22 - 28 July 1999
Issue No. 439
|Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875|
Egypt Region International Economy Opinion Culture Profile Features Focus Interview Travel Living Sports Time Out Chronicles People Cartoons Letters
The grades are outHIGH-SCHOOL diploma results will be ratified today by Minister of Education Hussein Kamel Bahaeddin, ending months of trauma, hard work and expenditure endured by 300,000 students and their families. According to initial reports, 240,000 students have passed this year, i.e. 80 per cent. Five per cent of these have achieved grades which exceed 95 per cent.
Bahaeddin has announced that universities and other institutes of higher learning will not increase their admission quotas this year, while placement offices will begin accepting students' applications as of early next week.
Swift deathIN ONE of the fastest criminal trials in the country's history, two young men have been sentenced to death by an Alexandria court on charges of killing two children 15 days ago. The verdict, passed on 19 July, was immediately sent to the Grand Mufti for final ratification. Ashraf Mohamed and Sherif El-Sakhawi were found guilty of strangling and stabbing two young boys, aged 10 and 12 years, while robbing their parents' home.
The case attracted popular attention and the court-house was full during the proceedings. The audience is reported to have frequently interrupted court proceedings with cries for the death penalty. One of the defendants' lawyers flaunted professional ethics and joined the public in calling for the "maximum sentence."
A father's wrathIT WAS a routine search for firearms in Sohag which led to the discovery of a young woman locked in a dark room. Her weak cry for help led the police to a one square-metre shack where she had been locked up by her father 108 days earlier.
The father, 45-year-old Abduh Ali, locked his daughter in the small dark room, allegedly at the suggestion of his 25-year-old third wife, after his daughter was divorced from her 80 year-old husband.
Madiha survived her imprisonment through the aid of her brother who slipped water and bread to his sister through a crack at the bottom of the door.
Wanted by the police, the father is still on run, reportedly, after being alerted by his young wife.
The exorcistA 39-YEAR-OLD bricklayer stabbed his 80 year-old father after accusing him of driving evil spirits into his body. The father was locally renowned in Cairo's working-class quarter, Al-Bassatin, for his alleged exorcism abilities. The son, Fawzi Ahmed Soleiman, claimed that his father had freed people of the evil spirits possessing them by driving them into his own son.
Soleiman surrendered to the police last Wednesday, and confessed to having killed his father. He said the evil spirits had been tormenting him to the point where he could not get any sleep.
Triple crashUPPER Egypt was the site of three major road accidents claiming a total of 39 lives last week alone. The last of the calamities took place on 18 July and left 14 people dead.
Two speeding vehicles, a minibus and a truck, collided head-on on the highway near Assiut. The day before, 15 died when another truck and minibus collided near Minya. On 4 July, the same area witnessed the death of 10 people in a similar road accident.
Road accidents, especially those occurring on major highways, have become a major concern, having reached unprecedented levels during the past few years.
Shoo!FLIES are a nuisance, particularly in the countryside and especially during a heat wave. Their persistence bothers not only humans, but cows as well. Thus, Mahmoud Ali Ismail, a 70 year-old Upper Egyptian farmer, fretting over his herd of cows, decided it was time to take decisive action against the offending insects -- action which came in the form of a lethal pesticide.
Unfortunately, however, instead of killing the flies, he killed off part of his herd. Fifty-five cows perished overnight after inhaling the spray and licking it off their bodies. But, 80 calves have survived.