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Activists in Egypt expressed anger after Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities assigned a company, which oversaw the collapse of a major part of the 4,600-year-old Saqqara Pyramid, to resume its restoration reported.
In statements to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Amir Gamal, representative of the ‘Non-Stop Robberies’ movement said the Minister of Antiquities gave orders to resume the restoration of the Saqqara Pyramid by the same company that had been responsible for major deterioration, including the collapse of a section of the pyramid, during earlier restoration attempts.
Shurbagy, the company assigned, has been in business for nine years and has not seen much success in any of the six projects it undertook, Gamal told Al-Masry Al-Youm, adding that the company is currently under investigation.
“The company has never restored any archaeological site. All projects it had were to create modern construction at archaeological sites,” Gamal explained.
“Technically, the company and officials of the Supreme Council of Antiquities committed a full-fledged crime. New walls were built outside the pyramid as if the pyramid were a modern construction, which is opposite to international standards of restoration, which prevents adding more than 5 percent of construction to antiquities if necessary. Adding the modern construction is a large pressure on the decaying pyramid, which threatens catastrophe.”
The Saqqara Pyramid, also known as the step pyramid, dates back to 4,600 years ago during the time of the Pharaoh Joser.
In 2011, restoration attempts commenced after fears that the Saqqara Pyramid faced ‘imminent’ collapse as a result of a 1992 earth quake. A British team deployed giant ‘air-bags’ to support the ceiling of the Pyramid as the government initiated plans for permanent repairs. However, the 2011 revolution and an economic crisis saw the restoration halted in 2012.
By Menan Khater
United States Secretary of State John Kerry has informed his Egyptian counterpart, Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, that the US intends to proceed with deliveries of 10 Apache helicopters to the Egyptian military.
Kerry said in a phone call with Shoukry on Friday that he recognises the threat from extremists groups to the whole region, especially in Sinai.
Kerry was quoted as saying by US Embassy Acting Spokesman Walter Parrs: “We believe the new helicopters are a critical tool that will help the Egyptian government counter those threats”. Kerry described Egypt as a “strategic partner of the United States on key regional issues”.
The decision was made in support of Egypt’s current turbulent security situation. Crossfire between Egypt’s armed forces and rebel groups in the Sinai Peninsula has led to 400 deaths from both parties between January through August 2014, including civilians, according to Egyptian military reports.
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty confirmed there was a phone call but declined to provide further details.
The US congress decided in October 2013 to suspend part of its aid pending democratic reforms. However, in January, the US Congress passed a bill, making $1.3bn in military aid available to Egypt in 2014.
Among the requirements Egypt must meet to receive the aid is that it maintains “the strategic relationship with the US”. In June, $572m of the total $1.3bn military aid was released to Egypt.
Kerry and Shoukry also discussed Egyptian efforts to facilitate the ceasefire initiative between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza. Kerry said: “Egypt has also been a strategic partner of the United States on key regional issues, as shown by their helpful role in reaching a ceasefire in Gaza.”
Egyptian Defence Minister General Sedki Sobhi met Saturday with a US-congressional delegation to foster relations between both countries, through exchanging insights on restoring security in the region.
In the transitional phase after the ouster of the former president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt signed several economic and aid agreement, including aid packages of up to $5.8bn in January from Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Security forces succeeded in foiling several attempts targeting military troops Saturday in Rafah and Sheikh Zuwayed, along with defusing an explosive device after a residence reported it, Youm7 reported.
Youm7 said according to anonymous sources that these operations came as part of a large campaign by security forces in Rafah and Sinai, and they succeeded in arresting 12 suspects, destroying four tunnels on the border between Egypt and Gaza and five militant bases.
Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Mohamed Samir announced Saturday in a statement that between Aug. 25 And Aug. 28 security forces succeeded in arresting 51 Suspects, and destroying nine tunnels in Rafah.
He added that border guards were monitoring illegal immigration and drug smuggling attempts, especially in Alexandria and El-Alamein.
Violent clashes erupted Saturday evening between alleged pro-Muslim Brotherhood supporters and security forces in different neighborhoods in Cairo, after protesters responded to an earlier call by the National Alliance Supporting Legitimacy (NASL) to start an escalating wave of protests on Aug.30.
In Faisal Street, in the Haram district, MB supporters organized marches but started blocking roads and attacked security installations with fireworks and birdshot, Youm7 reported. Police used tear gas to disperse them.
The situation also turned violent near the Behouth Metro Station in Dokki, after some anti-regime protesters, whom Youm7 said were calling themselves “the liberated,” were confronted by police, leading to clashes. It was also reported that tear gas used by security forces filled the metro station causing at least eight people to be hospitalized after being exposed to it.
In Imbaba and Waraq districts, a public transportation bus was set on fire. No injuries were reported but security forces intensified their presence, as the area has been subject to frequent violent activity.
In 6 October City, a suburb closer to Giza, pro-MB supporters set fire to a police truck with Molotov cocktails, MENA reported Saturday.
This comes following similar clashes across the governorates Friday. On Aug. 28, NASL issued a statement calling for protests under the title “The Voice of the Helpless is a Revolution,” and spoke of an “intifada” (uprising) of the people on Sep. 9 against the leadership of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.
NASL compared Sisi to Libyan General Khalifa Haftar and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claiming “Sisi is soon to fall like they did,” and called on their followers to raise “a strong uprising, in addition to partial strikes.”
Their references may have been overexcited wishful thinking however, as Haftar is still in control of a large militia in Libya, and Netanyahu is still the Israeli Prime Minister.
Additional reporting by Mostafa el-Sayed, Abdul Rahman el-Sayed, Maged Temraz and Sara Salah.
Cette magnifique "tête de princesse" a été acquise par le Louvre en 1937. Datée du Nouvel Empire - XVIIIe dynastie -, elle est enregistrée sous la référence E14715.
By RANY MOSTAFA
CAIRO: Renovation work at the Sakkara Step Pyramid must be completed as soon as possible, according to Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty.
During a visit Thursday, Damaty inspected ongoing renovations at the rock core body of the step pyramid’s exterior along with the process of consolidating its underground corridors leading to the burial chamber.
“The latest restoration techniques have been used in the interior of the step pyramid but since the exterior has to be entirely authentic, a blend of a strong mortar, made from components similar to those used by ancient Egyptians, was used to hold thousands of stones together,” Damaty said.
He also inspected restoration work on the wall decorations and the natural ventilation inside the pyramid and the southern tomb and said the renovation is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
“[Sakkara] is not just the oldest pyramid in Egypt, it is the most ancient surviving stone structure in the history of mankind; it is not just an Egyptian heritage but rather of the world,” Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Mostafa Amin told The Cairo Post.
The step pyramid, a world-heritage site listed by UNESCO, was built in the 26th century B.C. to house the mummy of Pharaoh Djoser, the founder of the third Dynasty, Amin said. It is composed of six successively smaller mastabas (rectangular stone structures), one on top of the other.
The structure of the step pyramid is attributed to Imhoptep, the Pharaoh’s vizier and a genius architect who used over 4 million cubic meters of stone and clay.
The pyramid was badly damaged in the 1992 earthquake, which caused severe damage to the walls of its burial chamber and the descending passages leading to it, Amin said, in addition to the collapse of a huge chunk of the pyramid’s southern side.
The step pyramid, located 26 km south of the Giza Pyramids, is a part of Djoser’s mortuary complex, which houses his mummification temple along with a huge wooden solar barge that was found in the 1920s in a pit south of the pyramid.
By AYA IBRAHIM
CAIRO: “Poor families who have their children attending school regularly and ensure they are immunized on time will get a monthly income of 550 to 660 EGP from the Ministry of Solidarity,” Ministry of Education Mahmoud Abou el-Nasr said in a phone interview on Al-Hayat TV channel Thursday.
Abou el-Nasr said the Ministry of Education issued a year ago exempting low-income families from paying school fees, including children of “martyrs,” breadwinning women, and orphans.
“The ministry aims to support poor families and enable them to directly pay for their own children’s education,” he said. The Ministry of Solidarity is coordinating with the Ministry of Education to apply this decision on the five poorest governorates in Egypt. “This program will boost cooperation between both ministries for the benefit of all Egyptians,” Al-Mary Al-Youm reported Tuesday.
The ministry will grant poor families a monthly pension if they follow up on the health condition of their children under 6 years of age. Children ages 6 to 18 will have to attend school, keep their attendance over 85 percent, and not miss a class more than three days a month.
Abou el-Nasr said social specialists in each school are studying cases of students to find out who is most worthy of the aid and then will gradually apply this decision throughout all governorates.
The new program targeted 500,000 poor families in five governorates; Sohag, Qena, Assiut, Beni Suef, and Giza. The Ministry of Solidarity announced on Tuesday to help the poor and needy students continue their education.
The program will be applied to students in technical education and general education, Minister of Solidarity technical advisor Hania Sholkamy said during her Tuesday meeting with Abou el-Nasr.
The Ministry of Education recently adopted a strategy to boost the educational process and eradicate illiteracy in Egypt. Abou el-Nasr promised in March that by the end of 2017, all students would have a tablet to make their educational process easier.
“The Ministry of Education sent over a batch of electronic sets, including tablets, smart blackboards, and computers,” Youm7 quoted Qena Governor Abdel-Hamid el-Hagan as saying Thursday.
“So far, the ministry distributed 96 tablet devices to a school for first-grade students in Ain Shams, allocating four tablets per teacher, to develop the educational process,” Abou el-Nasr announced.
“Egypt’s new constitution puts education and health among its top priorities. In the next school year, all students will be provided school meals, costing the ministry 8 billion EGP ($1.12 million), which will increase the attendance rate to over 97 percent,” Abou el-Nasr said in a phone interview on ONTV channel on Aug. 13.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) issued a study called Nationalism and Homogeneity in Contemporary Curricula on Aug. 13 describing Egypt’s program of educational curriculum as “superficial” and “simplistic.” The study also criticized the Ministry of Education’s “inflexibility” in the past few years; history textbooks used during former President Hosni Mubarak’s era have not changed in the two years following the January 25 Revolution in 2011.
According to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAMPAS), Egypt’s poverty rate hiked by 26.3 percent in 2013 compared to 16.7 percent in 2000. It also reported that the total number of illiterate people aged 10 years or more has exceeded 16 million in 2012.