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Fuel-price rises of up to 80% hit Egyptians

Posted: July 6, 2014 at 3:34 a.m.

Egyptian drivers wait in line to buy fuel at a gasoline station in Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, July 5, 2014. Egypt's government raised the prices of fuel by up to 78 percent starting Saturday, following on a promise to cut subsidies that eat up nearly a quarter of the state budget, the official news agency reported. The country's successive leaders have balked at reducing subsidies because half of the country's 85 million people live at or below the poverty line of $2 a day and rely on government subsidies of wheat and fuel for survival.

Egypt's prime minister on Saturday defended his government's decision to introduce a steep rise in fuel prices, saying energy subsidies in the past decade have cost the treasury nearly $100 billion that could have been used to bolster essential services.

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