Egypt aviation minister named PM

President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday appointed Ahmed Shafiq as Egypt’s new prime minister, hours after sacking the government under pressure from massive anti-regime protests, state television said.

Mubarak “this evening tasked General Ahmed Shafiq with forming a cabinet,” it reported. Shafiq, aviation minister in the outgoing government, a former air force commander and head of Egyptair, commands respect among political circles including the opposition.

The appointment is one of several measures which Mubarak has pledged to take in an effort to appease nationwide demands for his ouster as well as for deep political and economic reforms.