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At least seven policemen and one police officer in a drive-by shooting in Helwan, a district in Cairo.

According to initial reports, the assailants were waving an ISIS flag before attacking the police personnel who were in a vehicle in Helwan. These reports, which were first spread by Egyptian private newspaper Youm7, could not be independently verified by Egyptian Streets.

The assailants fled the scene immediately after the attack. More than 50 bullets were fired said an investigative team on the scene.

Mohammed Hamed, one of today`s victims

Mohammed Hamed, one of today’s victims

One of those killed has been identified by state media Al-Ahram as Lieutenant Mohammed Hamed.

A statement released by Egypt’s Ministry of Interior confirmed reports of the attack, adding that the police personnel had been involved in routine security patrols and were in a microbus when they were attacked by unknown assailants riding in a pick-up truck. The Ministry of Interior said that at least five people were involved in the attack. Four of the attackers were hiding in the box of the pick-up truck before opening fire.

The Ministry of Interior also identified all the victims in the attack as: Lieutenant Mohammed Hamed and policemen Adel Mustafa Muhammed, Ahmed Hamed Mahmoud, Alaa Hussein Eid, Saber Abu Nab Ahmed, Ahmed Marzouk Tammam, Dawoud Aziz Farag, and Ahmed Ibrahim Adellah.

It remains unclear who is responsible for the attack. However, one Facebook page which goes by the name ‘Popular Resistance Egypt‘(‘المقاومة الشعبية_ مصر’) claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that it was intended to mark 1,000 days since the dispersal of pro-Morsi protesters at Rabaa Al-Adaweya. Egyptian Streets could not confirm the authenticity of the claim.

This story is developing.

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Months after offering to buy an island for refugees, Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, Egypt’s second richest man, said he is offering 100 million and other aid to help refugees.

According to Forbes, Sawiris said he was “frustrated” after Greece and Italy turned down his initial offer to buy an island that would host refugees and provide jobs for them. Sawiris told Forbes that he had also failed to reach the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Instead, Sawiris is now offering 100 million to a government that would would give him land to develop for refugees.

“Any government that will give me land, that will allow me to build on this land, I will do it,” said Sawiris to Forbes. “I will spend 100 million.”

More than 3,000 refugees have drowned in 2015 and 2016 while attempting to reach Europe and other parts of the world for a safe haven. In September 2015, Sawiris said the problem was not money, but drive and initiative to actually help refugees.

“I’m actually frustrated. Because they have a problem. And someone comes and said they have a solution, and they don’t act,” said Sawiris to Forbes in his latest statements.

When he was asked in September 2015 why he had not implemented such an idea in his own home country, Sawiris tweeted in response that he would need permission from the Egyptian government and that there are no jobs in Egypt.

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At least seven policemen and one police officer in a drive-by shooting in Helwan, a district in Cairo.

According to initial reports, the assailants were waving an ISIS flag before attacking the police personnel who were in a vehicle in Helwan. These reports could not be independently verified by Egyptian Streets.

The assailants fled the scene immediately after the attack.

Mohammed Hamed, one of today`s victims

Mohammed Hamed, one of today’s victims

One of those killed has been identified by state media Al-Ahram as Lieutenant Mohammed Hamed.

A statement released by Egypt’s Ministry of Interior confirmed reports of the attack, adding that the police personnel had been involved in routine security patrols and were in a microbus when they were attacked by unknown assailants riding in a pick-up truck. The Ministry of Interior said that at least five people were involved in the attack. Four of the attackers were hiding in the box of the pick-up truck before opening fire.

The Ministry of Interior also identified all the victims in the attack as: Lieutenant Mohammed Hamed and policemen Adel Mustafa Muhammed, Ahmed Hamed Mahmoud, Alaa Hussein Eid, Saber Abu Nab Ahmed, Ahmed Marzouk Tammam, Dawoud Aziz Farag, and Ahmed Ibrahim Adellah.

This story is developing.

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By Menna Zaki, Aswat Masriya

Diplomatic ties have been restored, bilateral coordination is “better than ever” as an Israeli minister said in April, and political relations continue to strengthen. So can Egypt and Israel have a “friendly” football match between their national teams, for instance?

The idea was humoured in February by the Israeli embassy when it asked users to share their views and feelings about such a hypothetical sports game.

Although the Israeli suggestion was met with rejection from the head of the Egyptian Football Association, who told Alarabiya TV station that the idea is “impossible,” the issue passed with no loud uproar from Egyptian public opinion.

Analysts believe that the Egyptian people were once more zealous in their opposition to Israeli policies and to normalisation of bilateral relations. They sympathised with the Palestinians and the Palestinian cause vis-à-vis Israel, with which they engaged in three wars in the past century, in addition to the 1948 war. During the time of the second Intifada, which erupted in 2000, Egyptian youth were seen protesting against Israel on the streets and on university campuses amid calls for political and economic boycotts, notwithstanding the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty, which became the first of its kind between Israel and an Arab country when it was signed in 1979.

But more recently, Egyptians’ reaction to the signs of warming ties between the two governments has grown less intense, and the level of their defiance to their rulers’ relations with Israel has waned.

Hamas demonised

Ahmed Abd Rabou, an Egyptian political scientist and a visiting scholar at the University of Denver, agrees that the popular reaction to normalisation is not “as intense” as it was 10 years ago, attributing this to a number of reasons including that some Egyptians “under the pressure, phobia and the trauma of Egyptian media” believe that the real threat to the national security in Egypt is Hamas and the Palestinians.

“Some new enemies have replaced Israel on the minds of many Egyptians, including but not limited to Muslim Brothers,” he added.

Since the ouster of then-President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in July 2013, Egyptian authorities have led a crackdown on the Islamist group.

An offshoot of the Brotherhood, the Palestinian movement Hamas has been under attack by Egyptian politicians and by pundits who support the government. Hamas controls the Gaza Strip, which borders Egypt’s Sinai and Israel, and it is often accused of infiltrating “terrorists” into Sinai and targeting Egyptian security personnel.

An Egypt-based Palestinian in his late twenties told Aswat Masriya that in the past two years Egyptians have been more inclined to believe that Palestinians are responsible for all the turmoil going on inside Egypt, especially in North Sinai, “thanks to the Egyptian media.”

Palestinian-Egyptian activist Ramy Shaath believes that blaming Hamas and the Palestinians is part of “an intensified campaign aiming to distort the image of Palestinians in Egyptians’ mindset.”

Though it managed to do so, the campaign “didn’t succeed in making Egyptians feel inclined towards the Zionist entity,” said Shaath, who is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) spokesman in Egypt.

In fact, when they could, tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered in Tahrir Square waving Egyptian and Palestinian flags in May 2011, in the wake of the January 25 Uprising that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled the country for 30 years.

But protests, including those for the Palestine cause, have become scarcer after a post-Mursi interim government imposed an assembly law that practically bans protests, since it stipulates that protests’ organisers must obtain permission from the security authorities beforehand.

Egyptians’ own “catastrophes”

A Palestinian based in the West Bank, who requested anonymity, told Aswat Masriya in an online conversation that though she is not big on politics, she believes there are a lot of “catastrophes” going on around the world, especially in Egypt, which makes it too hard for people to care about anything but their own problems.

For one young Egyptian, who also preferred not to be identified, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has rather become “a given” in later years, even if Egyptians have not lost their sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

Egyptians have become consumed with their own day-to-day issues and problems, he added.

He and others no longer march in furious protests against Israel while a third “intifada” is raging in Jerusalem.

Due to the current security crackdown and the protest law, the best Egyptian youth can do now is share a post on Facebook or write a status to vent their frustration, he said.

Government pushing towards normalisation

Both BDS’ Shaath and Abd Rabou, the political scientist, believe that the Egyptian government is pushing towards normalisation. Shaath listed several incidents that took place over the past few months signaling warming ties between Egypt and Israel.

Most prominently, there is the meeting between former parliamentarian Tawfiq Okasha and Israeli Ambassador Haim Koren in February, which eventually cost Okasha his position as a lawmaker.

Also, in October Egypt voted for Israel’s membership at the United Nation’s Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space for the first time since 1948.

Another key incident was the visit of Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II to Jerusalem in November to lead the funeral prayers for Metropolitan Archbishop Abraham of Jerusalem and the Near East. The visit drew heavy criticism as it was the first since a 1980 decision by the Holy Synod banned Copts from visiting Jerusalem. The Pope however described his visit as a “humane duty”.

Finally, Egyptian-Israeli diplomatic relations have been fully restored in 2016 after a three-year gap, which started in 2012 when Mursi recalled the Egyptian ambassador in protest against an Israeli attack on Gaza.

Today, the two countries have unprecedented intelligence coordination, as a senior IDF official recently said.

Abd Rabou believes that the government is “doing it gradually and with a very low-profile policy given that the support given to [Egyptian President Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi is stacked at opposing Israel and Zionism.”

Shaath, however, expressed skepticism that attempts to normalise relations will succeed in bringing the two peoples closer in the future.

Abd Rabou thinks it may happen, even though “it will never happen without difficulties or resistance from the Egyptian public,” given that Egyptians are moody and may swing at any moment.

(AFP FILE PHOTO / TAREK EL-GABASS)

(AFP FILE PHOTO / TAREK EL-GABASS)

A Cairo criminal court referred six co-defendants of former President Mohammed Morsi to the Grand Mufti in what is known as the Qatar espionage case.

The referral to the Grand Mufti is procedural in the issuance of death sentences and requires his religious opinion for the court to confirm death sentences.

The six defendants who received death sentences include filmmaker Ahmed Afifi, flight attendant Mohamed Kilany, teaching assistant Ahmed Esmail, RASSD reporter Asmaa al-Khatb, and Al-Jazeera journalists Alaa Sablan and Ibrahim Helal. Three of the defendants were sentenced in absentia and will have the sentences quashed for an appeal if they ever hand themselves over and appear in court.

The other five defendants, including former President Morsi who was charged with leaking state secrets, will see their fate decided on June 18.

The defendants are accused of leaking confidential intelligence files to Qatar in exchange for money. The prosecution also accused the defendants of working for the “terrorist” Muslim Brotherhood organization, reported Aswat Masriya.

Despite the verdicts, all sentences can still be appealed.

The Qatar espionage case is the fourth major case involving Morsi since his ouster in July 2013. Morsi was sentenced in 2015 to death in a jailbreak case, and life in prison for leaking documents to organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah.

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Sadiq Khan, a British Muslim, became London’s first Muslim mayor after a tough campaign.

Khan, the son of a bus driver and a British Labour Party member, was often attacked for his faith by his competitor Tory Zac Goldsmith. The Conservatives, throughout the campaign, were accused of attempting to smear Khan by accusing him of links to extremism.

“I am so proud that London has today chosen hope over fear,” said Khan during his victory speech, adding that he had never imagined “someone like me could be elected as mayor of London.”

According to the BBC, Khan’s margin of victory, 13.6%, is the largest personal mandate of any politician in UK history.

Khan, who was born to Pakistani immigrants to the United Kingdom, was congratulated by outgoing mayor Boris Johnson who wished him “every possible success”.

The new mayor has promised to be a mayor “for all Londoners”.

Archaeologists Uncover a Symbolic Code Hidden in the Crater-Filled Plaza of the Moon in Teotihuacan

For weeks, archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of Mexico have been digging and exploring, for the first time, the bowels of the Plaza of the Moon at Teotihuacán. The team was surprised to find that when they saw the plaza facing the majestic Pyramid of the Moon from the air, it looked like a crater-packed moonscape.

They examined the series of holes and found that they had smooth green stone stelae inside them. The archaeologists also discovered passages that mark the center of this space with the directions of the universe (cardinal directions) and a series of holes containing river pebbles. All of these aspects make up a symbolic code that the ancient Teotihuacán people developed in the early stages of the city, almost 2,000 years ago.

"We are facing a new navel of the city, facing a new cosmic center. The Plaza of the Moon was not like we see it today. It was full of holes, canals, stelae, buildings were much more remote, and the Pyramid of the Moon was smaller. The limestone that forms the surface of the Plaza of the Moon was modified, we have identified more than 400 cavities that were used for over five centuries, small holes 20-25 centimeters [7.87-9.84 inches] in diameter and with depths of about 30 centimeters [11.81 inches] which cover the plaza, although the holes are more concentrated in certain areas. Many of them had river stones that were brought from elsewhere," reported Dr. Veronica Cabrera Ortega, director of the research project.

Leaving a Mark: Elaborate Tattoos Found on 3,000-Year-Old Egyptian Mummy

A bioarchaeologist studying mummies found in Deir el-Medina, Egypt has discovered a special kind of ancient tattoo. While most Egyptian mummies with tattoos only have patterns of dots and dashes, those present on the remains of a woman from 3,000 years ago are said to be the first example of a mummy from dynastic Egypt to depict actual objects.

The study comes from Anne Austin of Stanford University who presented her findings last month at a meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. By using infrared lighting and an infrared sensor, Austin found that the mummy has over 30 tattoos – although many of them are not visible to the naked eye.

As the mummy`s skin is distorted and covered in resin, it is difficult to see many of the tattoos, such as these Hathor cows, with the naked eye.

As the mummy`s skin is distorted and covered in resin, it is difficult to see many of the tattoos, such as these Hathor cows, with the naked eye. (Anne Austin)

Ritually Motivated Traditions May Be Behind Holes Drilled into Skulls in Prehistoric Russia

Researchers believe holes cut in people’s skulls more than 4,000 years ago in Russia involved some kind of rite rather than medical surgery. Amazingly, some of the people, who were apparently very important, survived the operation, which is known because the bone partly grew back.

The trepanation (also spelled trephination) was done to the backs of the skulls of 13 people whose remains were found at seven prehistoric sites in southwestern Russia, says ScienceNews.org in an article about the operations.

Archaeologist Julie Gresky and her colleagues reported their findings in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology in April 2016. Dr. Gresky is with the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin.

One of the skull holes from the current study.

One of the skull holes from the current study. (German Archaeological Institute)

The researchers say these people had high social status, but one can’t help but wonder if they balked at having a rather large hole drilled in their skulls. The holes were about the size of American silver dollars or even larger.

senzoclub

Last weekend, Senzo Sporting Club was opened in Hurghada, on hopes that the 105,000 square meters will revive tourism along Egypt’s Red Sea.

The sports complex, which is only minutes from Hurghada International Airport, aims to attract athletes, both amateur and professionals, locally and globally, to use the sports club facilities in tournaments and seasonal training camps.

“I can promise you that this enterprise will be one of the Red Sea’s major attractions,” owner of Senzo Club Kamel Abu Ali told Egyptian Streets.

Ibrahim Abu Ashra, Egyptian Swiss Company’s CEO, stressed that tourism is no longer limited to visiting ancient ruins. Instead, the new global trend is to link tourism with sports as majority of people prefer to spend holidays and leisure time to exercise or watch aspects of sports activity in developed countries.

An investment of EGP 350 million was put into four swimming pools and three soccer fields, handball, squash, volleyball, and tennis courts, three multi-purpose racetracks, as well as a snack bar, a children’s area, and an amphitheater.

Captian Abdelrahman Soliman, who supervised the workouts of about fifty players throughout the opening day, said that the club is one of the best he has ever seen.

“Nothing is missing [in the club]. They tried to gather everything in one place,” the trainer said.

Although Soliman thinks that the club will depend upon Hurghada’s inhabitants and tourists, and that it would be hard for people to come from Cairo to there weekend, he expressed willingness to train in the club if asked.

The second phase of the club, which is to be completed by the end of 2016, consists of a hotel to serve campsites, including the national teams and clubs, as well as a global medical health center.

When the second phase is done and the stadium is built, the club will encourage European teams to come and train here in winter like they do in Dubai and other countries, Abu Ali said.

The owner hopes that next winter the club will host four European teams.

“Training here will be good marketing for tourism, and this is our main target,” he said.

The idea started two years ago, and it took around a year and a half to be implemented.

“We had hoped to finish it sooner, but the last six month’s incidents that took place in Egypt affected us,” stated Abu Ali.

Red Sea governor Ahmed Abdelrahman told Egyptian Streets that the absence of the Russian tourists affected the occupancy ratio.

“The club is a new addition to the Red Sea area because we were missing the sports tourism field,” Abdelrahman said.

Three international tournaments were held in Hurghada in the past ten days, starting with the World Karate Championships and the World Equestrian Games, and ending with the World Open Squash Championship, the governor pointed out.

“All these tournaments were covered by world media which enhanced the image of Egypt abroad showing the truth about the Egyptian situation regarding the safety of our resorts,” Abdelrahman said, adding that “all the tourists that visit us praise our security situation”.

Abu Ali asserted that the project faced no problems with the government, and that the paperwork was finished smoothly.

“The project should inspire the government to build and innovate things that help our country,” the businessman believes.

Saudi Iranian a capella artist Alaa Wardi got together with music platform Anghami to create the latest viral video that’s breaking the internet in the Middle East. With 42 hit songs, Wardi goes through the history of Arabic music dating back to before the 1900s until today.

Starting off with “Lamma Bada Yatathanna,” a muwashah song, which is a form of classical Arabic music dating back to medieval times, Wardi moves on to the Egyptian popular music icons Sayyid Darwish and Umm Kulthum as well as Layla Murad in songs representing the 1930s and 1940s.

Continuing on the Egyptian track, for the 1950s and 1960s Wardi impersonates prominent singers Abdel Halim Hafez and Mohamed Abdel Wahhab.

Covering tunes by famed Saudi Arabian singer Talal Maddah and Lebanese superstar Fairouz in the 1970s and 1980a, Wardi transitions into the 1990s with Amr Diab’s “Habiby Ya Nour El Ayn” and “Didi” by Algerian Cheb Khaled.

The 1990s also sees Wardi perform songs by Lebanese singer Elissa and by the turn of the millennium two other Lebanese stars, Haifa Wehbe and Nancy Ajram, enter.

Going through songs by Saber El Robaey, Hakim and Hussein al-Jassmi, he finally arrives at the 2015 superhit “Enta Moellem” by Moroccan artist Saad Lamjarred.

With not only presenting the music of each decade, Alaa Wardi also changes his outfit (except for his jeans!) to portray the fashion of the time, creating a fun collage of the development of Arabic music in the last century.

If you’re visiting from Facebook and the video did not load above, click here to watch it on YouTube.

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In February 2016, Egyptian Streets reported on the apparent news that Egyptians could now travel to Colombia without obtaining a pre-arrival visa.

While this was welcomed by many who expressed their wishes on social media to visit the South American country, one Egyptian and his German wife discovered that it was not so easy after all.

Ali Al Sayed and his wife decided to visit Colombia for their honeymoon, but Ali was refused entry to the country once landing in Colombia for lacking a visa. Ali’s friend, Yehia Darwish, who contacted Egyptian Streets, said that Ali was “kept like an animal without a hotel room nor his passport”.

Prior to arrival, Ali and his wife checked with Colombia’s Honorary Consulate in Stuttgart whether Egyptians would require a pre-arrival visa. The Honorary Consulate responded, stating that “Egyptian citizens do not need a tourist visa to travel to Colombia”.

Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines, which allowed Ali and his wife to board the plane despite an apparent lack of a visa, responded to a complaint by Ali’s wife, stating that “problems sometimes occur in the airline industry, too.” Airlines have a responsibility to check, prior to boarding, whether passengers have the required visa and paperwork to be admitted to the destination country.

Despite this series of blunders, and apparent confirmations that Egyptians can visit Colombia visa-free, Colombia’s migration authorities informed Ali that only diplomats and government officials are exempt from obtaining a visa. Migration authorities confirmed that the Honorary Consulate provided false information and that Turkish Airlines had made a mistake.

Thankfully, after support from the Egyptian Consul in Colombia, Colombia decided not to deport Ali, who had spent more than 24 hours stuck at the airport. Instead, he is set to visit Ecuador, where he is able to apply online and enter with a visa on entry.

Ali’s friend said that he wanted to get the story out to warn Egyptians of the importance of “double and triple” checking when it comes to traveling with the Egyptian passport.

“[I]t would be good to tell people that they should stand up for their rights and to seek help from the Egyptian foreign offices, despite the many shortcomings of the government in Egypt, and abroad they can still offer advice and assistance, even if it just moral in nature, which makes a difference in a tough situation,” said Darwish.

“In the end of the day my friend cut his losses and wasn’t deported, which was a happy ending but in other cases it could be worse like prison time in some countries.”

Egyptian Streets apologizes for any confusion caused and urges travelers to always check with the consulate or embassy of the country which they are visiting. While in this case the traveler checked with the Honorary Consulate, Egyptian Streets recommends travelers to attempt to confirm visa conditions with Consulates or Embassies instead, as Honorary Consulates may sometimes be lacking in resources and may lack up-to-date information, despite being official in nature.

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Egypt’s government approved a mandate by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, paving the way for the launching of 4G mobile services in Egypt, reported state media Al-Ahram.

The move to introduce 4G brings Egypt in line with dozens of other countries across the globe that implemented 4G over the past few years.

4G, short for fourth generation, succeeds 3G and allows faster internet peak speeds. The development is significant for millions across Egypt who have been rallying for faster internet speeds.

Importantly, it is a significant step for mobile users. There are more than 100 million mobile subscribers in Egypt, more than the population itself.

A report issued by the Ministry of Communications in November 2014 shows a fair growth in internet access via mobile devices that reached 7.2 percent, with a total number of internet mobile users that reached 20.2 million out of a total 44.5 million internet users in Egypt.

In 2015, Egypt’s then-Minister of Communications said that Egypt would begin offering 4G mobile services in the first quarter of 2016, adding that the internet will “look completely different” by the end of 2016.

Archaeologists Say They Have Found an Important Medieval Site Linked to Scottish Hero William Wallace

Archaeologists think they’ve confirmed the site where William Wallace was dubbed Guardian of Scotland but are restricted from excavating more because of so many graves in the churchyard.

The site, Auld Kirk in Selkirk, is the same place where tradition says the national hero Wallace, who led a famous rebellion against England, was confirmed as guardian by priests and the nobility in 1297 AD, says an article in The National. Kirk is an old word for church.

A geophysical analysis of the ruins of Auld Kirk revealed an even older church underneath the current structure, possibly a medieval building that archaeologists say strengthens the claim that it was the Kirk o’ the Forest. In that church, officials held the ceremony appointing Wallace and Sir Andrew Moray to the joint guardianship of the country.

It wasn’t long after that Moray died and Wallace was the sole guardian, but he served in that capacity only until the following year, when the English defeated his forces in 1298 at Falkirk.

But Wallace continued to serve the Scottish people, including was a warrior.

Photo: AFP

Photo: AFP

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree on Wednesday extending the state of emergency in designated areas of the North Sinai Peninsula for an extra three months due to the ”dangerous security situation,” according to state-run Ahram.

The state of emergency will span from Tel Rafah to al-Awga and from West al-Arish to al-Halal Mountain. A night-time curfew from 7pm until 6am will be implemented while the entrance to al-Arish will see a 4-hour curfew from 1 am to 5 am.

The decree states that any citizen found in public during curfew hours will be imprisoned.

The original decision to impose a curfew on North Sinai was issued in August 2013 by then-interim president Adly Mansour following social unrest after the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Mohamed Morsi was ousted from the presidency.

The Sinai Peninsula has seen an uptick in violence between militant groups and the Egyptian army and security forces since the toppling of Morsi in July 2013. Hundreds of army personnel and militants have been killed, but because independent journalists are not allowed to report from the area the figures are difficult to confirm.

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A delegation from Italy will travel to Cairo in the coming days to discuss with Egyptian representatives the ongoing investigation into the murder of Italian student Giulio Regeni.

Judicial sources told Italian newspapers ANSA that a new set of meetings will take place “in the next few days” between Egypt and Italy regarding the Regeni case, following a request by Egyptian Prosecutor General Ahmed Nabil Sadek.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday Italy received the phone records of some of the 13 Egyptian citizens Regeni had been in contact with prior to his death, which Italy previously had requested. Egyptian authorities had up until now refused to hand over the phone records, claiming it would contradict Egypt’s constitution.

In a separate development, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said in a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday that he was “concerned by the tone” of recent remarks made by his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni.

“I have followed the Italian Foreign Minister’s remarks that were made on more than one occasion during the past period, and I am concerned by the tone of these statements, as they do not reflect recognition of shared interests between the two countries, nor the amount of cooperation shown by the Egyptian side concerning this incident from the very beginning, but rather they reflect the interests of one side,” Shoukry said.

Last month, Italy’s Foreign Minister warned Egypt that his country is prepared to take “immediate and appropriate” measures if Egyptian authorities failed to speed up the pace of the investigation into the student’s death. During the same month, Italy recalled its ambassador in Cairo for “consultations” because of what the country considered to be the slow speed of the investigation.

Regeni, 28, was researching the sensitive topic of independent trade unions in Egypt when he was abducted on 25 January from central Cairo on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising. His severely tortured and mutilated body was later discovered in a ditch in the outskirts of the city.

Human rights groups claim the torture marks found on the student’s body are reminiscent of methods used by Egyptian security forces. Egyptian officials have consistently denied that he was detained by police or was under surveillance in any way during his stay in Egypt.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

For the second year in a row, the Techne Summit is set to take place between 7 and 8 May in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, startups and industry professionals from the Middle East and around the world.

The event will focus on connecting companies and entrepreneurs, as well as fostering collaboration and presenting opportunities for businesses particularly keen on growing in the Middle East and Africa regions.

Egyptian government departments and industry associations supporting the summit include Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, The Federation of the Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, The Information Technology Industry Development Agency and The General Division of Computer and Software.

This year’s event will feature a wide range of local and international speakers, ranging from the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser El Kady to Qalaa Holdings’ Hisham El-Khazindar, Elmenus partner Hassan Massoud and Lauren Mailian of the LMB Group.

Last year, the Techne Summit brought together 48 speakers, 900 attendees, 39 startups and 100 volunteers from 12 countries worldwide. This year, the event organizers expect to see roughly 100 speakers, 160 startups and almost 3,000 attendees.

Closing video from the 2015 summit

Among the topics that will be covered during the two-day event are: The Future of Wearable Devices, Artificial Intelligence, Mobile Security, Big Data, The Future of Media, Augmented Reality, The Internet of Things, Space Technology, Travel in the 21st Century and Smart Cities.

The Techne Summit will be held at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a major library and cultural center built in 2002 in commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity.

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Bibliotheca Alexandrina

For the second year in a row, the Techne Summit is set to take place between 7 and 8 May in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, startups and industry professionals from the Middle East and around the world.

The event will focus on connecting companies and entrepreneurs, as well as fostering collaboration and presenting opportunities for businesses particularly keen on growing in the Middle East and Africa regions.

Egyptian government departments and industry associations supporting the summit include Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, The Federation of the Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, The Information Technology Industry Development Agency and The General Division of Computer and Software.

This year’s event will feature a wide range of local and international speakers, ranging from the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser El Kady to Qalaa Holdings’ Hisham El-Khazindar, Elmenus partner Hassan Massoud and Lauren Mailian of the LMB Group.

Last year, the Techne Summit brought together 48 speakers, 900 attendees, 39 startups and 100 volunteers from 12 countries worldwide. This year, the event organizers expect to see roughly 100 speakers, 160 startups and almost 3,000 attendees.

Closing video from the 2015 summit

Among the topics that will be covered during the two-day event are: The Future of Wearable Devices, Artificial Intelligence, Mobile Security, Big Data, The Future of Media, Augmented Reality, The Internet of Things, Space Technology, Travel in the 21st Century and Smart Cities.

The Techne Summit will be held at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a major library and cultural center built in 2002 in commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity.

Credit: Dimtar Dilkiff/Getty Images

Credit: Dimtar Dilkiff/Getty Images

The European Union’s deal with Turkey further endangers and degrades the lives of individuals fleeing persecution and seeking asylum in Europe. This deal announced on 8 March 2016 seeks to stop the flow of migration to Europe by deporting asylum seekers from the Greek Islands to Turkey.

Deportations from the Greek Island of Chios to Turkey began on 4 April 2016. The individuals deported were from Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Syria as well as from several other countries.

The treatment of asylum seekers chosen for deportation was arbitrary and unfair. The Greek government insisted that the individuals to be deported to Turkey were those who did not want to seek asylum in Greece. However, in practice, this statement was false as the UN Refugee Agency held that thirteen individuals who were deported on 4 April 2016 had wanted to seek asylum in Greece. It was also reported that this number could be higher.

According to Human Rights Watch, the Greek authorities did not inform individuals in a timely manner that they had been selected for deportation. They also failed to advise individuals where they were being taken. Rather, in a rushed, chaotic manner, individuals were randomly singled out and taken by authorities. The individuals were not permitted to take any of their possessions. Of those individuals who carried items such as a mobile phone or documentation, the authorities confiscated them.

The question that must be asked is why is the European Union using the lives of asylum seekers as political leverage?

The plight of vulnerable individuals fleeing violence and taking a dangerous journey in order to seek safety for themselves and their families is traumatic enough. However, once these individuals arrive in a ‘safe’ country, their human rights are disregarded. For instance, in Lesbos and Chios, children, men and women, including pregnant women and disabled people, are locked up in detention centers with inadequate access to ‘health care, sanitation facilities, or legal aid.

Whilst it is noted that countries in Europe are at the forefront of the refugee crisis and that there may not be enough resources to effectively process the large number of migrants, their proximity to the crisis should be an even greater reason to ensure that individuals seeking asylum are protected, their human rights are upheld and that their trauma is addressed. However, this has not been the case.

Rather, in a state of panic and concern to maintain a successful political future, 28 states within the European Union have come to a deal with Turkey to deport irregular migrants. This deal blatantly disregards the human rights of asylum seekers and prolongs the trauma and insecurity of those who have experienced enormous hardship. This deal effectively forces asylum seekers to re-live their struggle, namely by again being separated from their families and friends, by being stripped of their belongings and by being taken to a foreign place where their future remains uncertain.

Now, to Turkey – WHY Turkey?

European Council President Donald Tusk praised Turkey as being ‘the best example for the whole world on how we should treat refugees.’ I am not sure whether Tusk’s statement was a joke. How can Turkey be the ‘best example for the whole world’, when it has scant regard for the lives of asylum seekers and scant regard for the protection of human rights.

Recently, on 18 April 2016, Turkey denied entry to 100,000 people from Syria. Even worse, it shot individuals who were attempting to flee the violence in Syria. Turkey also announced that it will be returning some asylum seekers to their country of origin, thus violating the principle of non-refoulement (a principle that prohibits a country from returning a person to a country where they face the risk of persecution).

Although Turkey has stated that it provides work authorizations for Syrian refugees with temporary protection and provides access to health services and education, Syrians in Turkey have told Human Rights Watch that they ‘face difficulty in registering for temporary protection and receiving identification cards.’ Protection visas and identification cards are necessary for employment, health care and schools. Further, asylum seekers from Iraq, Afghanistan and non-European countries are not even eligible for temporary protection in Turkey.

So, by looking at Turkey’s history in relation to the treatment of asylum seekers, how can we be sure that the asylum seekers deported to Turkey will be protected? How can Tusk say that Turkey’s treatment of refugees is the best example provided to the world?

Human Rights Watch has said that Turkey ‘cannot be considered a safe country for non-European refugees and asylum seekers because it does not provide effective protection’. The 28 states party to the EU deal with Turkey should reconsider this agreement. The human rights of refugees should be at the forefront of their debate and should be given top priority.

Rock paintings in Tadrart Acacus region of Libya dated from 12,000 BC to 100 AD.

The question of whether warfare is encoded in our genes, or appeared as a result of civilization, has long fascinated anyone trying to get to grips with human society. Might a willingness to fight neighboring groups have provided our ancestors with an evolutionary advantage? With conflicts raging across the globe, these questions have implications for understanding our past, and perhaps our future as well.

The Enlightenment philosophers Thomas Hobbes and Jean-Jacques Rousseau had different visions of prehistory. Hobbes saw humanity’s earliest days as dominated by fear and warfare, whereas Rousseau thought that, without the influence of civilization, humans would be at peace and in harmony with nature.

The debate continues to this day. Without a time machine, researchers examining warfare in prehistory largely rely on archaeology, primatology and anthropology.

Earlier this year, details of one of the most striking examples of prehistoric intergroup violence were published – 27 skeletons, including those of children, had been found at Nataruk near Lake Turkana, Kenya. Blades embedded in bones, fractured skulls and other injuries demonstrated this had been a massacre. The bodies were left, unburied, next to a lagoon on the lake’s former western shore, around 10,000 years ago.

The Egyptian-German mission working in Heliopolis (modern Mataria) successfully discovered new evidences suggest the existence of Nectanebo I of 30th Dynasty in the area of the sun temple.

Dr. Mahmoud Affifi, head of the ancient Egypt department, said "A number of carved stone blocks, sandstone and limestone columns as well as parts of basalt walls bearing inscriptions refer to royal projects in the area dedicated to goddess Hathor."

Dr. Ayman Ashmawy, head of the Egyptian part of the team, said "The eastern gate of the temple was discovered showing many inscriptions and ritual scenes and bronze statues of Bastet as well as large stone blocks maybe referring to a location of a temple dated back to the reign of Ramses II"

Dr. Dietrich Raue, head of the mission said "The mission worked this season in the second area of the southern east side of the temple where workshops dated to the 4th century B.C and later layers of Ptolemaic period which corresponds with the previous discoveries that showed a heavy activities of 30th dynasty kings on this area of the sun temple "Oun" in Heliopolis." 
The mission started unearthing parts of chapel, first lower parts then upper parts, limestone blocks of Nectanebo I, now the discoveries continues of the previously unknown temple in this location. 

#Egypt #Cairo #Heliopolis #Egyptology #Archaeology #AncientEgypt #LuxorTimes


For more information on the history of the mission`s work on this site, please visit the links below.

http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.com.eg/2015/04/royal-chapel-discovered-in-heliopolis.html?m=1

http://luxortimesmagazine.blogspot.com.eg/2015/10/royal-chapel-discovered-in-old.html?m=1

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For the second year in a row, the Techne Summit is set to take place between 7 and 8 May in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, startups and industry professionals from the Middle East and around the world.

The event will focus on connecting companies and entrepreneurs, as well as fostering collaboration and presenting opportunities for businesses particularly keen on growing in the Middle East and Africa regions.

Egyptian government departments and industry associations supporting the summit include Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, The Federation of the Egyptian Chambers of Commerce, The Information Technology Industry Development Agency and The General Division of Computer and Software.

This year’s event will feature a wide range of local and international speakers, ranging from the Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser El Kady to Qalaa Holdings’ Hisham El-Khazindar, Elmenus partner Hassan Massoud and Lauren Mailian of the LMB Group.

Last year, the Techne Summit brought together 48 speakers, 900 attendees, 39 startups and 100 volunteers from 12 countries worldwide. This year, the event organizers expect to see roughly 100 speakers, 160 startups and almost 3,000 attendees.

Closing video from the 2015 summit

Among the topics that will be covered during the two-day event are: The Future of Wearable Devices, Artificial Intelligence, Mobile Security, Big Data, The Future of Media, Augmented Reality, The Internet of Things, Space Technology, Travel in the 21st Century and Smart Cities.

The Techne Summit will be held at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a major library and cultural center built in 2002 in commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity.

pablo (83)

Saudi businessman Hassan Ali Ahmed Al-Send, who was kidnapped along the Cairo-Ismailia Desert Road, was freed on Thursday after a police operation.

According to Youm7, the police operation lasted 10 days and had resulted in the “tightening of the noose” around the abductors. The businessman was freed and found on the Cairo-Suez road on Thursday morning, reportedly in good health.

The 70-year-old businessman’s kidnappers reportedly demanded a US 500,000 ransom. It remains unclear whether this amount was paid or whether police managed to secure his release without the businessman’s family paying a ransom.

Al-Send is a partner in Al Shams Agro Group, a company working in the “integrated food industry.” His Egyptian business partner is a retired general whose son allegedly was kidnapped three years ago, reported Youm7 at the time of the kidnapping.

The businessman, who has a number of investment projects in Egypt, had been in Cairo for just four days before being kidnapped.

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Around half of the Egyptian population resort to paying bribes to access the basic services they need, anti-corruption watchdog said in a report on Tuesday.

The report by Transparency International is based on a survey on corruption in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2016. Egypt recorded the highest corruption level after Yemen, which pushed 77 per cent of its residents to pay bribes in exchange for basic services.

Despite the high corruption level in Egypt, only 28 per cent of Egyptians believe that corruption is growing in their country while 61 per cent from the people in the MENA region see that it has increased in their countries.

Screenshot from Transparency International`s 2016 report

Screenshot from Transparency International’s 2016 report

Transparency International spoke to more than 10,000 respondents in the region during the time period between September 2014 and November 2015.

The corruption watchdog says that Egypt “performs very badly in the area of public sector bribery, showing one of the highest bribery rates for the region.”

Based on the outcome of the survey, one quarter of the Egyptian population believe that either most or all of the public sector is corrupt. The highest corruption level is recorded in the courts sector.

Screenshot from Transparency International`s 2016 report

Screenshot from Transparency International’s 2016 report

About 45 percent of Egyptians pay bribes when issuing personal ID cards, voting cards or license, while about 43 percent  pay bribes when dealing with the police.

Despite what Egyptians incur in paying bribes when dealing with government agencies, a higher percentage of Egyptians agree on the corruption of the private sector, and not the public sector, as 38 per cent believe that most or all of the private sector’s executive managers are corrupt.

According to Transparency International, Egyptians believe that senior state officials have cleaner hands and blamed people lower in the hierarchy of being responsible for corruption.

Only 12 percent of the respondents believe that the Prime Minister and presidency officials are corrupt. The report noted that the survey conducted in Egypt asked about “officials in the presidency” rather than the “President and officials in his office” and “Court officials” rather than “Judges and magistrates.”

According to the survey, 53 percent of Egyptians believe that ordinary people can make a difference in fighting corruption, while a sizeable minority feel disempowered.

The report urged civil society organisations to “work with youth and women in specific” and it called for “targeted national and regional campaigns to fight corruption.”

Egypt ranked 88 out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2015, with a score of 36 on a scale where 0 means highly corrupt and 100 means very clean. The 2015 score represents a slight deterioration from the year before when Egypt’s score was 37.

This content is from: Aswat Masriya

Researchers Believe They May Have Located a Famous Ship Once Owned by Captain Cook

A team of researchers in the USA believe that they`ve located the area of the wreck of Captain James Cook’s ship. The HMS Endeavour is known for being the ship which reached Australia on April 19, 1770, during the first of three expeditions led by the explorer.

The ship was originally named ``The Earl of Pembroke``, and it was purchased for the expedition by Cook and renamed. The HMS Endeavour  weighed 368 tons (334 metric tons) and measured 105 feet (32 meters) long. After the adventurous voyage with Cook, the Endeavour was retired from the navy. It was renamed yet again, this time as the Lord Sandwich and became a ship used to transport troops during the war in 1775.

During the American Revolution in August 1778, Americans were in trouble and hoped for the support of the French navy. The British decided to scuttle 13 ships into Newport, including Lord Sandwich. They wanted to block the French navy en route.

Painting of the Earl of Pembroke, later HMS Endeavour, and finally Lord Sandwich leaving Whitby Harbour in 1768.

Painting of the Earl of Pembroke, later HMS Endeavour, and finally Lord Sandwich leaving Whitby Harbour in 1768. (Public Domain)

Photo: Fatma Khaled

Photo: Fatma Khaled

Media officials and journalism professors demanded the immediate tackling of violence associated with today’s Egyptian media at the 22nd annual International Journalism Conference that took place on Monday at Cairo University.

The conference was organized by Gaber Nassar, president of Cairo University, Gihan Yousry, head of the university’s Mass Communication department, and Barakat AbdelAziz, deputy head of post-graduate studies at the university.

Nagwa El Fawad, head of the National Research Council, stressed the importance of media playing a crucial role in dealing with the daily acts of violence, analyzing reasons for violence that emerges in media today, and encouraging effective solutions to protect audiences.

“We need to discipline today’s media by implementing constitutional laws of 2014, hence controlling the culture of violence that we witness in daily life,” El Fawad said.

Moataz El Sayed Abduallah, head of Cairo University’s Literature department and a professional psychiatrist delved into the reasons behind acts of violence in today’s Egyptian community.

“Our Egyptian society is no longer forgiving and violence has a specific cycle that starts with discrimination, leading to radicalism, then hatred and later all three aspects are translated in acts of violence and terrorism,” said Abduallah, who was one of the public speakers at the conferenced.

He mentioned the different forms of discrimination and intolerance that took place in society right before it became a matter of a public opinion and the topic of many talk shows, including intolerance against religion, tribes, color, sports, gender and political views.

Abduallah also stated that contemporary Egyptian talk shows nurture discrimination in viewers’ minds and incite violence through making a big deal out of individual cases.

“Media is dramatizing individual problems, such as the corruption of police forces that was an assumption built on only around 15 cases and not more of security violations, which was not worth the hassle because Egyptian society is larger than this number,” Abduallah said. “Therefore, individual cases like this may not have a crucial impact on the larger number of society; that is why it is really important to be accurate with numbers to promote credibility of media outlets.”

He stated that violence incited in talk shows and other TV news programs or in newspapers violates the social responsibility and professional media ethics that should be present in every journalist and reporter.

He concluded that effective methods to tone down negative media performance include the rebuilding of the Egyptian personality through encouraging critical thinking in schools and engaging students and youngsters in a reputable dialogue free of subjectivity. According to Abduallah, these are all initiatives that will lead to practicing real democracy and actual reform of political education.

The conference also focused on covering vibrant subjects that involved violence in films and the community to help encourage research on a wider spectrum, which present one of Egypt’s crucial current goals.

The goals of the convention also included analyzing media attempts that produce an unbalanced representation of an argument and media anchors who tend to judge and attacks certain factions or individuals without proof, which results in the loss of a media person’s objectivity.

An open discussion that took place in the conference concluded that these media attempts tend to spread hate speech that affects the audience’s behavior when dealing with women, children, people in the workplace, and street violence.

Many intellectuals and media professors also analyzed the acts of violence against journalists, stating that this violates the freedom of expression and the right of audiences to attain information.

In the same vein, “Journalists against Torture” released a statistical infograph on Monday morning that displayed the overall acts of violence against journalists in 2015.

It was also mentioned that the Ministry of Interior is responsible for violations against 276 journalists, while civilians were responsible for 155 violations, 140 journalists were attacked by government officials, organizational forces including police and military members are responsible for 52 violations, while the judiciary, private security companies and armed forces violated the rights of 23, 30, and 16 journalists, respectively.

Security forces reportedly stormed the Press Syndicate on May 1 to arrest journalists and syndicate members Amr Badr and Mahmoud El-Sakka, who attempted to participate in a sit-in at the syndicate headquarters to express their solidarity with journalists who were arrested on the April 25 in several protests.

Several parties and individuals such as journalists and lawyers denounced the act and said it was violating Article 70 of Egypt’s constitution, which declares that the Press Syndicate and its other headquarters cannot be searched except by approval from the general prosecution and with the presence of the president of the syndicate.

Emergency assembly meeting at Egypt`s Press Syndicate on Wednesday, April 4, 2016. Photo: Aswat Masriya

Emergency assembly meeting at Egypt’s Press Syndicate on Wednesday, April 4, 2016. Photo: Aswat Masriya

Egypt’s Press Syndicate called on Wednesday for the resignation of interior minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar and demanded an official apology from the presidency for the Sunday police raid of the syndicate building.

The syndicate’s demands also included the introduction of new legislation to outlaw attacks on journalists, the release of all detained journalists, the addition of a “No to media gag orders” banner on all print and online publications and the cessation of printing the interior minister’s name in all articles until he resigns, state-owned Ahram Online reported. The syndicate also vowed to go on strike if these demands are not met.

The syndicate held an emergency assembly meeting in the presence of several board members and prominent journalists, while at least two thousand journalists gathered on the syndicate building’s steps to defend the union and protest against the police violations against journalists over the past several days.

Police arrested Amr Badr and Mahmoud El Sakka, two journalists, from inside the Press Syndicate after security forces stormed the building on Sunday night in a move described by the syndicate’s head as “unprecedented” and a “violation of law.”

The interior ministry published a statement accusing Badr and El-Sakka of “hiding” and using the syndicate as a “safe haven” and capitalizing on the involvement of the syndicate to create a crisis and cause chaos between all parties involved. The ministry also denied the storming of the syndicate, saying that only eight police officers were sent out to arrest the journalists.

General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek issued on Tuesday a media gag order on the raid and said in a statement that the arrest of the two journalists was legally correct and was carried out based on an arrest order from the prosecution, and that there are no legal restrictions to arresting individuals from inside the Press Syndicate building.

While police cordoned off streets leading to the syndicate in an attempt to stem the flow of protestors looking to join the sit-in, which began on Sunday, Ahram Online reported several buses and microbuses with the “Tahya Masr” (Long Live Egypt) logo arriving at the scene with pro-Sisi demonstrators.

#برلمانى | الداخلية تلجأ لخطة العادلى وتستعين بـ”مواطنين شرفاء” فى معركتها مع الصحفيين https://t.co/XcyBbnqOVM pic.twitter.com/yLuug8Tah8

— parlmany (@parlmany) May 4, 2016

Translation: The interior ministry resorts to [former interior minister Habib] Adly’s strategy and relies on “honorable citizens” in its battle with journalists

Reports have indicated that the pro-government demonstrators have been allowed to gather freely amid the heavy police presence at the syndicate, causing some to call into question the interior ministry’s “selective application” of the country’s protest law.

A number of Egypt’s syndicates, including the Doctors’ Syndicate and the Lawyers’ Syndicate, and political forces have voiced their solidarity with the Press Syndicate in the ongoing stand-off between journalists and the interior ministry.

State-owned Al-Ahram also published on Tuesday a scathing editorial taking aim at the interior ministry, with the writer describing the storming of the syndicate as “unacceptable actions against freedom” on the ministry’s part.

Although the editorial was published without a byline, it remains an unexpected move by the newspaper, which is widely known for publishing editorials in support of the government an generally falling in line with the state’s discourse.

Tensions in Egypt have been on the rise for several weeks following an announcement from the Cabinet that Egypt and Saudi Arabia had signed an agreement outlining the two countries’ maritime territory, placing the disputed Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir within Saudi Arabia’s territory.

The announcement triggered a series of protests despite current laws prohibiting the gathering of a large number of people without prior consent from the interior ministry. The demonstrations began by decrying the agreement and the secretive manner in which it was reached but quickly morphed into anger against the interior ministry and its heavy-handed strategies of dealing with protestors, which included nationwide arrests of activists, journalists and lawyers.

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Around half of the Egyptian population resort to paying bribes to access the basic services they need, anti-corruption watchdog said in a report on Tuesday.

The report by Transparency International is based on a survey on corruption in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2016. Egypt recorded the highest corruption level after Yemen, which pushed 77 per cent of its residents to pay bribes in exchange for basic services.

Despite the high corruption level in Egypt, only 28 per cent of Egyptians believe that corruption is growing in their country while 61 per cent from the people in the MENA region see that it has increased in their countries.

Screenshot from Transparency International`s 2016 report

Screenshot from Transparency International’s 2016 report

Transparency International spoke to more than 10,000 respondents in the region during the time period between September 2014 and November 2015.

The corruption watchdog says that Egypt “performs very badly in the area of public sector bribery, showing one of the highest bribery rates for the region.”

Based on the outcome of the survey, one quarter of the Egyptian population believe that either most or all of the public sector is corrupt. The highest corruption level is recorded in the courts sector.

Screenshot from Transparency International`s 2016 report

Screenshot from Transparency International’s 2016 report

About 45 percent of Egyptians pay bribes when issuing personal ID cards, voting cards or license, while about 43 percent  pay bribes when dealing with the police.

Despite what Egyptians incur in paying bribes when dealing with government agencies, a higher percentage of Egyptians agree on the corruption of the private sector, and not the public sector, as 38 per cent believe that most or all of the private sector’s executive managers are corrupt.

According to Transparency International, Egyptians believe that senior state officials have cleaner hands and blamed people lower in the hierarchy of being responsible for corruption.

Only 12 percent of the respondents believe that the Prime Minister and presidency officials are corrupt. The report noted that the survey conducted in Egypt asked about “officials in the presidency” rather than the “President and officials in his office” and “Court officials” rather than “Judges and magistrates.”

According to the survey, 53 percent of Egyptians believe that ordinary people can make a difference in fighting corruption, while a sizeable minority feel disempowered.

The report urged civil society organisations to “work with youth and women in specific” and it called for “targeted national and regional campaigns to fight corruption.”

Egypt ranked 88 out of 168 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index 2015, with a score of 36 on a scale where 0 means highly corrupt and 100 means very clean. The 2015 score represents a slight deterioration from the year before when Egypt’s score was 37.

This content is from: Aswat Masriya

pablo (82)

An Egyptian court sentenced in absentia young Egyptian activist Sanaa Seif to six months imprisonment for “insulting a public official”.

According to state media Al-Ahram, Sanaa Seif was charged with insulting an employee from an “investigative body”.

In October 2014, Sanaa Seif and 22 others had been sentenced to three years in prison in October 2014 for violating the protest law. A year later, the young activist and 99 other prisoners, including journalists and activists, were pardoned by a Presidential decree coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha.

Responding to the ruling, Sanaa Seif said she would hand herself over at Sayeda Zeinab police station. Below is a statement by Sanaa Seif which was released by Ahdaf Soeuif on Facebook:

I have just been sentenced to 6 months in prison for “insulting a public official”. I had already decided not to attend my trial. And if there was a sentence against me I would not appeal it.

I am now on my way to Sayyeda Zeinab police station to hand myself in.

I’ll try and explain how I’ve arrived at this point.

In 2011, in the events of Cabinet Street, the Army arrested me. I was held in the Parliament building and beaten there. After I was released I recognised – in a photograph – one of the officers who beat me and I filed an official report with a copy of his photo. The police department sent me to a hospital where I was examined and got a medical report. I went through their procedures for a year. My file was sent from one Prosecutor’s office to another’s until it went before a judge. There were videos from security cameras that vanished after I’d watched them in an office in the Ministry of Justice. Then my medical report was lost so we spent time looking for it in the archives. Ten months later, they asked me to go for another medical examination and get another report. The file became inactive and I lost energy.

Three years later, in trials for these same events, it was the protestors who received life sentences.

In 2014 I helped organise a protest against the Protest Law and I was arrested. I admitted “organizing” to the Prosecution because I believe that non-violent expression of opinion is a constitutional right. In the end the charge of “organizing” was dropped and I and 22 others were sentenced to prison on false charges (possession of molotov cocktails and destruction of property) – even though I had stated my actual role.

Throughout, I took the justice system seriously. Then I find a district prosecutor telling me “I don’t want to lock you up but it’s not in my hands.” And a judge asking “What are you talking about, pre-trial detention?” while I’m standing in front of him, detained before my trial.

I’ve had the experience of dealing with the system as a plaintiff and as a defendant, and now I’m required to play, again, the role of the accused, and the lawyers are required to use up their energy defending me.

Well, this time, I will not play along. I just don’t have the energy.

I am not taking this decision lightly. Being in prison isn’t easy and I know that. And going back in will be worse after I’d started seeing my brother again and after I’d started to get my career back on track. But since they insist on setting me up it’s clear there’s going to be price to be paid. So at least I’ll pay it on my terms.

To the lawyers, my father’s colleagues and students and friends: I am sorry that this time I’m asking you not to do your work, work that I really respect. I was brought up in the house of an activist lawyer and I’ve seen how seriously devoted you all are. And because I respect you, and because I respect the law, I’ll choose to spare you, and spare the law, these outrages.

One of a Kind Ancient Tablet with Horse Racing Rules Unearthed in Turkey

A 2,000-year-old tablet with an inscription of horse racing rules has been recently discovered in the Beyşehir district of the Central Anatolian province of Konya, Turkey. It is a part of the Lukuyanus Monument, which was built in memory of a jockey named Lukuyanus.

Lukuyanus died at an early age in the Pisidia area, which was a historical region in ancient Asia Minor located in the modern-day province of Antalya. The discovery seems to be unique, as there is no information about similar tablets having been found before.

The Lukuyanus Monument in Konya, Turkey.

The Lukuyanus Monument in Konya, Turkey. (Hurriyet Daily News)

According to Hurriyet Daily News, the tablet was found at the site of the ancient hippodrome. Professor Hasan Bahar from Selçuk University’s History Department is convinced that the tablet refers to a jockey who lived during the domination of the Roman Empire in the region.

Egyptian activists shout slogans against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his government, during a demonstration protesting the government`s decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, in front of the Press Syndicate Cairo, Egypt, April 15, 2016. REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY

Egyptian activists shout slogans against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his government, during a demonstration protesting the government’s decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, in front of the Press Syndicate Cairo, Egypt, April 15, 2016.
REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY

Egypt’s General Prosecutor issued on Tuesday a media gag order on the police raid of the Press Syndicate and the arrest of two journalists from inside the building.

Police arrested Amr Badr and Mahmoud El Sakka, two journalists, from inside the Press Syndicate after security forces stormed the building on Sunday night in a move described by the syndicate’s head as “unprecedented” and a “violation of law.”

The interior ministry published a statement accusing Badr and El-Sakka of “hiding” and using the syndicate as a “safe haven” and capitalizing on the involvement of the syndicate to create a crisis and cause chaos between all parties involved. The ministry also denied the storming of the syndicate, saying that only eight police officers were sent out to arrest the journalists.

In a statement, General Prosecutor Nabil Sadek said that the arrest of the two journalists was legally correct and was carried out based on an arrest order from the prosecution, and that there are no legal restrictions to arresting individuals from inside the Press Syndicate building.

According to the prosecutor’s statement, Badr, the editor-in-chief and founder of the Yanair news portal, and El-Sakka, a journalist who works for the same outlet, are being investigated on charges of “spreading false news,” “inciting the public” and “plotting to overthrow the regime.” These charges are not related to their professional work.

The gag order was issued hours after the interior ministry mistakenly sent an internal memo about its strategy for dealing with the “Press Syndicate crisis” to journalists, rather than to the interior minister.

“The ministry must have a steady position… backtracking suggests a mistake was made, and if there is a mistake, who is responsible for it and who will be held accountable?” the memo read.

The memo detailed the ministry’s plan to sway public opinion against the syndicate by using “carefully selected experts” from police backgrounds to appear on talk shows and discuss the illegal nature of “sheltering fugitives” and stressing that the Press Syndicate is not above the law.

Tensions in Egypt have been on the rise for several weeks following an announcement from the Cabinet that Egypt and Saudi Arabia had signed an agreement outlining the two countries’ maritime territory, placing the disputed Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir within Saudi Arabia’s territory.

According to the Cabinet statement, the signing of the agreement came after six years of negotiations between the two countries, causing many to voice their concern that negotiations of such importance were carried out without public knowledge.

Some also decried the agreement as an indication that Egypt had “sold” its land in exchange for Saudi Arabian aid, particularly as the agreement was announced shortly after Saudi Arabia’s King Salman pledged USD 21.5 billion in loans and investments.

The announcement triggered a series of protests despite current laws prohibiting the gathering of a large number of people without prior consent from the interior ministry. The demonstrations began by decrying the agreement and the secretive manner in which it was reached but quickly morphed into anger against the interior ministry and its heavy-handed strategies of dealing with protestors, which included nationwide arrests of activists, journalists and lawyers.

pablo (81)

The head of Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS), Ambassador Salah Abdel Sadek, has attributed the rise of violence and extremism across the Arab world to children’s cartoon Tom and Jerry, video games and ‘violent’ movies.

During a speech at a conference titled ‘The Media and the Culture of Violence’ at Cairo University, the Ambassador said that Tom and Jerry sets an idea in the viewer’s mind that violence is natural.

“[Tom and Jerry] portrays the violence in a funny manner and sends the message that, yes, I can hit him…and I can blow him up with explosives. It becomes set in [the viewer’s] mind that this is natural,” said Ambassador Abdel Sadek.

“Video games are spreading…[those] that came out recently with technological advancements. It has become very normal for a young man to spend long hours playing video games, killing and spilling blood and he’s happy and content,” continued the Ambassador, adding that young people are then faced with social pressures that push them to resort to violence, which they consider normal and understandable.

After the SIS head’s statement, privately-owned Youm7 published an article titled “Five Accusations Tom and Jerry Faces in Egypt”. The article says the cartoon teaches children about negative habits, such as drinking alcohol, smoking, and stealing.

The author of Youm7’s article adds that Tom and Jerry warps the idea of justice, helps children come up with sinister plans, and encourages violence and the use of sharp instruments such as knives, guns, and chainsaws.

Despite the SIS head’s statements, it does not yet appear that the government will actually take any steps to censor Tom and Jerry or video games. However, Egypt has had a history of censoring movies, primarily due to the sexual content depicted in some scenes. For example, Wolf of Wall Street’s running time was reduced by 45 minutes in Egypt, with many scenes showing sexual activity and drug use cut.

Tom and Jerry, an American cartoon, was created in the 1940s. Numerous episodes have been the subject of controversy, mainly over racial stereotypes and the glamorization of smoking.

The U.S. and the United Kingdom have censored some episodes that included racial stereotypes, while Boomerang in the UK made some edits due to the prominent nature of smoking. Meanwhile, Cartoon Network in Brazil censored two episodes deemed “politically incorrect” over “editorial issues and appropriateness of the content to the target audience.”

Feel like reminiscing? Watch one episode of Tom and Jerry below!

bannerDo you want to play a game? Six randomly chosen teams will go head to head in a ten day friendly competition in the virtual world There.com.  Island Games run May 14th through May 22nd.

Sign up for the Island Games Invite List if you would like to participate. Once you are a member of the group, you will receive an invite to the team you’ve been assigned to. In order to play, you must sign up for the Invite List by May 7th. The deadline to accept your invitation to the team group is May 10th. Click on IslandGames_Avie’s profile for more information. To participate in the Island Games events, you must be a Basic or Premium Member.

Events for Island Games are being added daily to the Activities Page. Sign up in advance for events that spark your interest and inner competitor. Once the Island Games have started, you can keep track of your team’s points with the official Island Games’s Scoreboard.

Keep an eye out for event updates on the Island Games Facebook page. You can also check out the Island Games FAQs for more information.

Good luck to all of the teams!


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The Egyptian embassy in Rome has received notification that the body of a deceased Egyptian man was found on a railway track in Naples, south of Italy last Saturday, Egypt’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Mohamed Baher was found on a railway track with bruises on his head and jaw. One of his family members notified the Egyptian embassy in Rome of the incident after having reported it to the Naples police station on Tuesday.

According to the ministry, Baher “illegally” migrated to Italy in 2006. His passport and his military enlistment certificate were found alongside his body.

The Egyptian embassy in Rome sent an urgent request to the Italian  authorities to uncover the circumstances of the incident and the results of the preliminary autopsy, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abo Zeid said.

Last month, Egypt’s public prosecution ordered two separate investigations into the killings of Egyptian nationals, Sherif Adel, who died in a fire in London, and Mohamed Rushdi, whose dead body was found allegedly bearing torture marks in the United States.

The ministry’s outspokenness about these two incidents came under scrutiny by critics and activists who viewed the extra attention given to these Egyptians’ deaths as a way for Egypt to divert attention away from the slain Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni.

Political relations between Italy and Egypt have been strained since Regeni’s body was found bearing torture marks on the outskirts of Cairo last February, ten days after he disappeared on the fifth anniversary of the 2011 uprising.

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Last month, Egypt’s Public Prosecutor refused to hand over phone records requested by the Italian prosecution for the ongoing investigation into the murder of Italian doctorate student Giulio Regeni in Cairo in January. The Assistant Public Prosecutor, Mostafa Suleiman, claimed that handing over the phone records would be “unconstitutional.”

Along with the phone records, Italy’s request to obtain footage from surveillance cameras in the metro station where Regeni disappeared was denied. Suleiman explained that such footage is automatically deleted.

I examine here the two key points addressed by the Egyptian Public Prosecutor in refusing to hand over the phone records and footage in an attempt to address the question of security and investigative practices, as well as the concept of privacy in Egypt.

In order to reinforce that Italy’s request is in fact reasonable, we need to understand the role of video recordings in security internationally and how it has evolved over the years. In the early days, security surveillance was based on Closed Circuit Television (CCTV), where a security guard monitored few screens, watching for suspicious activity. Some systems employed a switcher that rotated the images from various cameras on one or more screens and most security systems employed a limited number of cameras, as cameras were expensive to acquire and install. Few systems used time-lapse video recorders. VHS tapes would last up to 72 hours and were typically stored for up to a year to be used to review any suspicious activity in retrospect to help investigate problems.

The inventions of the chip or solid-state camera and the introduction of IP cameras made cameras cheaper, smaller and easier to deploy. Security designers became reliant on video as a critical element of electronic security rather than just ancillary to security. Systems that typically employed five cameras 20 years ago now employ 50 or more. While this many cameras can be overwhelming for human operators in a live monitoring situation, the huge number of video images present security designers with an unprecedented wealth of data.

The challenge is to derive useful information from this huge body of data.

Analytical software systems allow for the detection of suspicious activity automatically. In train stations, for example, someone falling to the floor, dropping an object, jumping over a turnstile or loitering could be amongst the patterns of behavior that would constitute a possible threat and trigger alerts to direct guards to monitor certain cameras or to respond. Such systems remain relatively expensive and are not consistently effective, which leads us to the widest use of video surveillance: Recording.

VHS recorders have been replaced with DVRs (Digital Video Recorders), storing terabytes of data. NVRs (Network Video Recorders) allow for even more efficient video storage. Most systems are designed to store 90 days of data.

The questions that must be asked of the Cairo Metro are: What are all the cameras for? How secure is the metro if the critical component of security storage is defective or being mishandled? How can recordings be erased in such a short period of time? If video recordings are being erased every few days, it would call into question the worth of the systems. The request made by the Italians is logical; the Egyptian position is difficult to understand and smacks of obfuscation.

As we move to the mobile phone logs, Italian authorities had requested records of over one million phone calls made in the area where Regeni disappeared. It appears that they are aiming to identify mobile phones that were in the vicinity of Regeni that operated in unusual patterns, for example repeatedly or sequentially calling certain numbers. This is not “looking for a needle in a haystack”; it is, rather, looking for the relevant haystack. The investigators would typically be seeking to narrow down their sample from the alleged one million. They might request additional call details for numbers that seemed to behave out of statistical norms or patterns and could eventually ask for information regarding the owners of a very small set of numbers.

It is hard to understand how such a request would violate the privacy of Egyptian citizens, as the Egyptian authorities claimed. Surely numerical analysis of mobile phone numbers that have not been associated with individual users does not violate the privacy of anyone. Indeed, it is not unlikely that this sort of investigation is carried out as a matter of routine in Egypt, particularly in sensitive areas with the ongoing threat of terrorism.

The watching out for unusual patterns on roads, airspace, waterways or cyber space protects the public, rather than violating its privacy. The US intelligence community often refers to unusual “chatter” on mobile phones or Internet communication. Such “chatter” might be indicative of or follow acts of terror. Nations increasingly monitor their Internet traffic to protect from cyber attacks. Monitoring of patterns and scripts that have not been associated with individuals doesn’t violate privacy.

Privacy comes into play only when associating Internet data, IP addresses or mobile numbers with actual names and people and when looking into the content (beyond just patterns). In the USA, the infamous NSA program faced legal challenges over the retention of the records for lengthy periods of time and where no cause existed. In the Regeni case, there is a crime and the Italian request is for an analysis for those records surrounding the area of the crime and not an indefinite retention of the data.

Italian privacy standards are amongst the highest in the world. I would suspect the lawyers of the Office of Privacy of the Italian Ministry of Interior could become the best allies for Egyptian prosecutors if they understood and believed their privacy argument. In Cairo, cars are routinely stopped, for no cause, at various checkpoints; passengers are asked to explain where they are going, who they are with and how they are related. In the recent protests on Sinai Liberation Day, stories of police inspecting mobile phones of young people have been widely circulated!

The hypersensitivity to privacy displayed by the Egyptian side in response to Italy’s request is certainly odd. Most neutral security and privacy experts would be troubled by the positions articulated by the Egyptian prosecutors.

Previous protest in front of the press syndicate, on Apr. 28, 2016. Photo: Asmaa Gamal, Aswat Masriya

Previous protest in front of the press syndicate, on Apr. 28, 2016. Photo: Asmaa Gamal, Aswat Masriya

In an “unprecedented” move, Egypt’s main state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram published on Tuesday an editorial criticizing the interior ministry’s controversial decision to storm the Press Syndicate on Sunday to arrest two journalists from inside the building.

Police arrested Amr Badr and Mahmoud El Sakka, two journalists, from inside the Press Syndicate after security forces stormed the building on Sunday night in a move described by the syndicate’s head as “unprecedented” and a “violation of law.”

The interior ministry published a statement accusing Badr and El-Sakka of “hiding” and using the syndicate as a “safe haven” and capitalizing on the involvement of the syndicate to create a crisis and cause chaos between all parties involved. The ministry also denied the storming of the syndicate, saying that only eight police officers were sent out to arrest the journalists.

Tuesday’s editorial described Sunday’s incident as “unacceptable actions against freedom” on the ministry’s part, saying that “the interior ministry has committed a number of mistakes during the past period…and will not succeed in its malicious goal of shutting mouths and suppressing freedoms of opinion and expression, which are outlined in the constitution that was not read by the security heads, who wrongly believe they are protecting the state and its security.”

The editorial, whose publication coincides with World Press Freedom Day, went on to deride the interior ministry for treating journalists like terrorists, particularly as many families are dealing with their youths languishing “behind prison walls without [legal] cases, but also under the fantasy of working against the state.”

“We still do not know what is this state that the security speaks of and pretends to fight to secure it; have we and our youths become enemies of the state?”

The editorial ended by calling on the ministry to stop playing “this tired game” and for a swift investigation into the incident to resolve the tensions between the interior ministry and the country’s journalists, adding that the interior minister, Magdy Abdel Ghaffar, must step down in the wake of the ministry’s actions.

Although the editorial was published without a byline, it remains an unexpected move by the newspaper, which is widely known for publishing editorials in support of the government an generally falling in line with the state’s discourse.

A recent report by the Committee to Protect Journalists ranked Egypt as the second-worst jailer of journalists worldwide, while Egypt’s government has continuously denied any restrictions on the press and freedoms.

John Kerry

A congressional delegation from the United States arrived in Cairo on Monday to discuss security and terrorism issues with Egyptian officials, the US Embassy in Cairo announced in a statement.

“The delegation plans to meet with senior Egyptian officials to discuss counterterrorism efforts, the U.S.-Egyptian partnership, and shared interests in regional security and stability,” the statement read.

The 23-member delegation is headed by Congressman Michael McCaul, the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, which is mandated with ensuring the Department of Homeland Security “is able to carry out its core mission of protecting the American people from terrorist attacks.”

Monday’s visit comes less than two weeks after US Secretary of State John Kerry paid a short visit to Egypt to discuss bilateral cooperation and regional tensions with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

Pointing to the “difficult challenges” that Egypt is facing in terms of threats to its security from extremist groups, he underscored the US’ commitment and desire to help Egypt deal with these challenges, particularly threats from groups such as the Islamic State.

 The three also discussed the Syrian and Libyan situations, with Egypt expressing its desire to strengthen relations with the United States to coordinate in facing such challenges in the “tumultuous” Middle Eastern region.

A congressional delegation, headed by US Senator Lindsey Graham, had also visited Cairo early in April to discuss “shared interests related to security, stability, and the fight against terrorism,” among other aims.

The delegates met with Al-Sisi and Egypt’s Defense Minister Sedky Sobhy to discuss regional security and the development of terrorism in Egypt and the region.

The United States provides USD 1.3 billion in military aid and USD 150 million in economic aid to Egypt every year. While a portion of this aid is contingent on Egypt maintaining certain standards, including the protection of human rights, the Obama administration announced it is seeking to remove this stipulation.

Secretary of State John Kerry defended the proposal by pointing to Egypt’s strategic significance to the US as well as the country’s deteriorating security situation and the rivalry between various global actors to exert influence in Egypt.

“We’ve got a huge interest in making sure that Egypt doesn’t go down into a more difficult status than it is,” he said at the Congressional budget hearing in February.

Egypt has been struggling with a militant insurgency that spiked following the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi following mass protests against his rule. While the insurgency began in the northern region of the Sinai Peninsula, it has since spread to other regions of the country.

New Interpretation of the Rok Runestone Inscription Changes View of Viking Age

The Rök Runestone, erected in the late 800s in the Swedish province of Östergötland, is the world`s most well-known runestone. Its long inscription has seemed impossible to understand, despite the fact that it is relatively easy to read. A new interpretation of the inscription has now been presented -- an interpretation that breaks completely with a century-old interpretative tradition. What has previously been understood as references to heroic feats, kings and wars in fact seems to refer to the monument itself.

`The inscription on the Rök Runestone is not as hard to understand as previously thought,` says Per Holmberg, associate professor of Scandinavian languages at the University of Gothenburg. `The riddles on the front of the stone have to do with the daylight that we need to be able to read the runes, and on the back are riddles that probably have to do with the carving of the runes and the runic alphabet, the so called futhark.`

Codex runicus, a vellum manuscript from c. 1300 containing one of the oldest and best preserved texts of the Scanian law (Skånske lov), written entirely in runes.

Codex runicus, a vellum manuscript from c. 1300 containing one of the oldest and best preserved texts of the Scanian law (Skånske lov), written entirely in runes. (Public Domain)

New Research Shows that Some Ancient Egyptians Were Naturally Fair-Haired

According to Dr. Janet Davey from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Australia, some ancient Egyptians were naturally blonde or red haired. Her research has brought an answer to an intriguing question connected with Egyptian mummies and the effects of the mummification process.

An article published recently by The Sydney Morning Herald says that the mystery of the red and blonde hair discovered on some ancient Egyptian mummies may finally be solved. The new research was necessary to check the common perception that no ancient Egyptians had hair that wasn’t colored dark brown or black. Until now, most researchers had claimed that the different colors of the mummy hair were a result of the mummification process itself.

Dr. Davey decided to do innovative experiments, which she accomplished with the support of her friend, a retired industrial chemist named Alan Elliot. They prepared a quantity of synthetic natron, and used it on 16 hair samples. Natron was a kind of a salt that was used during the process of mummification to dry out the remains and has often been linked to a supposed hair color “change.”

The mummies of Yuya and Tuya. Both have light hair color.

The mummies of Yuya and Tuya. Both have light hair color. (Youtube Screenshot)

Families gather outside the Giza Zoo, where a street vendor is selling animal-shaped balloons. Photo: Mai Shaheen, Ahram Online

Families gather outside the Giza Zoo, where a street vendor is selling animal-shaped balloons. Photo: Mai Shaheen, Ahram Online

Egyptians gathered all around the country to celebrate Sham El-Nessim, which literally translates to “smelling the breeze” and marks the beginning of the spring season.

Although Sham El-Nessim invariably falls on the day after Coptic Christians celebrate Easter, the festival is not rooted inEgypt’s ancient civilization, rather than religion, and is celebrated as a national holiday.

A large number of Egyptians choose to celebrate this holiday by visiting the Giza Zoo or other open parks and spaces to enjoy a picnic, or by taking a short boat ride on the Nile. Some also opt to make use of the long weekend by getting out of the city and heading to one of the country’s many beach destinations.

Typical Sham El-Nessim cuisine includes Herrings (ringa in Arabic), fermented fish (fiseekh in Arabic), eggs and green onions.

Egyptian families sit together for a picnic at the Giza Zoo. Photo: Mai Shaheen, Ahram Online

Egyptian families sit together for a picnic at the Giza Zoo. Photo: Mai Shaheen, Ahram Online

Families gather outside the Giza Zoo, where a street vendor is selling animal-shaped balloons. Photo: Mai Shaheen, Ahram Online

Families gather outside the Giza Zoo, where a street vendor is selling animal-shaped balloons. Photo: Mai Shaheen, Ahram Online

An Egyptian family enjoys a Sham El-Nessim picnic at the International Park in Nasr City. Photo: Ahmed Abdel Fattah, Al-Shorouk

An Egyptian family enjoys a Sham El-Nessim picnic at the International Park in Nasr City. Photo: Ahmed Abdel Fattah, Al-Shorouk

A family enjoys an excursion at Al-Orman Park. Photo: The Cairo Post

A family enjoys an excursion at Al-Orman Park. Photo: The Cairo Post

Scores of Egyptians attempting to escape the bustle of Cairo by cooling off on Alexandria`s shores. Photo: Al-Wafd

Scores of Egyptians attempting to escape the bustle of Cairo by cooling off on Alexandria’s shores. Photo: Al-Wafd

Facebook joined the festivities by rolling out these well-wishes for Egyptians celebrating Sham El-Nessim, complete with many traditional features of the holiday

Facebook joined the festivities by rolling out these well-wishes for Egyptians celebrating Sham El-Nessim, complete with many traditional features of the holiday

FotorCreated

As many as 300 children are set to participate in Kidathon, Cairo’s biggest marathon for kids organized by adventurer Omar Samra’s Muricata on Friday May 6.

The marathon, which will see the participating children running Zamalek’s Sawy Cultural Wheel loop route, seeks to enhance the overall physical and mental wellbeing of Egypt’s youth.

“At Muricata – which is part of the mother company Wild Guanabana – we focus on the physical and mental well-being of the children. We want to motivate families to invest in and support the forthcoming adventurers by participating in such activities, so they build character, learn how to become self-independent; and most importantly become healthier and happier,” Samra said.

The children will be divided into three categories based on their ages: Those aged 6-8 will run 2 KM with their parents, 9-11-year-olds will run a 2 KM route without their parents, and children from 12-14 years will run 4 KM.

Following the marathon, participants and their family members will be able to enjoy a variety of activities, including family yoga, an arts and crafts session, and a performance by popular Egyptian band Cairokee.

Children wishing to participate in the marathon can register simply by donating a toy through Marwa Fayed’s Toy Run, which will then donate all toys to Abu El Reesh Hospital. Check out the event page on Facebook for more details on how to participate in what Samra hopes will become an annual marathon for Cairo’s kids.

Egyptian activists shout slogans against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his government, during a demonstration protesting the government`s decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, in front of the Press Syndicate Cairo, Egypt, April 15, 2016. REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY

Egyptian activists shout slogans against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and his government, during a demonstration protesting the government’s decision to transfer two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia, in front of the Press Syndicate Cairo, Egypt, April 15, 2016.
REUTERS/MOHAMED ABD EL GHANY

In a move described by the head of the Journalists Syndicate as “unprecedented” and a “violation of law”, two journalists were arrested by police after security forces reportedly stormed the Syndicate on Sunday night.

According to Yehia Qallash, up to 50 police officers stormed the Syndicate to arrest two journalists who had been staging a sit-in demonstration. The two journalists arrested were identified as Amr Badr and Mahmoud El-Sakka. The general prosecution had issued arrest warrants for both journalists on  number of charges that included spreading false information about the Red Sea islands of Tiran and Sanafir, said Qallash.

At a impromptu press conference outside the Syndicate, Qallash called for the resignation of the Minister of Interior over the “violations”.

However, according to Ahram Online, the Ministry of Interior denied Qallash’s account, stating that only four police officers entered the Syndicate to arrest the journalists.

Amr Badr is the founder of Yanair news website, while Mahmoud el-Sakka works as a journalist for the same organization, reported Ahram.

Qallash has called on an emergency meting to address the police raid and has called for the intervention of the Egyptian President.

According to Reuters, 237 people are on trial for protesting against the decision on 25 April. The 25 April protests against Egypt’s recent decision to declare the islands of Tiran and Sanafir as Saudi Arabianwere largely scattered and quickly broken up by security forces. While many demonstrations were against the decision, some were held in downtown Cairo in support of President Sisi and the transfer of the islands to Saudi Arabia.

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From playing golf and volleyball to snorkeling and meeting locals, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has made sure his visit to Egypt is not lacking.

The Bahraini King, who was received by Egypt’s President Sisi five days ago at Cairo International Airport as part of an official two-day visit, stopped by Sharm El-Sheikh to escape politics and just enjoy life.

Photographs of the King playing volleyball and golf have gone viral, with some on social media saying that they show that Kings can be just like everyday tourists.

Following his trip, the King praised Sharm El-Sheikh’s tourism facilities and the diversity of activities provided to visitors. The King added that he believes Sharm El-Sheikh is a place for tourists to find comfort and has many different activities to experience.

Despite the tourism slump, which has harmed Egypt’s four million tourism workers, the King added that he believes Egypt will return as a major destination for tourists from the Arab world and across the world, read a statement.

If you need any more convincing to visit Sharm El-Sheikh, just see the photographs below of the King enjoying his escape from the world.

The King of the Sea

520161122227617ملك-البحرين-فى-شرم-الشيخ-(17)

The Red Sea’s corals are among the most beautiful in the world, and can be experienced easily by anyone by simply snorkeling.

A Hole-in-One

520161122227617ملك-البحرين-فى-شرم-الشيخ-(13)

While Egypt is known for its beaches and ancient antiquities, it also has amazing golf courses.

Team Activities

520161122227617ملك-البحرين-فى-شرم-الشيخ-(14) (1)

When Egypt’s resorts were booming with tourists, some of the best fun that could be had was simply joining various activities, such as beach volleyball and water polo in the swimming pool.

A Night Out in Town

520161122227601ملك-البحرين-فى-شرم-الشيخ-(3) (1)

When the sun sets, Sharm El-Sheikh goes wild. With many restaurants, bars, and clubs, Sharm El-Sheikh’s nightlife is among the best in Egypt.

 

Mugamaa, Tahrir Square (September 2011, Diego Delso/Wikimedia Commons)

Mugamaa, Tahrir Square (September 2011, Diego Delso/Wikimedia Commons)

The Deputy Governor of Cairo, Mohamed Ayman, announced on Sunday that the Mugamaa Complex in downtown Cairo will be vacated beginning June 30.

In statements to Sky News Arabia, the Deputy Governor said that the decision is in the public’s interest and has been called for by many in the past.

The shutting down of the Mugamaa Complex, a building where Egyptians and foreigners alike visited for various administrative tasks, was first announced in January 2016.

At the time of the announcement, the Governor of Cairo said that the shutting down of the building where 30,000 employees work was aimed at easing traffic and part of plans to redevelop downtown Cairo.

However, during his interview with Sky News Arabia, the Deputy Governor hinted that the Mugamaa Complex, first completed in 1951, might be transformed into a hotel. This would be consistent with plans to completely transform Tahrir Square into an area that provides high quality goods and services to visitors. The planned redevelopment is aimed at boosting tourism to Downtown Cairo, which is filled with many hidden treasures, and to improve overall quality of life in the city.

Egypt also recently launched a number of projects aimed at renovating downtown Cairo. From repainting old buildings and revamping Tahrir Square, to demolishing former President Mubarak’s National Democratic Party’s headquarters near Tahrir Square.

Over the years, the Mugamaa has earned many titles by visitors. It has been described as the ‘most hated’ and ‘ugliest’ building in Egypt. Visited by up to 100,000 people on a daily basis, it is the long queues, confusion with where to go, and general bureaucracy that many often complain about.

However, while there is a new mobile application that is aimed at streamlining access to a number of services such as the payment of bills and fines, it remains unclear where people will be expected to visit for administrative tasks after the Mugamaa Complex is vacated.

bahrainking

From playing golf and volleyball to snorkeling and meeting locals, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa has made sure his visit to Egypt is not lacking.

The Bahraini King, who was received by Egypt’s President Sisi five days ago at Cairo International Airport as part of an official two-day visit, stopped by Sharm El-Sheikh to escape politics and just enjoy life.

Photographs of the King playing volleyball and golf have gone viral, with some on social media saying that they show that Kings can be just like everyday tourists.

Following his trip, the King praised Sharm El-Sheikh’s tourism facilities and the diversity of activities provided to visitors. The King added that he believes Sharm El-Sheikh is a place for tourists to find comfort and has many different activities to experience.

Despite the tourism slump, which has harmed Egypt’s four million tourism workers, the King added that he believes Egypt will return as a major destination for tourists from the Arab world and across the world, read a statement.

If you need any more convincing to visit Sharm El-Sheikh, just see the photographs below of the King enjoying his escape from the world.

The King of the Sea

520161122227617ملك-البحرين-فى-شرم-الشيخ-(17)

The Red Sea’s corals are among the most beautiful in the world, and can be experienced easily by anyone by simply snorkeling.

A Hole-in-One

520161122227617ملك-البحرين-فى-شرم-الشيخ-(13)

While Egypt is known for its beaches and ancient antiquities, it also has amazing golf courses.

Team Activities

520161122227617ملك-البحرين-فى-شرم-الشيخ-(14) (1)

When Egypt’s resorts were booming with tourists, some of the best fun that could be had was simply joining various activities, such as beach volleyball and water polo in the swimming pool.

A Night Out in Town

520161122227601ملك-البحرين-فى-شرم-الشيخ-(3) (1)

When the sun sets, Sharm El-Sheikh goes wild. With many restaurants, bars, and clubs, Sharm El-Sheikh’s nightlife is among the best in Egypt.

 

Egypt`s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2014.  REUTERS/Mike Segar  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS)

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addresses the 69th United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York, September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: POLITICS)

As President of the United Nations Security Council in May, Egypt is set to promote the interests of African and developing countries and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, read a statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs according to Al-Ahram.

According to the statement, Egypt will also seek to focus the Security Council’s efforts on the crises in Libya, Syria, Yemen and some African countries. The focus on Syria comes amid a strong condemnation by Egypt and Al-Azhar, the top Sunni Islamic authority, of recent violence in Aleppo.

The Presidency of Egypt of the Security Council will also see Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry visit New York from 9 to 11 May, where he is poised to hold a meeting on combating terrorism through a focus on extremist rhetoric.

The presidency of the Security Council is held by each of the members in turn for one month, following the English alphabetical order of the Member States names.

Egypt officially locked a two-year, non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council after 179 of the 193 UN member states voted in favor of its membership in October 2015.

Two months later, the Security Council  appointed Egypt as the head of the Counter-Terrorism Committee (CTC). The CTC, established after the 11 September terror attacks in the United States of America, is considered the most important counter-terrorism body in the United Nations. The CTC monitors the implementation of member states’ responsibilities towards Resolution 1373. These responsibilities include implementing measures to counter terrorism in each member state.

women_and_children_among_syrian_refugees_striking_at_the_platform_of_budapest_keleti_railway_station._refugee_crisis_2

Last year was a year marked by a major migration crisis, which, according to international organizations such as Amnesty International and the United Nations, saw the greatest waves of exodus since the Second World War coming to Europe.

Hundreds of thousands fled their war-torn homelands, passing borders under often-dangerous conditions, to reach safety in Europe. The crisis caught the entire world off guard when the number of migrants far exceeded expectations, and even pushed Germany to temporarily suspend implementing the Dublin Agreement that had put in place a strategy to deal with migrants in the European Union’s states decades ago.

In fact, the wave of migrants has been so large that there are no accurate statistics about the number of people who arrived at Europe’s doors recently.

Now, almost one year after the crisis began, the question being repeated frequently is: Did migrants find what they were looking for in Europe?

Although most migrants do not have the option of returning to their homelands, there remains a gap between what they expect from life in Europe and what reality is like, particularly for the youth who hope to start a better life in their new homes. This, in turn, begs the question: What is it that people expect from life in Europe and what do they wait for from European communities?

While the discourse on migrants in Europe often revolves around adaptation and integration into society, these are not migrants’ main concerns. They think primarily about the obstacles they face prior to being accepted as a member of society; they worry about bureaucratic procedures that often take a long time and push many youths to revise their decision to apply for asylum.

Normally, procedures of asylum take from six to eight months to be finalized but in some cases they take more; they sometimes exceed one year. This long time is considered far too much for some youths, who arrive in Europe unwilling to sit around idly with nothing to do. Many asylum seekers have a strong academic background and wish to continue pursuing their studies and achieve higher degrees such as Masters and PhDs.

In such cases, where youths are already burdened with their circumstances at home, one year spent maneuvering through the asylum process is considered a calamity. Although this time can be a good time to learn the new language and become familiar with life in the new country, it remains problematic for many because it is a period of time during which their lives are in limbo.

As if the long waiting periods are not problematic enough, housing poses yet another major issue for migrants. Due to the large number of people seeking asylum, migrants are often hard-pressed to find houses or apartments, particularly in the big cities, which are preferable because they allow for a better social life. However, rents in big cities, particularly capital cities, have become higher and migrants are either subjected to the conditions and high fees of intermediaries or forced to search for housing in the suburbs, which in some cases are several hours away from main cities.

As if that weren’t enough, migrants who are married run into yet another series of rules and procedures to maneuver in order to e reunited with their families. In some countries such as Germany and Sweden, on top of the long waiting time just to arrange an embassy interview, some migrants must endure waiting for even lengthier periods of time to reunite with their families.

All the above conditions and hurdles do not paint a pretty picture for a migrant seeking refuge in Europe; on the contrary, they are forced to embark on a long journey that requires patience and persistence. But does it deserve all of this struggling? This question is particularly important for youths who want to start their lives and for whom time is of the essence.

Meanwhile, administrators who are responsible for dealing with migrants attribute the long waiting period to the large influx of migrants and they justify the hurdles by pointing out that European countries are overloaded with migrants and are at their maximum capacity.

However, there are some potential solutions that could facilitate the process for migrants while also alleviating the receiving countries’ burden in processing these migrants and helping them to integrate into society. For example, to address the long waiting times, governments can make use of migrants who have already completed their immigration procedures by mandating them with helping to acquaint newcomers with the country and its rules, or assist them in finding adequate housing.

This solution could push migrants to integrate quickly into society and providing incentives to adapt to the country’s lifestyle, particularly in order to be able to help incoming migrants do the same, while also providing the government with more time and manpower to finalize the legal matters. Governments could provide further encouragement for migrants to become assistants by paying them a small fee or giving these assistants other advantages such as employment or even a permanent citizenship.

The bottom line is that, although coming to Europe does not always live up to migrants’ expectations, the large majority of them do not have the luxury of objecting. If remaining in their homelands were an option, they most certainly would not have put their lives on the line trying to get into a country where they will continuously struggle to achieve an acceptable standard of living.

Although this crisis is certainly not easy to deal with, it is also not impossible to handle. Today’s crisis could be tomorrow’s blessing for Europe, but it will continue to be a crisis if it is not dealt with swiftly and correctly.

Demonstrators on 25 April. Photo: Salma El Saeed

Demonstrators on 25 April. Photo: Salma El Saeed

An Egyptian court has imposed a media gag on the trial of protesters arrested during 25 April protests against Egypt’s recent decision to declare the islands of Tiran and Sanafir as Saudi Arabian.

The court in Dokki, which saw 86 people arrested last week for protesting without a permit on trial, ordered a complete media gag on the case. According to Al-Ahram, the detainees also face charges of joining a terrorist organization, likely in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to Reuters, 237 people are on trial for protesting against the decision on 25 April. Egyptian Streets could not independently verify Reuters’ report, which quotes ‘sources’ as saying that the 237 appeared in four different courts in Cairo and Giza charged with protesting without a permit.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch says that up to 382 people were arrested during the recent demonstrations.

The 25 April protests were largely scattered and quickly broken up by security forces. While many demonstrations were against the decision, some were held in downtown Cairo in support of President Sisi and the transfer of the islands to Saudi Arabia.

Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the "Holy Fire" as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem`s Old City, on April 30, 2016. Credit: Thomas Coex, AFP

Christian Orthodox worshippers hold up candles lit from the “Holy Fire” as thousands gather in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem’s Old City, on April 30, 2016. Credit: Thomas Coex, AFP

Nearly 6,000 Egyptian Coptic Christians arrived in Jerusalem to attend the annual Holy Fire ceremony at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher during the Easter celebrations, Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz reports.

After Coptic Church Pope Tawadros II last year practically revoked a ban on travelling to the city imposed by his predecessor in the wake of the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, the number of Coptic pilgrims travelling to Israel during Easter has significantly increased.

In what was described as an “exceptional trip” by the spokesperson for the Coptic Church, the Pope visited Jerusalem in November 2015 to lead funeral prayers for Bishop Abraham, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Jerusalem and the Near East.

Subsequent to his visit, Pope Tawadros was accused of normalizing relations with Israel and undermining the struggle for Palestinian rights. He responded by saying that his visit only aimed at paying his respects and that the Church maintains its ban on Coptic Christians to travel to Jerusalem.

“We will not visit Jerusalem unless our Muslim brothers are with us. In the 1967 war and after the 1973 victory and the peace treaty as well as the church’s stance in this regard, the Holy Synod issued a ban on traveling to Jerusalem. This is when the idea of not visiting Jerusalem without our Muslim brothers was en-rooted,” the Pope said in a press statement.

The Holy Fire Ceremony is considered to be one of the main events Orthodox Christians travel to Jerusalem each Easter for. Orthodox tradition holds that a light emanates from the tomb of Jesus forming a column of fire that is then used for lighting candles of the attending clergy and pilgrims. The candles, or the Holy Fire, are then spread to Orthodox countries around the world by way of special flights.

Although there has been a significant increase in the number of Coptic Christians travelling to Jerusalem compared to last year. Wajih Rizk, owner of a travel agency for Copts’ traveling to Jerusalem, told online magazine al-Monitor that this does not have anything to do with Pope Tawadros II’s historic visit to the city.

“Although Pope Tawadros II traveled to Jerusalem in 2015, this did not affect the Copts’ travel to the city because Copts already have a strong affinity to visiting holy places. The numbers are constantly rising because the places they can visit are plentiful and amazing for Copts,” Rizk said.

The typical trip to Jerusalem during the Easter celebrations includes visits to the most important Christian holy sites lasting for between a week and ten days.

The old imperial port of Rome reveals its archaeological remains.

Roman rule meant the control of Rome on ports and marine and land trade routes. In fact, Roman maritime commercial traffic was so important that they improved and expanded existing land routes, creating a vast road network in many regions, which was in service until the 18th century. This allowed them to develop and consolidate areas of commercial influence on some ports - transforming them into centers for very important economic activity.

Now, according to reports in the Spanish publication El Diario, the archaeological remains of the imperial port of Claudius and Trajan has just reopened to the public, and will be accesible for at least six months of this year.

The history of this great port complex started around the year 100 AD, when Rome’s high population of close to a million and a half inhabitants - equivalent to a current concentration of 50 million people, demanded an infrastructure that could ensure sufficient supplies.

The port of Rome built about 2,000 years ago was the most important center of ancient world operations for nearly half a millennium. It was the place for transiting goods from the ends of the earth to supply the entire empire with Greek wines, Andalusian oils, Egyptian cereals, textiles, metals, and wild animals for circuses. In addition, it also served as a defensive base for the ships of the Imperial Navy and as a starting point for their many military campaigns.

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