc City Design & Social Science.

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